THE WAGES OF POLITICIZATION: Associated Press: Doubts chip away at nation’s most trusted agencies.
Even as Americans’ trust in government eroded in recent years, people kept faith in a handful of agencies and institutions admired for their steadiness in ensuring the country’s protection.
To safeguard the president, there was the solidity of the Secret Service. To stand vigil against distant enemies, the U.S. nuclear missile corps was assumed to be on the job. And to ward off threats to public health, the nation counted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now, in the space of just a few months, the reputations of all those agencies – as well as the Veterans Administration – have been tarred by scandal or tarnished by doubt. Maybe a public buffeted by partisan rhetoric and nonstop news should be used to this by now. But, with the CDC facing tough questions about its response to the Ebola outbreak, something feels different. Government is about doing collectively what citizens can’t do alone, but its effectiveness is premised on trust.
A standard Dem talking point is that Republicans aren’t good at running big government because they don’t like big government. But it seems clear that Democrats aren’t good at running big government because they don’t respect it. In their zeal to weaponize the bureaucracy, they fail to appreciate the importance of moral capital.