The Trump era revolution – done without Trump

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: One of the rare big changes in the US government has occurred during Trump’s term. It was not done by Trump, but by his enemies. America will never be the same. You might not have noticed because the news media did not tell you.

“When the plot is ripe it remains no longer secret.”
— Said by Gandolf in The Two Towers, part two of The Lord of the Rings.

Deep State

The always insightful James Howard Kunstler gives an apt summary of Trump.

“My sense of {Trump} hasn’t changed: he remains the Golden Golem of Greatness, a kind of mystical and mystifying comic figure himself, but not of the 1930s slapstick sort, more like a character drawn from the neo-gothic Joker phase of American history – and he really did spring full-blown on the scene from our real-life Gotham City. I was impressed, during his Thursday post-acquittal White House gala, at the stunning incoherence of his remarks, his facility for leaving absolutely every thought hanging unfinished in mid-sentence as he turned to the next uncompleted thought. I can’t say for sure that this makes him an ineffective manager of the nation’s affairs, but it does leave you kind of wondering.”

Nonetheless, Trump’s years in office saw one of the big changes in America’s government. Not because of anything Trump has done, most of which have been standard Republican deeds – tax cuts for the rich, more money for defense vendors, bigger deficits, attacking unions, slash spending on citizens, etc. The real significant event is that the Deep State has revealed itself.

In the years B.T. (Before Trump), the great and wise said that only conspiracy theory nuts believed there was a Deep State. For example, Rory Cooper, one of the Daily Beast’s cadre of leftists, wrote on 6 September 2018 that the “‘Deep State’ Fantasy Is Just as Dangerous as the ‘Fake News’ Myth.” Quite a pitiful screed, since the day before the Deep State went public with an op-ed in the NYT by a “senior official in the Trump administration” – “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.“

“I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. …This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.”

For more about this, see this post. Hilariously, Wikipedia (guardian of Leftist dogma), still describes the Deep State as a “conspiracy theory.” Others, more awake than Wikipedia’s contributors, drew the obvious conclusions from the NYT op-ed.

Angelo Codevilla is a professor emeritus of international relations at Boston U. He explained how the Deep State has formed its alliances and gone public.

“For the past month, the Democratic Party and the media (excuse the redundancy) have demanded that the American people be shocked (shocked!) by stories of multiple bureaucrats who express (choose your weapon) “concern,” “dismay,” “abhorrence,” etc. at the mode and substance of President Trump’s communication with Ukraine’s president. The substance of what they had to say about those communications has been by far the lesser part of the story. As each bureaucrat has “come forward,” the Democrats and the media largely have dropped attempts to explain what, exactly, may have been bad about Trump’s communications, and found the officials’ disgust with the president to be sufficient cause for impeaching him.”

Their alliances are the Deep State’s power. Now that they have emerged into the daylight, much of the establishment tells us that the Deep State is our natural leaders. Of course, members of the team speak the loudest. Such as Former Deputy Director and Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin., speaking with former CIA Director John Brennan, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“Thank God for the deep state. …Everyone here has seen this progression of diplomats and intelligence officers and White House people trooping up to Capitol Hill right now and saying these are doing their duty and responding to a higher call.” (See the video at the Daily Caller.)

Their allies echo the Deep State’s rightness to rule, such as in this by Michelle Cottle, a member of the NYT’s editorial board: “They Are Not the Resistance. They Are Not a Cabal” (Oct 20).

“They Are Public Servants. Let us now praise these not-silent heroes.”

“President Trump is right: The deep state is alive and well. But it is not the sinister, antidemocratic cabal of his fever dreams. It is, rather, a collection of patriotic public servants – career diplomats, scientists, intelligence officers and others – who, from within the bowels of this corrupt and corrupting administration, have somehow remembered that their duty is to protect the interests, not of a particular leader, but of the American people.”

