Yeah. We know that, pace George Will, it isn't socialism. We know that it is probably the right thing to do. And we know that this is a big deal, the sort of play you really don't want to call wrong.
But here's the problem: the Bush Administration is telling us to do it. And we just don't trust them anymore. Not even a little bit. Not even on matters as seemingly basic as preventing a nationwide depression.
They have -- and the President personally has -- completely exhausted any reservoir of credibility. Eight years of secrecy, lies and denial have finally brought us to a place where we simply don't believe a thing that comes out of the Executive Branch any more.
How deep is this distrust of the executive branch, you ask? Well, obviously we disbelieve the White House itself, as well as all the various national-security agencies. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. The military, for all its principled efforts to stay neutral, had its top leadership selected for years by Donald Rumsfeld, while the middle ranks are slowly turning into a Christianist phalanx. Given what we know about the Department of Justice, we can't trust any senior people in federal law-enforcement -- not even Elliott Ness himself. The Education Department has spent seven years selling us a national program of which professional educators seem unanimous in contempt. Do we need to explain why, at this juncture, no sane person can trust the secretaries of State, Treasury or Energy?
No. Here's how bad it is. When we drive on interstate highways, we don't trust the exit signs anymore. Why? Because Bush's Department of Transportation puts them up.