The Next Big Thing: CORRUPTION

English: President George W. Bush and Presiden...

President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House  Nov. 10, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People are looking for a scapegoat, and for once they’re looking in the right place. Corruption in government.

The book that everyone is talking about, inside the beltway, at least, is “This Town,” by Mark Leibovich. Here’s a comment on the book by Fareed Zakaria:

“It’s a vivid, detailed picture of the country’s ruling elite, filled with tales of ruthless networking, fake friendships and a sensationalist media. But beneath the juicy anecdotes is a depressing message about corruption and dysfunction.”

English: Fareed Zakaria, American journalist a...

Fareed Zakaria, American journalist and author (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You could read Mr. Zakaria’s commentary, printed in Sunday’s Washington Post and many other newspapers right here.

Barack Obama ran for “change” and against “business as usual” in Washington. It’s a worthy goal, but it’s become painfully clear that President Obama has failed to bring about the change he sought. That’s not surprising. The culture of lobbyists and big money has taken control of both the election process and the workings of government. It would have been an amazing feat of moral leadership if Obama had been able to turn the culture of corruption around in a few short years.

One more shocking quote from Mr. Zakaria’s column:

“Leibovich describes a city in which money has trumped power as the ultimate currency. Lobbyists today hold the keys to what everyone in government — senator or staffer — is secretly searching for: a post-government source of income.”

Come to think of it, the “secret” quest for the big payoff after government service is no longer shocking. Another Post columnist, Dana Milbank, says the “revolving door” between government and business is turning faster than ever in the Obama administration.

I still support President Obama. I think he’s made incremental progress on a number of fronts, including health care, saving the economy, and the war on terrorism. But corruption and dysfunction are poisoning the well and blocking Obama’s best efforts.

I’m thinking the hot issue for 2014 and 2016 might be corruption. The word itself provokes an emotional response.  I’m sensing an “I’m fed up and I’m not taking it any more,” mood in the country. Or maybe that’s simply my own mood.

I haven’t read “This Town,” but it’s gone straight to the top of my list. I want to learn more about the corruption in Washington, because I think it  will shed light on corruption closer to home, at the state level, and maybe at the local level.

— John Hayden

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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