Our selfish "public servants"

There’s an increasing sense in our political life that in both parties politicians call themselves public servants but act like bosses who think the voters work for them. Physicians who routinely help the needy and the uninsured do not call themselves servants. They get to be called the 1%. Politicians who jerk around doctors, nurses and health systems call themselves servants, when of course they look more like little kings and queens instructing the grudging peasants in how to arrange their affairs.

Which gets us, inevitably, to the King of I, who unselfconsciously claims ownership of . . . everything. “My military,” “my White House,” “my cabinet,” “my secretary.” The president does first person singular more than Mr. Christie does. But his actions are so much more consequential, because they’re national and because they play out in the area of policy.

The president’s health-insurance reform had to be breathtaking, mind-bending, historic. It had to be a Democratic Party initiative only. It required a few major lies to gain passage, but what the heck.

It was political selfishness that blew up the American health-care system. And it’s the public, in this and other messes, that’s left holding the bag. But as government gets bigger the bag gets bigger, and people will get tired of carrying it. They’re already tired.