Editorial: The busted trust of 2013

Fewer people than ever have confidence in government - and for many good reasons

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The political newspaper Politico cosponsored a poll in April 2009 to gauge the public’s level of trust in American political figures. The findings, according to Politico’s Andy Barr: “Three months into his presidency, Barack Obama stands out as perhaps the most trusted figure in American politics.”

That was then. The nosedive has been dizzying.

Last month, a CNN-cosponsored poll found 53 percent of respondents saying they consider Obama neither honest nor trustworthy. Reported Reuters’ Susan Heavey: “A growing number of Americans doubt President Barack Obama’s ability to manage the nation ... .”

More recently, a Dec. 18 Gallup poll reported that 72 percent of Americans say big government “is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question.”

Pundits will swap opinions about which 2013 story was the “biggest,” but a common thread has run through many of the year’s major newsmaking events: More Americans than ever – rightfully so – have little or no trust in our government.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the world not only the NSA’s mass surveillance of foreign nationals but the intrusive snooping into the phone and Internet records of ordinary U.S. citizens. Obama talked tough as a U.S. senator when he slammed domestic spying under the George W. Bush administration. But as recently as Dec. 20, he couldn’t answer a reporter’s question on whether the NSA’s call records program ever prevented a single terrorist attack.

In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service had been specifically targeting – more accurately, bureaucratically browbeating – groups seeking tax-exempt status, apparently based almost exclusively on how the groups’ names might reveal possible conservative agendas.

Also this year, a federal attorney sent the Associated Press’ general counsel a note saying, oh by the way, the Department of Justice has been secretly obtaining the work, home and cell phone records of AP reporters and editors. So much for a news agency’s constitutional right to gather and report the news.

Congress can’t be trusted to do its job. Amid the partisan sniping that has further divided the country, this year Congress has passed a pathetic 58 bills – the lowest total in at least 66 years.

And all the year’s mistrust culminated with the signature project of the Obama administration – the so-called Affordable Care Act. It was supposed to be a crowning achievement of Obama’s presidency, and it required the entire nation to trust that it would work. Instead, the health-care reform plan’s rollout churned into disaster. Americans have been pushed into plans they either don’t want or can’t afford, or both – that is, if they were even able to log on successfully to the clunky ACA website.

Obamacare required an overwhelming majority of citizens to believe the president’s now-infamous quote “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan.” That quote has been named the “Lie of the Year” by the fact-checking watchdog PolitiFact.

Do any of these incidents sound like the actions of a government you can trust?

The government doesn’t even trust itself. In June, reporters with the McClatchy newspaper chain uncovered the administration’s “Insider Threat Program,” which grants unusual latitude in pursuing and punishing suspected information leakers within the government. Documents show “how

millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for ‘high-risk persons or behaviors’ among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage,” McClatchy reported.

No wonder an October report released by the independent Committee to Protect Journalists found that the Obama administration’s chokehold on the flow of information is the worst “since the Nixon administration.”

The feeling of mistrust is not strictly partisan, either. This isn’t merely a case of Republicans grumping over a Democrat in the White House. Liberals are having big problems with the president, too. Even The New York Times argued that Obama lost credibility on the NSA spying issue.

People on the left also are upset over the Obama administration’s use of drone aircraft in combat – specifically the number of civilian casualties. The White House has promised transparency on that issue, too – but we’ve seen how its past promises of transparency have turned out. Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently wrote that history will consider the drone war “a great moral failure.”

Even America’s Founding Fathers didn’t completely trust the very federal government they created. That mistrust gave birth to the Bill of Rights, which includes the important 10th Amendment reserving powers to the states that are not granted specifically to the national government. The Founders wanted a government as a framework within which freedom could thrive, not a smothering bureaucracy that too often fosters dependence among its citizens.

In October, after the 17-day government shutdown over disputed appropriations funding, Obama talked about rebuilding Americans’ trust. But he wants citizens to trust his version of government, and a growing chorus of Americans are saying they simply can’t do that.

As the federal Salesman in Chief, Obama’s posturing to convince us of government’s role as a cradle-to-grave protector looks more and more like a stereotypical used-car salesman coaxing us to buy a jalopy that’s currently on fire.

What do Americans want in 2014 and beyond? A government we can trust to act fiscally responsible without bankrupting our children and grandchildren. A government we can trust to respect our privacy while preserving our security. A government we can trust to protect our freedoms instead of threatening them.

If the people running our federal government could dedicate themselves to accomplishing that, it truly would create a happier new year.

