The Wall Street Journal ran a powerful editorial this morning. It concludes this way:
If the scandal is showing anything, it is that the White House has a bizarre notion of accountability in the federal government. President Obama’s former senior adviser, David Axelrod, told MSNBC recently that his guy was off the hook on the IRS scandal because “part of being President is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.”
In other words, the bigger the federal government grows, the less the President is responsible for it. Mr. Axelrod’s remarkable admission, and the liberal media defenses of Mr. Obama’s lack of responsibility, prove the tea party’s point that an ever larger government has become all but impossible to govern. They also show once again that liberals are good at promising the blessings of government largesse but they leave its messes for others to clean up.
Alexander Hamilton and America’s Founders designed the unitary executive for the purpose of political accountability. It is one of the Constitution’s main virtues. Unlike grunts in Cincinnati, Presidents must face the voters. That accountability was designed to extend not only to the President’s inner circle but over the entire branch of government whose leaders he chooses and whose policies bear his signature.
If the President isn’t accountable, then we really have the tea party nightmare of the runaway administrative state accountable to no one. If Mr. Obama and his aides are to be taken at their word, that is exactly what we have.
I could not help but reflect when I read those words that the scandals are evidence of the need for ultimate accountability. Yes, the checks and balances of the constitution are a form of accountability, as is the voting booth. But in the end, and the founders knew this, men are accountable to themselves and to God. Without the internal ethical and moral compass that good people have, things just go awry. From pilfering produce in the grocery store to the kind of government scandals we are witnessing to the horrid happenings in London yesterday, good religion is the only force that can keep such things in a reasonable state of check. Governmental forms of accountability can intercede after the fact, but only a person’s sense of accountability to a just and reasonable God can keep them from acting to begin with.
As I reflect on the perversity that was the last election campaign, where in some circles a man was depicted as inhuman and uncaring BECAUSE of his faith in God – where is some circles theology was confused with character, I shudder. The fact that the current president was believed by sufficient numbers to the ethically and morally superior candidate to be elected points to a nation that is horribly confused about morality and ethics and one that is looking to its government for all the wrong things.
The relative lack of outrage at unfolding scandals of this administration are also reason for concern. The scandals of the Clinton administration showed a lack of character, but not necessarily a problem of governance. One must go back to the Watergate scandals of Nixon to see this kind of abuse of governmental authority. But those scandals created a sense of moral outrage in the press and the people. These scandals, at least for the moment, have more of an air of “business as usual” than of the horrific violation of trust that they are. This speaks to not just an administration that does not feel itself under ultimate accountability, but also a nation that does not.
Our nation has a way of correcting itself – that is what such ultimate accountability can do. I find myself wondering if a sufficient amount of such accountability still exists within the nation for that self-correction to kick in. Fortunately, my faith in placed in higher places.
(A few minutes later) Things are worse than I expected. Check out this from our friend David French:
Earlier this week, in a feeble attempt at humor on Facebook, I posted: “If you haven’t been audited by the IRS during the Obama administration, can you even call yourself a conservative?” Given the scale of the abuses, I should probably just shorten it and say, “Only RINOs don’t get audited.” My wife and I got audited in 2011, with the IRS examining every inch of our adoption the previous year. The process was painful, but we got through it, and our refund may have been adjusted by a few dollars (the amount of the adjustment was so small, I don’t actually remember). In other words, the audit was a gigantic waste of time — for the IRS and for our family. A Facebook commenter, however, pointed me to a report that made me rethink the experience.
As we get word that the IRS has harassed a number of pro-life groups, including at least one alleged demand that a pro-life group not picket Planned Parenthood, check out this statistic: In 2012, the IRS requested additional information from 90 percent of returns claiming the adoption tax credit and went on to actually audit 69 percent.
David discusses the personal turmoil such wrought in his and his wife’s life with their adoption, and I do not wish to be dismissive of that personal hardship. But there is something much deeper here. This level of discouragement of adoption means the government thinks of children as property – more, government property. Talk about a broken moral and ethical compass!