Three Cheers For Doing Nothing

As I write today’s blog, President Obama is preparing to deliver his third State of the Union address. Pundits, including Yours Truly, are already full of ideas about what he will say and how it will play to a nation lurching toward catastrophe. Would that it made any difference whatsoever what the President says.

It does not, of course. It rarely does when Chief Executives do their Constitutional duty and report to Congress on how the nation is doing. Yet we, hungry for answers, excuses, and bromides, lean forward to read accounts of this ritual even if we don’t actually watch it.

Our fascination with the Commander in Chief is both regrettable and understandable. Our government depends more upon 535 Representatives and Senators to guide our nation toward its ends than the person in the Oval Office. Our liberties are protected or crushed more on the basis of the Supreme (and other) courts than on the inclinations of this one figure.

Yet a President embodies our nation in a way that the more amorphous other two branches cannot. In the present case, he represents a charismatic version of all that we are not as a nation. He is the last icon of a failed philosophy of government and would rather bring down the temple as he is dragged from it rather than admit that his vision of the world is dead–stone cold dead.

Obama will accuse Congress of doing nothing. Actually, they have been quite busy making sure he doesn’t do something so irrevocably destructive that it can’t be fixed. Republicans, for all their faults, learned something from Obamacare–that this President will do absolutely anything to move this nation toward his quasi-socialist ideal. If it takes a midnight vote from a razor-thin majority, so be it. He is full of maniacal confidence and devoid of restraint. He should do more of what he accuses Congress of doing–nothing.

Doing nothing, by the way, should be what government does best. The Founders set it as the default position for us and we have allowed hackers to adjust the settings time after time. Invariably they gravitate toward more intrusion into our operating systems. As the President waxes on about how Congress (read “those nasty Republicans”) is hell-bent on obstruction, some of us will recognize a small blessing–government fighting with itself. A few more years of this and we may move a few precious degrees toward being a nation in which there is once again a presumption that we citizens know what we want and how to get it, all without Washington’s omnipresent assistance.

To whom will the President appeal? One group will be the well-off whose hubris dictates that they right every perceived wrong with a scold and a law. The other will be the gullible ones who believe that they are actually being served by this kind of tactless appeal to class warfare. Both will see in Obama’s vision the light at the end of the tunnel and neither will recognize it as a grizzly bear with a flashlight.

And boy, will they be surprised when they run toward it, arms extended in anticipation of a nice warm hug. If Obama wins and pushes his toxic agenda forward until 2016, there will be nothing to reap but sorrow and nothing to do but rebuild. The vision our President holds is already repugnant to people with initiative and self-respect. It soon will be to those who were counting on him to do something.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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1 Response to Three Cheers For Doing Nothing

  1. Roy Randall says:

    I oppose Obama but for opposing viewpoint. I feel he has weakened government. I guess that would be opposing wouldn’t it?


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