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The Federal Government's Little Blue Pill

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My head is swimming. I tuned to MSNBC for post-speech analysis of the President address Tuesday, only to hear Chris Mathews, Newsweek‘s Harold Fineman and Sportscaster Olbermann livid about its content and tone. “Can only imagine what Fox will say,” I thought as I turned to generally upbeat comments from Juan Williams and a reporter from Roll Call. Even the solidly conservative Charles Krauthammer said not unkind things.

Which, on further reflection, makes sense. If you believe in the omnipotent power of the federal government, as many of the president’s supporters do, impotence in the face of a crisis will surely enrage. If your faith in the ability of a federalized bureaucracy is more tempered, the expectation gap isn’t as pronounced, and therefore neither is your disappointment.

Let me be clear. I am in no way happy about, or take schadenfreude in, the absolute tragedy in the gulf. But as with the economic lesson we were recently treated to with Greece, if the limits of big government’s environmental impact are finally learned, and a renewed call for self-reliance and small, decentralized control ensues, I’ll consider it a silver lining on a very dark cloud.