Comments (30) Add comment
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Lee Benedict
1625
Points
Lee Benedict 12/28/13 - 11:56 pm
10
1
So what?

"...this year Congress has passed a pathetic 58 bills – the lowest total in at least 66 years."

We have more than enough bills. I would much rather have Congress polish furniture and conduct tours than pass more laws that gut the Constitution and our freedoms.

ymnbde
10040
Points
ymnbde 12/29/13 - 09:08 am
7
1
O's lie of the year showed the truth of the government

O's truth of the year was more frightening
yet was treated as a lie, as something that didn't show the true O
"After my election I have more flexibility"
"I will transmit this information to Vladimir"
O, and the little o's, simply cannot be trusted
we hoped he would be Jackie Robinson
then we thought he was a simple Shannon Faulkner
now we know he is Benedict
"After my election I have more flexibility" is the most audacious truth of all
it shows that the "we" in "we are who we've been waiting for" isn't us
it's them
Stalin purged by murder
we can purge by simply restoring power back to the states
and the federal government needs a good purging
"...the longer an empire is in existence, the more time the successfully sinister have to find ways to subvert the system and insert themselves into positions of power."

deestafford
28800
Points
deestafford 12/29/13 - 09:23 am
7
1
There should be no surprise

There should be no surprise as to Obama's dishonesty. If one only looks at his background and the methods he used to progress politically one would see he has been a liar and thug his entire time. All of this was available before he ran for president and would be found if only we had a media that did its job rather than being on its knees worshiping "The One''.

Boy, is Lee right on his comment. Why the Congress is measured by the number of bills it passes is beyond me. The only bills they should pass are the ones which delete previous ones. It would be fine with me if we gave Congress two terms to delete previous laws and bills without passing any new ones and then send them home where we would send them their pay. It would be a winner for the taxpayer.

Even though Congress has been considered "do nothing" the same can't be said for the regulators. While the Congress passed "only" 58 laws the regulators published and implemented 3800 new regulations for the year costing the country hundred of billion dollars in compliance costs. The regulators are the major killers of freedom when compared to Congress.

Congresses that have been considered "good" are those which have passed many laws which in essence decreased freedom and increased big government. I would rather see one good bill than dozens which damage liberty.

Combine a lying president, a Congress passing the wrong laws, and out of control regulators and you have a recipe for the destruction of the country envisioned by the Founders.

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 12/29/13 - 09:38 am
5
3
Being competent and true
Unpublished

Being competent and true Americans, conservatives saw clown Obama for what he is from the start. Of course the liberals, being lazy and irresponsible as usual, would not see it and voted for the America hating idiot anyway. We are feeling the fruits of his rule, not leadership, and it is far from pretty. Liberals should really be ashamed of what they have done to this country but I do not think they understand. They see America as something to take from, conservatives see America as something to contribute to and to be a part of.

Bizkit
33071
Points
Bizkit 12/29/13 - 10:09 am
5
2
I read an article about it.

I read an article about it. Use to be more shorter bills in the past now the current trend is fewer longer bills-I liked the old way much better. I think the article really covers how Obama has flip-flopped on about every issue as Senator to President. His political life is a house of cards of lies and deception. The used car salesman really hit the nail on the head-he's a con artist and likely a sociopath=antisocial personality disorder.

Bizkit
33071
Points
Bizkit 12/29/13 - 10:18 am
5
2
It's not just his policies

It's not just his policies but now his arrogance and disregard for human suffering with drones killing hundreds of innocent children, cancellation of millions of peoples health insurance and all that terrorism, laugh off all controversy as "phony" when we now know with impunity he is a LIAR!!, picking groups or people to demonize for his political gain and to create political divide. It's shameful and to think the people who support Obama complained about lesser offenses by Bush-now suddenly they are deaf, dumb, and blind. The ACA is a disaster and his solution-hey insurance companies y'all change your policy and take a loss and fix this problem I created. Gosh that's leadership-somebody else fix it. See it's not his problem he could care less. Obama knows millions more will lose or have a change in health care they don't want or likely will like.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 12/29/13 - 10:18 am
7
2
When ask Senator Strom
Unpublished

When ask Senator Strom Thurmond 'how are things in Washington', Thurmond said, "My dear congress is in adjournment so the country is safe.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 12/29/13 - 10:21 am
5
3
If the republicans win the
Unpublished

If the republicans win the senate in Nov. the house should start impeachment proceeding on the communist in the Whitehouse immediately.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 12/29/13 - 10:24 am
2
2
Ditto that, biz.

