This latest routine was performed from the White House's Rose Garden. Showing a mastery of subtle comic genius, Obama performed this bit as if it were a serious policy speech. As it turns out, Obama was not attempting to land a sit-com on NBC after he leaves office. Depressingly, he actually believes this.
The purpose of his address was to garner support for his agenda of ever-increasing spending by government, and ever more private wealth confiscated by government bureaucrats and politicians to pay for it. Despite having these attempts repeatedly rejected by both houses of Congress and even by his own party (remember the 97-0 vote to reject his budget earlier this year?), Obama is still seeking to stoke populist rage against "the rich" in order to get his latest job-killing bill passed.
No matter how charismatic and soothing the voice delivering the rhetoric, it is simply impossible to hide the putridity of the manure being shoveled under the guise of job creation and debt reduction. According to the eternal Campaigner-in-Chief, "It's always more popular to promise the moon and leave the bill for after the next election or the election after that. That's been true since our founding. George Washington grappled with this problem. He said, 'Towards the payment of debts, there must be revenue, that to have revenue there must be taxes, [and] no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.' He understood that dealing with the debt is -- these are his words -- 'always a choice of difficulties.'"
Obama has taken a select few words out of context and twisted them to imply that George Washington, arguably our greatest president, would approve of the monstrously bloated leviathan that we call the federal government. Yet is that true? Would Washington have approved of a federal government that is now at $16 trillion in debt and climbing in perpetuity, a government that devours enormous quantities of taxpayer dollars? Obama has admonished us against saddling future generations will huge debts, yet even his own rosiest budgets project nearly $1 trillion deficits for years to come (projections, by the way, which depend on levels of GDP growth triple and quadruple what we have seen for the last few years).
Obama, who in trying to turn the citizenry against Republicans has built so many straw men that it now qualifies as the world's third largest army, repeatedly characterizes the Republican position as being against all government and all taxes. That is simply a blatant, politically expedient lie. No Republican has ever said that or alluded to any support for that position. On the contrary, conservative Republicans support a strict interpretation of the Constitution as written, not the "living" Constitution which liberals adore, which is nothing more than house built on a foundation of Jello, giving no firm base of understanding of the law, but one which morphs and sways with the whims of the majority.
This Constitution, as written, adopted and ratified by the members of the Constitutional Convention and the states, was one that explicitly granted the power of Congress to levy taxes under Article I, Section 7. No Republican disputes or objects to the grant of power. What is in dispute lies within the confines of Article I, Section 8, known as the Enumerated Powers. Article I, Section 8 lists the powers granted to the federal government, which only the federal government may perform. However, under the 10th Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."), the federal government is limited to ONLY those powers specifically enumerated.
And that is what makes Obama's claim so laughable. For nearly a century now, both parties have incrementally expanded the size and scope (and therefore the cost) of government. This is always done under the rubric of protecting the people, or helping them. New programs and agencies are created (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, the EPA, the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, and an endless litany of alphabet soup agencies) which then grow larger every year, no matter how ineffectively the carry out their mission. On the contrary, the worse they perform, the more money and power (we are told) must be given them.
The justification for this encroachment on the liberties of the people and the sovereignty of the states has been given by invoking the General Welfare, Commerce, and Necessary and Proper clauses of the Constitution. That has been aided and abetted by a judiciary which seemingly believes that government should be allowed to usurp any power so long as it can theoretically justify it under these terms.
The quote referred to by Obama comes from Washington's Farewell Address, one of the most inspiring and eloquent documents ever written. Yes, Washington does confirm the need for the government to collect taxes, but let us go back a few sentences in his address, to look at the context in which he made that statement. Said Washington, "As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear." Does anyone today believe our government uses our credit sparingly? Is Obama imploring us to authorize more spending in his "jobs" bill to "prepare for danger" or "unavoidable wars?"
Washington goes on to say that "Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown."
Today, there is seemingly now power which the government does not feel justified in usurping. That which can't be accomplished through the legislative process is often done through Executive Order, judicial fiat, and the imposition of burdensome regulations by unelected government bureaucrats.
Our nation desperately needs another Washington, a leader who sacrifices much for the good of the nation while resisting the lure of attaining greater power unto himself. Following the Revolutionary War, many pleaded with Washington to be America's king, yet he rejected them, and then served only two terms as president. This led King George III to say "If that is true, he must be the greatest man in the world."
Barack Obama, America knows George Washington, and you, sir, are no George Washington.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is chairman of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.