Similarly, in meeting the challenge of World War II and the early Cold War, the government was still small enough to push “blue-sky” reform. America could build the intelligence apparatus that it needed from scratch because much the national-security state back then was tiny. Today, by contrast, every intelligence agency is a giant vested interest left over from a half century of world war and cold war. The FBI, CIA, and other intelligence and national-security agencies seem to spend almost as much energy defending their own turf as the homeland itself—all of which has made true reform far more difficult.
So it is with Congress. It is sclerotic, and Boehner and McConnell are symptoms of that malady. In the eyes of many critics, so is President Obama. Full of second-term verve, Obama declared unilaterally Tuesday that he will no longer negotiate over the nation’s debt limit after the brinkmanship of the last couple of years. “I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” the president said. With the new deadline on the “sequester” just two months away, he urged “a little less drama” in coming talks about cutting government spending.
Sorry, but I think the drama is far from over. The rebellion against the size of government is a true populist movement, and it’s not going away. The debt limit is still the biggest card the tea party has. They’re going to use it.