In American politics, there are actual problems and perceived problems. And when it comes to that exorbitant GSA trip to Las Vegas or the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, those are perceived problems — that somehow the government isn’t working and a handful of employees aren’t taking their jobs seriously. The question, in this election year, is whether that perception hurts the guy running the government. Make no mistake: These scandals aren’t coming from the Obama White House or from the aides working closest with the president. More importantly, the Obama White House hasn’t tolerated that “Government Gone Wild” behavior (see the GSA resignation, as well as those exits from the Secret Service). And Barney Frank made a good point in his fascinating interview with New York magazine that the media focuses only when something negative happens in government, usually ignoring the positive. But the attention on these GSA and Secret Service stories only sullies the government’s reputation. Bottom line: The government can’t afford another one to surface again anytime soon, and neither can the party that has come to represent the idea that government is at least part of the solution to collective problems — the Democrats.