Ed Driscoll

The Park Police


“The conduct of the National Park Service over the last week might be the biggest scandal of the Obama administration,” Jonathan Last writes at the Weekly Standard, in editorial that begins with President Reagan’s statement that “We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around,” a notion that seems to be receding further into the rearview mirror every day:


The conduct of the National Park Service over the last week might be the biggest scandal of the Obama administration. This is an expansive claim, of course. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS, the NSA, the HHS mandate​—​this is an administration that has not lacked for appalling abuses of power. And we still have three years to go.

Even so, consider the actions of the National Park Service since the government shutdown began. People first noticed what the NPS was up to when the World War II Memorial on the National Mall was “closed.” Just to be clear, the memorial is an open plaza. There is nothing to operate. Sometimes there might be a ranger standing around. But he’s not collecting tickets or opening gates. Putting up barricades and posting guards to “close” the World War II Memorial takes more resources and manpower than “keeping it open.”

The closure of the World War II Memorial was just the start of the Park Service’s partisan assault on the citizenry. There’s a cute little historic site just outside of the capital in McLean, Virginia, called the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. They do historical reenactments, and once upon a time the National Park Service helped run the place. But in 1980, the NPS cut the farm out of its budget. A group of private citizens set up an endowment to take care of the farm’s expenses. Ever since, the site has operated independently through a combination of private donations and volunteer workers.

The Park Service told Claude Moore Colonial Farm to shut down.


At one point, Last wryly quips, “As Homer Simpson famously asked, did we lose a war?”

At least as of now, it certainly appears that way, doesn’t it?

Earlier: “Gentlemen, You Can’t Recreate Here, This is a National Park!”

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