George Washington Warned of Those Like Reagan, Norquist, Cruz – Enemies to National Government

George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army

In his farewell address, George Washington gave advice and warnings to help the citizens of the United States keep the Constitution and their liberty. He warned of “overgrown military establishments,” political parties, favoritism for a foreign nation, change to the Constitution based on “mere hypothesis and opinion”, encroachment of one department of government upon another, undermining religion, piling up debt, unwillingness to pay taxes, and permanent alliances with foreign nations. But Washington’s first, and maybe strongest, warning was of “internal and external enemies” that would weaken the citizens’ bond with their national government.

The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, … is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But … it is easy to foresee, that … much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed …

We can, I think, find the internal type of such enemies among the leaders of the modern conservative movement, from the “Reagan Revolution” to today’s Teabag Party congressmen. Among those in that movement that have acted to weaken the citizens’ bond with their national government are:

  • President Ronald Reagan, who, after gaining office by treasonous plot, said, “[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” and went on to sell public assets dirt cheap, turn CIA propaganda methods against the American public, and run a dirty administration with many officials convicted of crimes, or leaving office after charged with misconduct.
  • Grover Norquist, a Republican leader who said: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Norquist has hamstrung the federal government by getting almost every Republican congressman to sign his anti-tax pledge, which forbids boosting government revenue by raising income tax rates or closing loopholes. And Norquist has helped damage the regular give-and-take of legislatures throughout the nation by driving the Republican Party to take a hard-line. He said: “Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.” And: “We are trying to change the tones in the state capitals – and turn them toward bitter nastiness and partisanship.”
  • Senator Ted Cruz, a Teabag Party leader, who, near the beginning of his recent 21-hour Senate floor talkathon, said:

    “[T]he problem [in Washington] is bigger than a continuing resolution [to fund the government]. It is bigger than ObamaCare. It is even bigger than the budget. The most fundamental problem … is that the men and women in Washington aren’t listening [to the people].”

    And what did Cruz (but not the polls) say that the people want “the men and women in Washington” to hear? It’s: “Stop Obamacare.” Thus, by his logic, stopping the nation’s healthcare law also becomes bigger than funding the government! And so Cruz backs the teabag-led Republican House congressmen in their strategy to undo the healthcare law, using their powers to shutdown the federal government, and to forbid it to pay its bills-come-due, as bargaining chips.

Of fevered factions, such as the teabag Congressmen, that would damage the regular functioning of democratic government, George Washington gave a special warning:

… The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

Post Script

George Washington did not expect that his advice would be strongly followed, but hoped that it might be helpful to his compatriots from time-to-time.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.


farewell address “Farewell Address” by George Washington, 1796 (Wikisource)

Washington’s first “Farewell Address” by George Washington, 1796; paragraph 9

treasonous ‘Book Review: “America’s Stolen Narrative” by Robert Parry’ – The Paragraph; 2013-03-21

plot “New ‘October Surprise’ Series” – The latest evidence of a history-changing Republican dirty trick in 1980 and its precursor in 1968.

[G]overnment is not the solution “First Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan” – JANUARY 20, 1981 (Yale Law School)

sell public assets “Selling Out to Corporations: Gale Norton and Bush’s Department of Interior” – Populist Daily; March 29th, 2010

During the Reagan Administration, the Interior Department leased millions of acres of land, quintupled the amount of previous administrations for oil drilling. It reduced the royalties of coal mining companies on public lands from 8% down to 5%. It sold off oil and shale land for $2.50 per acre. To give an example of what this meant, one parcel of land was sold to a friendly Republican company for $42,000 that was later re-sold only months later for $37,000,000.

turn CIA propaganda “Iran-Contra’s ‘Lost Chapter'” By Robert Parry; June 30, 2008

Under that compromise, a few segments of the draft chapter were inserted in the final [Iran-Contra] report’s Executive Summary and in another section on White House private fundraising, but the chapter’s conclusions and its detailed account of how the “perception management” operation worked ended up on the editing room floor.

The American people thus were spared the chapter’s troubling finding: that the Reagan administration had built a domestic covert propaganda apparatus managed by a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist working out of the National Security Council.

“One of the CIA’s most senior covert action operators was sent to the NSC in 1983 by CIA Director [William] Casey where he participated in the creation of an inter-agency public diplomacy mechanism that included the use of seasoned intelligence specialists,” the chapter’s conclusion stated.

“This public/private network set out to accomplish what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might attempt – to sway the media, the Congress, and American public opinion in the direction of the Reagan administration’s policies.”

dirty administration Doonesbury cartoon FAQ – Gary Trudeau

Number of Reagan administration era convictions in the Iran-contra scandal: 14 (two overturned on appeal).
Number of Reagan officials convicted for illegal lobbying: 2 (Michael Deaver; Lyn Nofziger, overturned on appeal).
Number of Reagan officials convicted in Housing and Urban Development scandal: 16.
Total number Reagan era convictions: 32 (the number cited in the strip — 29 — arrived at by subtracting the 3 overturned cases).

In addition, Bush [Reagan’s vice-president who later became president] pardoned Reagan’s Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, indicted on 5 charges.

Moreover, the record of actual convictions doesn’t tell the whole story. Over 30 additional Reagan appointees resigned or were fired following charges of legal or ethical misconduct, including Secretary of Interior James Watt, Secretary of Interior Raymond Donovan, CIA Director William Casey and EPA Administrator Anne Burford. Many dozens more were investigated.

many officials convicted Excerpt from “Sleep-Walking Through History: America in the Reagan Years”, by Haynes Johnson, (1991, Doubleday); p. 184

“By the end of his term, 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations. In terms of number of officials involved, the record of his administration was the worst ever.”

I don’t want “Grover Norquist” – via NPR “Morning Edition”

almost every Republican congressman “Federal Taxpayer Protection Pledge, 113th Congressional List” – Americans for Tax Reform

anti-tax pledge “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” – Americans for Tax Reform

Bipartisanship is “Rancor becomes top D.C. export GOP leads charge in ideological war” by John Aloysius Farrell; The Denver Post; May 26, 2003

We are trying ibid

21-hour Senate floor talkathon “TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech” The Hill; 09/25/13

but not the polls “Obamacare Polls: Little Support For Defunding But Much Uncertainty, Doubt” by Mark Blumenthal; The Huffington Post; 09/30/2013

The five surveys show that the percentage of Americans who want to defund Obamacare — ranging from 37 to 39 percent — falls well short of a majority, while far more Americans — between 42 and 56 percent — oppose eliminating its funding. And none of these questions raised the possibility of a government shutdown or default on the national debt. When the CNBC/Hart-McInturff survey probed with a follow-up question, a mere 19 percent of adults said they favored eliminating funding for the law “even if this meant shutting down the federal government and having the government default on its debts.”

shutdown the federal government “Mission Accomplished: The Tea Party Shutdown” by E. J. Dionne; The National Memo; October 1st, 2013

forbid it to pay its bills-come-due “Debt ceiling: Understanding what’s at stake” by Alain Sherter; CBS Moneywatch; 2013-10-07

gave a special warning “Farewell Address” by George Washington, 1796; paragraph 16-17

did not expect “Farewell Address” by George Washington, 1796; paragraph 43

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By Quinn Hungeski,, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2013

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9 years ago

Thank you for your research and your clear-headed delineation of a founding father’s wisdom in the face of the brutal insanity currently being perpetrated on this country.