By now, even the NYT must acknowledge the obvious: that there is a Deep State. But Cottle tells us that bureaucrats ruling our most senior elected officials is a good thing! Even better, in November she read the NYT’s glowing descriptions of these bureaucrats and wrote that they are “sexy,” with an “old-school steadiness and Walter Cronkite voice” and an “adorable bow tie“, plus having “fierce dignity.” She said, “Rarely have career public servants inspired such passion.” Wait until they attack a Democratic president! Then Cottle will show real passion.

James Bowman explains what this means (red emphasis added).

“To believe Ms Cottle’s disclaimers you would have firmly to close your eyes to the abundant evidence, which none of them even attempted to hide, that these State Department careerists thought not just that they ought to be running American foreign policy instead of the President but that they were entitled to run it, if not by the Constitution (which gives that responsibility to the elected chief executive) then by their own superior intelligence and the moral standing they imagined it conferred upon them.

“Lieutenant Colonel (as he demanded the ranking member of the committee address him) Alexander Vindman gave the game away when he kept referring to “the Interagency” – something which has no constitutional or even administrative existence but seems to mean nothing more than the bureaucratic consensus of the day – as the ultimate authority to which even the President was expected, by implication, to submit himself.”

In October, James B. Stewart published Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law. All those elections are secondary. To overturn the 2016 election, the Deep State spent three years concoting the RussiaGate hoax. When that failed, they whipped up UkraineGate. They understand that the Democrats will bail on their long-held principles to get Trump, and justify whatever Deep State officials do. Stewart explains on NBC’s “Today” show.

“You meet these characters in my book, and the fact is, in a sense, he {Trump} is right. There is a Deep State, there is a bureaucracy in our country who has pledged to respect the Constitution, respect the rule of law. …What Trump calls the Deep State in the United States is protecting the American people and protecting the Constitution. It’s a positive thing in this sense.”

Some of the defenses are absurd, as in a team of NYT reporters’ story “Trump’s War on the ‘Deep State’ Turns Against Him.” The opening gives their weird theory: “The impeachment inquiry is in some ways the culmination of a battle between the president and the government institutions he distrusted and disparaged.” James Bowman debunks this.

“In short, by imagining a non-existent conspiracy against him, the President actually conjured a real conspiracy against him into existence. Apart from the obviously disingenuous and self-serving nature of such a claim, it implied that civil servants, though not their boss, were or ought to have been immune from criticism, and that such criticism from an elected superior amounted to a justification for the latter’s removal from office. How far adrift such speculation is from factual reporting is something that, like the substantive Constitution, is of no interest to the narrative-pushers of The New York Times, nor can their narrative explain away the plain fact that “Mr Trump and his circle” were right all along about the deep state, even if proleptically.”

Conclusions

America’s governing regime has had undergone many radical changes. In 1803, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Marbury v. Madison gave it vast powers unmentioned in the Constitution. Now every small act by the Executive Branch can be vetoed by the subjective opinions of judges.

But the big story has been the growing power of the executive branch. During the Civil War, it gained new powers. From 1917 to 1945, it gained even more power. Its power grew more from 1964 to 1974 during LBJ’s Great Society and its follow-up under that great liberal president, Richard Nixon.

Now the bureaucracy that wields all that power seeks to gain independence from elected officials. For tactical reasons, the Democratic Party supports this little revolution. The precedents have been created. No punishment, or even pushback, seems likely. The US government has changed again, not only without public approval – but without the public’s knowledge.

The likely effect of this will be to politicize the senior levels of the Executive branch. No future president will repeat Trump’s foolishness, allowing potential opponents to remain in office. Wise Presidents will purge the bureaucracy. Senior civil servants with uncertain loyalty cannot be fired, but can be transferred or sidelines. Keeping experts of uncertain loyalty will be folly.

The US government will become even less effective, more powerful, and less democratic. The Democrats will have brought this about and did not even get Trump in exchange.

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
— By Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher). From Letter 76 dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres et Opuscules.