Ditto that, biz.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 12/29/13 - 10:46 am
2
9
Self medicate people, calling
Unpublished

Self medicate people, calling the Present bad names. I hope it brightens your lives. He's a communist, he's a Muslim, he's a socialist, blah blah blah.two terms so deal with.

Junior Dawg
309
Points
Junior Dawg 12/29/13 - 10:47 am
7
1
Love the first comment

about the number of bills passed by congress. Just common sense really.....you have two sides that have differing believes about every issue, so why is the editorial staff blasting congress for not passing enough legislation? The conservatives should not vote yea for a single big government, liberal idea. As a libertarian this grid lock makes me happy, happy, happy!

ymnbde
10040
Points
ymnbde 12/29/13 - 11:22 am
6
2
oooh nice comeback, owensjef

the entire spectrum of liberal thought expressed in one comment
wow... i'm nominating it for the next edition of Bartlett's quotes

Bizkit
33071
Points
Bizkit 12/29/13 - 11:45 am
3
2
Goes up there with "toot,

Goes up there with "toot, toot, toot" eh ymnbde. I have to wear shades around such "brightness"-it's blinding.

CobaltGeorge
165065
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/29/13 - 11:58 am
4
2
Funny,

I said all this 30 days after he received his Gold Crown and Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 12/29/13 - 12:07 pm
5
2
oj

I can think of a lot more to call him. Traitor comes to mind. And so does icnoclast!

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 12/29/13 - 12:25 pm
5
2
Go back to 2007 owensjef and
Unpublished

Go back to 2007 owensjef and the same could have been said for your side. Except back then gas was cheaper, as was groceries, utilities, pretty much everything really. At least we have a legitimate reason to gripe, Obama and the dems have put this country in the gutter. Guess they want the country to match that which supports them.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 12/29/13 - 12:36 pm
5
2
Pretty much they want a

Pretty much they want a ruling, privileged class and a dependent class and a worker bee class.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/29/13 - 12:37 pm
3
2
Hawaii

Just wait until Obama gets back from Hawaii, "He'll fix EVERYTHING!!"

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 12/29/13 - 12:45 pm
4
2
obamacare, editorial

" the so-called Affordable Care Act. It was supposed to be a crowning achievement of Obama’s presidency, and it required the entire nation to trust that it would work. Instead, the health-care reform plan’s rollout churned into disaster"

At first, and till just recently, I was ALL FOR Obamacare! When I FINALLY got on the website, I found that with my family's income, we would have to pay over $300 per month for health insurance!! We can not afford this, so my wife and daughter will probably pay the fine and stay with their current catastrophic plans!!

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 12/29/13 - 02:48 pm
3
2
If we were right about ocare,

If we were right about ocare, just think what all we are right about,

carcraft
27166
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 01:24 pm
4
2
Owensjef3, I would like to

Owensjef3, I would like to match wits but I hate to take advantage of a unarmed man!

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 12/29/13 - 04:31 pm
2
6
Yep you guys always think you
Unpublished

Yep you guys always think you are the smart ones, yea right Palin, Cruz, , Broun, and the rest of the legitimate rape folks. You act like a bunch of know it cyber bullies.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 12/29/13 - 05:40 pm
2
2
owens

No one said anything to or about you until you showed up criticizing. Now who is acting like a cyber bully?

carcraft
27166
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 06:43 pm
2
2
Lol, take away the ad hominem

Lol, take away the ad hominem attacks and insults what do you have left? At least Palin has been successful at something other than golf!

carcraft
27166
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 06:46 pm
3
2
Oh, forgive me, Obama, the

Oh, forgive me, Obama, the smartest guy in the room, quote "this buying health insurance is complicated "! Then we have "there are these big government agencies that don't work well and are difficult to manage " THANKS FOR EXCUSE CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 12/29/13 - 07:00 pm
1
2
The smartest guy in which

The smartest guy in which room?

allhans
24050
Points
allhans 12/29/13 - 07:05 pm
1
3
He is smart enough to

He is smart enough to vacation in Hawaii on our money while the nation is in turmoil.........

carcraft
27166
Points
carcraft 12/29/13 - 08:12 pm
0
0
LOL

LOL

corgimom
34239
Points
corgimom 12/29/13 - 10:30 pm
2
1
I can never figure out why

I can never figure out why anybody thinks any President, or any politician, is honest and trustworthy.

I wouldn't care who was in office, my answer would be no.

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