Oct 182013

I was glad to read this morning that the National Park Service is getting some sustained inquiry into its shock trooper tactics during the shutdown. In case you’ve forgotten, such tactics included:

  • Erecting barricades around open-air monuments that are normally unstaffed
  • Placing traffic cones to prevent photography of Mount Rushmore from the shoulder of a public highway
  • Holding under functional house arrest a group of American and international tourists to prevent them from taking photos in Yellowstone, including surrounding Old Faithful with NPS patrol vehicles during eruptions and preventing them from using park bathrooms when they were finally allowed to leave
  • Numerous attempts to close attractions that receive no federal money, with some succeeding

It’s a long and shameful list. The article also points out something that hadn’t occurred to me: to take so much of this action on day one of the shutdown required a good bit of advance planning.

And it is the tiny, petulant child in the White House who is responsible for it.

I don’t believe for a moment he had nothing to do with this petty foolishness. His gleeful little vindictive fingerprints are all over it. But, if you’re still standing in defense of The One, the god-king who’s come to save us all, and you insist this isn’t his and probably all happened without his knowledge, then dig: it was still his to temper and he chose not to. To wit:

“My fellow Americans, I have learned that the National Park Service has been a bit overzealous in its interpretation of the government shutdown. It is neither necessary nor productive to shutter open-air monuments, for example. I have directed the NPS leadership to stop these activities immediately. The shutdown is a trying time, but we need not manufacture additional crisis for no good cause.”

That would have been decent and principled leadership. Any surprise we didn’t get it?

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