Recent events tied a bow around a simple, powerful, and true closing message for Republicans running for Congress this year: The American people deserve to be treated better than the way their government treats them.
People who like their doctors and health insurance deserve to keep them. Our veterans deserve care in a timely manner. The American people deserve the truth about illegal immigrants released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They deserve straight answers from the Centers for Disease Control, and when a promise is made, it should be kept. Americans deserve a secure border, and when there is overwhelming support for restricting flights from countries with severe Ebola outbreaks, the option deserves careful consideration, not arrogant dismissal.
Americans of all political stripes deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, with no special targeting based upon political views. Our ambassadors and those serving our country overseas deserve protection when they ask for it. If American taxpayer money is going to be used to save a car company, the people deserve to know whether that company is making unsafe cars.
They deserve to send and receive e-mails, texts, and calls without the National Security Agency peering over their metaphorical shoulder without a warrant. They deserve a director of national intelligence who does not lie in testimony to Congress. For the amount of money we spend on gathering intelligence, we deserve better performance — or for an administration to act upon that intelligence more promptly. In a dangerous world, we deserve leaders who don’t fool themselves into thinking jihadists on the rise are just “the JV team.” They deserve a Secret Service that takes its job seriously and corrects its mistakes.
The Republican party and its candidates are not perfect. But the vast majority of its candidates bring a righteous anger to these unacceptable failures of the federal government and the culture of complacency that is flourishing within the federal bureaucracy.
Democrats, as the party of government, have proven themselves all too willing to avert their eyes from the problems of government, to excuse or explain them away, or to announce some bold-sounding reform that never gets seriously implemented and is eventually forgotten. They’re all too enthusiastic about nodding in agreement to bureaucrats’ excuses that their failures can be solved with a bigger budget. They’re all too likely to believe that appointing some other D.C. staffer in a special czar position will suddenly create accountability, honesty, and diligence. They’re all too inclined to accept passive-voice “mistakes were made” explanations with blame assigned to “systemic” failures instead of particular individuals who failed to perform their duties, meet their responsibilities, and act with integrity.
For all the flaws of Republicans, we know that when confronted with a failure of government, their first response will not be “How can we protect the president?”
The American people deserve better from their government. And for now, the most effective tool to put unresponsive bureaucrats on the hot seat of public hearings, and wield the potential punishment through the appropriations process, is a Republican-controlled House and Senate.
You could say it’s time to pull the weeds out of Washington.