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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why Americans no longer trust Washington | Washington Examiner

Why Americans no longer trust Washington
By: Examiner Editorial | 12/10/11 8:05 PM
Survey after survey in recent months has shown an alarming decline in public confidence in the nation's chief federal institutions, as well as a deepening pessimism about America's future. Congressional approval is at an all-time low of 13 percent, according to the Gallup Poll, and three-quarters of the public wouldn't re-elect most members of Congress. There is cold comfort in the numbers for President Obama. Barely 41 percent of the public approves of his job performance, according to Gallup. Most worrisome is the fact that a majority of Americans, 52 percent, told pollster Scott Rasmussen this week that they believe the country's best days are behind it, the first time a majority has so responded.
Anybody puzzled by these trends, however, need look no further than the performance of some of our leaders in recent days. Obama gave a bitterly partisan address in Kansas, which featured, as The Washington Examiner's Michael Barone pointed out, a crude, straw-man caricature meant to portray Republicans falsely as believing "we are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules." The chief executive also claimed -- without evidence, his aides later conceded -- that "some billionaires have a tax rate as low as one percent." Such deceptions and inventions destroy a president's credibility.

Next, there is Attorney General Eric Holder, the man Obama appointed as the nation's chief law enforcement official. For months Holder has claimed, in the face of steadily mounting evidence to the contrary, that he knew nothing about Operation Fast and Furious until he read about it in the newspapers earlier this year. Fast and Furious is the Justice Department program in which officials allowed thousands of weapons to be sold by U.S. dealers to Mexican drug cartels. Just before Christmas, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered with one of those weapons. Hundreds of Mexican citizens, including multiple government officials, have also been killed with Fast and Furious guns.

As Examiner legal affairs contributor Ken Klukowski pointed out Friday, a steady drip-drip of evidence has become public in recent months as Justice Department officials grudgingly released documents sought by Congress. Those documents make clear that many senior Justice Department officials knew about Fast and Furious from soon after its inception in 2009, as did high-ranking officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House. Yet if Holder is to be believed, he was the last man in Washington to know about something happening right under his nose.

Then we learn from Examiner columnist Diana West in today's edition that National Archivist David Ferriero recently sealed for 20 years millions of documents from the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been hundreds of credible reports in recent years of outrageous waste and corruption in such spending, yet it will now be decades before we will learn all of the facts. Last year alone, according to the New York Times, federal officials sealed 77 million official documents. Something else was recently sealed -- the court records concerning Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder. Washington's solution is to bury potentially embarrassing documents. No wonder America no longer trusts Washington.

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Why Americans no longer trust Washington | Washington Examiner

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