RANCHO SANTA FE, Ca., November 4, 2013 – Given its current trajectory, the Obama Administration might well be remembered for the tenacity with which it prosecuted an anti-trust campaign. “Anti-trust” isn’t to be confused with the term “antitrust.” The former has nothing to do with the Sherman Act or illegal activities that interfere with the free market system. It refers to a destructive force more akin to a different Sherman’s March to the Sea. It deals with what appears to be an intentional obfuscation of the truth.
- Establishing trust used to be dependent upon telling the truth. Period!
- Telling the truth used to mean stating the facts as they truly existed. Period!
- Exclaiming the word “period” after making a statement used to denote the unequivocal nature of the assertion. Period!
These standards have been abandoned by our political Parties. They either believe that we are too stupid to notice, too weak to respond, or too well-conditioned from a partisan perspective to admit to our Party of preference’s culpability.
Make no mistake: both Parties have been gravitating toward this new reality for decades.
The candidates that they run for public office are made to believe that they are insulated from the mundane world in which the rest of us must suffer. They reside in our country’s equivalent to Mt. Olympus; ruling the commoners from above.
We grow and harvest the crops, and they tell us what meager amount we can keep. In return, they protect us by maintaining a massive military force and occasionally by monitoring our e-mails and spying upon our allies’ leaders. As the serfs in this play, it would be “feudal” to complain.
While most of our elected officials might struggle to find employment in the real world, they are able to retain office for generations based on name recognition, gerrymandering, massive campaign budgets, and a willingness to say and do whatever it takes to cease and maintain office.
Appointments are distributed like Halloween treats to those who are best costumed as political fund raisers. The more you raise, the bigger the candy bar you receive. Those who bundle $500 thousand or more in campaign donations are allowed to grab handfuls usually in the form of a Senior White House staff position, an Ambassadorship, or maybe even a Cabinet post.
Little experience or effort is required in return. Most of these appointees are only asked “to be seen and not heard.” A risk arises only when they are subpoenaed by Congress or exposed by the Press; neither of which occurs with any degree of regularity.
When they are called to task, they are expected to plead the Fifth or fall upon their sword. These roles are reserved for lower level officials who are more likely to be sacrificed if a scapegoat is needed. In return for their loyalty, they are rewarded with the ability to resign with a full pension. This course of conduct has become so commonplace that it is almost a fait accompli if the Administration encounters a “bump in the road” whether it arises in a “fast and furious” manner or in a more “taxing” way, and the appointees understand it. After all, they are not slow “Lerners.”
Claiming responsibility is reserved for those who hold higher levels of appointment. If the word “Secretary” precedes the rest of their title, they may actually be required to say, “I’m responsible” or “Hold me accountable for the debacle.”
However, don’t mistake this to be sincere mea culpa. It is a political charade that is orchestrated to assuage the masses and deter further inquiry. The lamb is placed upon the altar, but it never loses its political life. The sacrificial rite is only a ruse.
Documentary evidence is delivered at a glacial pace and is usually heavily redacted. On a few occasions, it may even be protected by the rare invocation of Executive Privilege, which a few short decades ago was tantamount to an admission of guilt.
Non-appointed Government employees represent the greatest threat to the political anti-trust movement. Their testimony is considered to be a threat because it is less controllable. So, they are often “discouraged” from coming forward even though “Forward” is the ostensible mantra of this Administration’s second term.
You have probably noticed that the Chief Executive position has not been mentioned. Unlike the private sector in which CEOs are often held strictly accountable for the mistakes of their organizations, this is not the case in the public sector. Presidents have become the monarchs of the ruling class, and our current President is no exception.
There is a quiet handshake between the Parties that Presidents are immune from assuming ultimate responsibility for anything other than stellar victories. A President can take credit for a successful covert operation that occurs 7,000 miles away, but he or she must never admit to knowing about any abuse of power that might occur within the very departments and agencies that are direct reports. We are asked to believe that our President learns of those matters from the evening news just as we do. Throw in a Press Secretary to serve as court jester for the media brigade and you have the perfect mix to concoct an “anti-trust” environment in which the truth no longer matters.
Perhaps this also explains how the political divide became so explosive and expansive.
The Republican Party had the audacity to breach the “handshake” and impeach President Clinton in the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (not for his sexual dalliances in the Oval Office as many believe). While it fell five votes short of the required two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict and remove him from Office, the stage had been set.
Since then, the Democrats spent the next presidential two terms vilifying President Bush and continued the practice well into President Obama’s first term. In retaliation, the Republicans have wasted a great deal of time and money trying to return the favor at the expense of President Obama.
As a result, most of the Parties’ accusations have more to do with political reprisal than with the truth. The same can be said with respect to many of their explanations. With the waning importance of the truth, we are left to observe a once vaunted political system that has become a theater of the absurd.
During the campaign season, promises rule the day and their veracity is never questioned. We are promised “change,” bipartisan accord, and complete transparency. After the election, we get “more of the same,” partisan conflict, and compulsive misrepresentation and denial.
Pick the administrative faux pas of your choice: Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the politically-tainted abuse of power of the IRS, the NSA invasion of privacy of your choice, the abject failure of Heathcare.gov, etc. The response pattern doesn’t vary, and it overtly dismisses any possibility of repercussions from the electorate. Why?
- Are we really that stupid?
- Do we just feel too weak to respond (i.e., there’s nothing we can do)?
- Have we been conditioned to behave in a purely partisan manner (i.e., we blindly believe the President of our particular Party is infallible while viewing any President of the other Party as nearly satanic)?
- Or have we just abandoned any hope for hearing the truth from our elected officials and accepted the “anti-trust” environment as our political reality moving forward?
Perhaps all of these are applicable to a degree. If so, what percentage do you think applies to each explanation. In the alternative, you may have another explanation. If so, what is it?
If we don’t begin to challenge the direction in which the Administration and Parties are heading, we will continue to experience an unremitting decline of the truth, and the concept of trust will become nothing more than a memory.
A Civil Assessment has been designed to serve as an Op-Ed forum for YOU. You are invited to offer your opinion and to discuss your position with other commenters who may agree or disagree with your position. Just because many of our elected officials seem to be incapable of participating in this type of dialogue doesn’t mean that you should be precluded from doing so. CAVEAT: Please be sure that your “assessments” remain “civil” so that they may earn the respect of others.
T.J. O’Hara is an internationally recognized author, speaker and strategic consultant in the private and public sectors, and in 2012, he emerged as the leading independent candidate for the Office of President of the United States.
T.J. will be providing nonpartisan political commentary every Tuesday on The Daily Ledger, one of One America News Network’s featured shows (check local cable listings for the channel in your area or watch online at 8:00 and 11:00 PM Eastern / 5:00 and 8:00 PM Pacific).