In 2008, Barack Obama won, in large part, in the same way that Bill Clinton won in 1992, Ronald Reagan won in 1980 and 1984 and Jimmy Carter won in 1976. He ran against Washington. In that way, he was able to tap into a frustration long shared by a substantial segment of the American people, a suspicion of an ever stronger state.
At the same time, however, that this Democrat was running against our nation’s capital, he and his congressional allies were developing policies which would centralize more power in a city which has often become an object of ridicule for those living beyond its narrow confines. Peggy Noonan contends that he continued to push this contradictory message in his State of the Union address last week:
The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself: You need us to heal you. Don’t trust us, we think of no one but ourselves.
The people are good but need guidance—from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed—by Washington. Washington can “make sure consumers . . . have the information they need to make financial decisions.” Washington must “make investments,” “create” jobs, increase “production” and “efficiency.”
At the same time Washington is a place “where every day is Election Day,” where all is a “perpetual campaign” and the great sport is to “embarrass your opponents” and lob “schoolyard taunts.”
Why would anyone have faith in that thing to help anyone do anything?
Once again, we’re struck the Democratic/leftist notion of “social justice”/progress, increase the power of the federal government. It is that very arrogance, that Washington knows best that has fueled the Tea Party movement.