“We can’t take comfort in just being cynical,” the president admonished. “We all have a stake in government success — because the government is us.”
This is among the president’s favorite formulations, and it gets to the heart of the problem. The government is not “us.” The government is — or is supposed to be — a collection of agencies that do things taxpayers and voters want done. In short, it is a tool.
Sometimes the smartest way to use a tool is not to use it at all. A garden rake is a useful tool. But it’s not useful for every task. No matter how smart the surgeon, there’s no smart way for him to use a rake to remove a kidney.