1) A government which is highly limited by principle in power and scope to the purpose of protecting the equal, sovereign rights to the individual to life, liberty, property, the ownership of one's own mind and body, and the pursuit of personal happiness. This is the legitimate government envisioned by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
2) A so-called pragmatic government not restricted by principle to a limited scope and with few powers which is inclined to bestow special privileges on special interests. Such a government may be a democracy, an oligarchy, a one-party state, or a dictatorship and it must of necessity trample the rights of the individual because our personal interests are too diverse for government to foster all of our interests. It must pick which interests it will favor and which it will suppress. It violates the principle that government should do no harm. This is the kind of government we now have.
The media generally has failed the People because it does not believe in the principles of limited government and of the equal, sovereign rights of the individual. Rather than being watchdogs of our freedoms, they are mostly advocates of further infringements upon individual rights.
The Democrat Socialist Party scoffs at the very idea the Constitution limits the powers of government and that the Declaration of Independence is even a document with standing in the U.S. Pelosi, Biden, Obama, Waxman, Waters, and many other Democrats have literally confirmed this scoffing attitude with explicit comments.
Many Objectivists and Libertarians are fond of saying the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats. The Republicans very frequently violate the Constitution, but they do sometimes try to use it to reduce the rate of government expansion and they rarely scoff at it. It is mostly Republicans who have tried to get ObamaCare declared unconstitutional and have tried to defund it in the House of Representatives. Such fairly stout defenders of freedom and individual rights as there are, are in the Republican Party. The valuable Tea Party movement is rightly mostly voting for and supporting Republicans, while trying to reform the party. I can think of no one in the Democrat Party who is a stout defender of freedom beyond a few points of narrow focus, such as opposing DOMA, DADT, and supporting abortion rights. As for Bush being as bad as Obama, that is a gross exaggeration. He was not fiscally responsible, but he was not in a league with Obama in the amount spent and certainly not as bad at just throwing away the money spent.
If we cannot educate the public to demand principled and legitimate government (as defined in the Declaration of Independence), then there is no path to good government. It must of necessity degenerate into special interest politics such as we have now. Those who want to stop the discussion of principles will never matter a wit to substantial improvement in the idea of good government. It can be helpful to get people to listen to principled discussion to point out the absurdities into which pragmatic, special interest government falls and to ridicule it. I do this frequently on my blog. But in the end, no major improvement in government will come about unless the People believe in the equal, sovereign rights of the individual and understand what those rights are.
The special interest nature of our federal government is well-illustrated by some examples in this Washington Examiner editorial, Washington conducts public business for private gain. This paragraph is one of the more interesting from this editorial:
You'd think that Obama would have locked up the environmentalist vote with the billions of tax dollars that he's sent their way already [before denying the Keystone XL Pipeline]. We learned additional details about that corrupt process this week when it was revealed that more than $16 billion of the $20 billion spent by Obama's clean energy loan program went to companies linked to former members of his White House staff, prominent corporate campaign donors, and campaign contribution bundlers. The U.S. Constitution begins with the words "We, the people," and goes on to frame a government that is supposed to be their servant. It's time Washington was reminded of who serves who.The editorial also addresses the fact that our Congressmen tend to enrich themselves with insider information and the power of their positions. This is the natural state of any government that views itself as pragmatic and does not have any respect for the rights of the individual and the limited government it requires as embodied in the American Principle of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.