With Barack Obama changing Washington from within wasn’t so less a matter of “I can’t” and more a matter of “I won’t.”
On September 20, 2012, Barack Obama responded to a question posed during an interview for Univision that one thing he had learned during his last 4 years was that you can’t change Washington DC from within. This was a very strange answer, considering that he effectively controlled the executive and legislative branches of government for two years. It is true that he accomplished very little during that time except the health care act and massive spending increases, but perhaps he simply isn’t smart enough to have done better.
On the other hand, there is an alternative explanation, which I received about a half century ago from a kindergarten teacher who used it with great frequency. When one of her students responded to a request with “I can’t” her immediate reply was “You are really just saying I won’t.” Mrs. Cocklin probably has a point.
Consider: During those two years he failed to introduce a budget that the Senate would accept, let alone the House of Representatives. He spent an tremendous amount of time on personal pleasure, when he wasn’t pushing for massive spending increases without a budget, manipulating the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies to the benefit of the labor unions and forcing the massive health care bill down the unwilling collective throat of the American people. He spent a tremendous amount of time on adding to the federal bureaucracy, appointed numerous “czars” to help him, and did nothing to stop the endless procession of lobbyists entering the White House. Clearly, the man didn’t want to change the way things worked in DC.
If we set aside Dinesh D’Souza’s position; that Obama is actually trying to destroy the USA from the inside out, and accept the idea that he is a plain and simple statist, it makes sense that he would not want to change things. The bigger the government the better is the statist mantra. Obama loves government dependency. Using past models of big government agencies to build them even bigger and more intrusive makes perfect sense if you want to centralize power. And if you are a statist, bent on grabbing power over a nation and eliminating the last vestiges of popular sovereignty, the last thing you would want to do is change the path that government has been traveling for the last half century. So, real change; change that means more civil rights, less government power, more opportunity and less cronyism simply wasn’t in the cards.
Thus, not only was is a case of “I won’t.” It was also a case of “I won’t because I never intended to so in the first place.”
Later in the day, Mitt Romney quoted Obama’s answer, than said that if he is elected in November he can and will change Washington. Romney may well intend to do so. The question of whether he actually can may not be a matter of “I will” or “I won’t.” It may be more a matter of fighting City Hall.
Romney’s ace in the hole, if he manages to get elected may well be the truth. There is a significant portion of the American people that wants to see real change. They want to simplify government, eliminate bureaucratic meddling, restore civil liberties and promote prosperity based on individual efforts and initiative. They are less concerned with their own present benefits are more so with the well being of the next generation.
If Romney confronts the public upon inauguration day with one simple fact; that we can’t afford to continue paying what we have for the last several decades and moves the nation toward austerity, not in one fell swoop, but gradually, and starting with the White House, he may be successful in turning things around. But it won’t be easy.
There will be, of course, naysayers, who believe that the nation has an unlimited supply of money, and only needs to tax the rich more to make things work. There will be others who believe that government austerity will benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. And finally, slowing the rate of government spending will potentially result in currency deflation, to the disadvantage of debtors. This will make austerity unpopular.
Despite this, Romney may, with sufficient popular support be successful in making the needed changes, or at least starting them off. One thing is certain, if he is unsuccessful, it will likely be not for lack of trying or of desire. In fact, the most likely reason why he might fail is because he arrived on the scene too late.