Another week, another controversy in official Washington.
At the moment, 35 percent of voters consider recently exposed National Security Agency surveillance efforts as the most serious. The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives is No. 2 on the list, followed by concerns about the Obama administration’s handling of the incident in Benghazi last fall in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya was murdered. The Justice Department’s secret probe of reporters’ phone and email records is seen as the top concern by only 9 percent.
Competing for attention with the controversies are ongoing policy disputes over immigration, gun control and full implementation of the national health care law.
While each of these stories has its own cast of characters and internal dynamics, it is now possible to identify a unifying theme.
President Obama, whose deeply held faith in government is unwavering, unintentionally provided that moment of clarity last week. In attempting to dismiss concerns about the NSA disclosures, he said,
“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”