Mourning Joe

Joe Scarborough doesn’t like Donald Trump, possibly because Trump is an even bigger windbag who gets more airtime. Also, because Joe doesn’t think the Donald can win the presidency but can lose it for the Republicans if he’s the face of the party.

A recent poll, showing Trump at over 40% and all other contenders, except Cruz, fading fast, provoked Scarborough to admit that Trump’s appeal was the result of a Republican Party that has lied to voters for the last 20 years. They promised to repeal Obamacare when they knew they couldn’t. They promised to balance the budget when they knew they wouldn’t. They were relentlessly negative, divisive, angry and unrealistic.

This isn’t me talking, this is what Joe ranted. And he concluded that Trump is the apotheosis of the Fox, Limbaugh, anti-government, hate speech Republican grassroots. Wow! Bold talk from one of the bully boys about his own crowd. Was this a Road to Damascus moment? Or just angst that The Grand Old Party is setting itself up for another presidential belly flop?

The answer was quick in coming. The next item of news concerned the fact that the background check of Islamic terrorist gun moll Tashfeen Malik was flawed since it failed to check social media for clues that she was an ISIS fellow traveler.

Off Scarborough went on the same old script he’d just denounced. The government can’t do anything right. A business checks a job applicant’s Facebook page, but Immigration slackers don’t bother to check the social media of jihadis sneaking into the country. The VA doesn’t work. Call the government for help and the response is slower than the cable company. In short, he immediately resorted to the same behavior he’s just accused the Trump and the party of – negative, divisive, angry, unrealistic rhetoric.

And lies. Does the government often underperform? Yes. Are its computers outdated? Yes. Is it hamstrung in trying to do the jobs it’s been given? Yes. Okay, why? Because the government is always bad, and the bigger it gets the worse it gets? Maybe. Or maybe there’s another reason. For 35 years, since the Reagan ascendency, we’ve been fed a steady diet of “government is not the solution, it’s the problem.”

And yet, we demand more of government every year. We just don’t pay for it. The Bush administration spent $3 trillion dollars on George and Dick’s Excellent Middle East Adventure, on health care for the wounded and on a new drug entitlement for the elderly. And it levied taxes to pay for none of it, since all taxes are bad. So the national debt exploded. And the cure for that was a sequestration that didn’t touch safety net spending but whittled away at all other government responsibilities including Defense and Homeland Security.

The computers aren’t up to date because Congress won’t appropriate the money to update them. The workforce is sometimes inadequate because government salaries aren’t competitive with the private sector. Not to mention the fact that “bureaucrats” get no respect and are often treated as partisan punching bags and subjected to witch-hunts by congresspersons hunting a headline and red meat to throw to the voters.

Each year, largely to spur profitable commerce and tourism, one million temporary visas are issued. In 2014 another 40,000 visas for fiancées of Americans, like Malik, were also processed. Does anyone suppose Congress is funding the infrastructure and manpower necessary to do one million terrorist background checks a year, including social media? Fat chance. The majority party in both Houses of Congress won power by attacking government and by promising to underfund it, not by promising to modernize and improve it.

If you sell government short for 30 years and make it the enemy, lo and behold, when you suddenly need it your self-fulfilling prophecy has come true. The government – starved, dissed, abused and denigrated – can’t perform perfectly. In part because the same people who promise to dismantle it and cut the taxes needed to fund it keep adding new responsibilities for it to perform without furnishing the resources necessary to do the job.

Government employees are told to figure out how to deal with ISIS and the borders, to keep us safe from new diseases and tainted food and imported products that burst into flames, and to fix decaying infrastructure. And by the way, we’re denying your requests for funding and calling you losers and bureaucrats and promising tax cuts to billionaires.

And now Mourning Joe is surprised that a man whose act is based on insult and denigration is leading in the polls, that he’s calling the government incompetent and sneering at legislators and government employees as stupid losers? Why not? He seeks to lead the party whose goal has been summed up as “shrink the government until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub.” Well, good luck defeating ISIS, protecting the border or getting healthcare for your 80-year-old mother when the can-do candidate sets out to grant his party’s wish.

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