Trump vs. the bureaucracy

As a child, my image of the government was formed by old newsreels from the 1940s and ’50s in which government officials were all stately gentlemen acting in the best interests of the nation.  As I grew older, that image became increasingly tarnished with every passing year.

By this time, that image has degenerated into one of a government run in large part by kleptocrats, liars, and outright hucksters.  I believe that Hillary Clinton was among the worst of them, and had she won, I am convinced that the republic would soon have ceased to exist.  If that opinion sounds hyperbolic, it is shared with greater minds than mine.  For example, Lou Dobbs, in a televised interview, opined that Trump’s election had rescued the nation from disaster.

The saga continues, however, as we find that the inhabitants of “the swamp” are in what one commentator referred to as an existential struggle.  Their jobs are at risk.  Indeed, in some cases, the very agencies that employ them may soon be drastically reduced in size or even abolished entirely.  I forget who said it, but a bureaucrat would never risk his life for anything except his job.  When their jobs are threatened, bureaucrats go nuclear.  That explains a lot of the anti-Trump fanaticism we are seeing now.

This, then, is what Donald J. Trump is up against: a bureaucratic machine that fully intends to catch him in its cogs and grind him to political death.  Its denizens will stop at nothing, because for them, to lose this battle is worse than death; it is to be exposed as the irrelevant, purposeless creatures they have become.

One prime exemplar of this phenomenon is Walter Shaub, Jr., director of the Office of Government Ethics.  Throughout the first four years of his five-year tenure, Shaub never found any reason, not one, to investigate the vast array of scandals involving Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, and Barbara Boxer, among many others. 

Now that Trump is preparing to be inaugurated, however, Shaub has suddenly developed a keen and penetrating interest in a non-issue: that of Trump’s conflicts of interest, which, according to law, never apply to a sitting president.  He is exempt from them.  Shaub is unimpressed with such laws.

According to a Fox News report, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, stated that “Mr. Shaub has taken a very aggressive stance on issues he’s never [before] looked at. He’s raised a bunch of eyebrows.”

As was so aptly said by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, “if you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy.  God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy won’t.”

Another disappointing example of corrupt officials scurrying for their jobs is found in the top-level bureaucracy of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Of them, author Tim Weiner wrote, “To the CIA, everyone’s an outsider.”

In a government of unaccountable officials, the CIA (along with its sister intelligence agencies) is likely the least accountable of all, for the very essence of its existence is secrecy.  It has been called a “shadow government,” with its own agenda and its own carefully concealed budget. 

Trump has crossed them, and their knives will be out to protect both their agendas and budgets.

For Trump, getting nominated was an uphill battle, and getting elected was a seemingly hopeless war.  His greatest challenge of all will be not merely to govern a nation, but to conquer a massive bureaucracy in full and open rebellion against him and against the American people.

As a child, my image of the government was formed by old newsreels from the 1940s and ’50s in which government officials were all stately gentlemen acting in the best interests of the nation.  As I grew older, that image became increasingly tarnished with every passing year.

By this time, that image has degenerated into one of a government run in large part by kleptocrats, liars, and outright hucksters.  I believe that Hillary Clinton was among the worst of them, and had she won, I am convinced that the republic would soon have ceased to exist.  If that opinion sounds hyperbolic, it is shared with greater minds than mine.  For example, Lou Dobbs, in a televised interview, opined that Trump’s election had rescued the nation from disaster.

The saga continues, however, as we find that the inhabitants of “the swamp” are in what one commentator referred to as an existential struggle.  Their jobs are at risk.  Indeed, in some cases, the very agencies that employ them may soon be drastically reduced in size or even abolished entirely.  I forget who said it, but a bureaucrat would never risk his life for anything except his job.  When their jobs are threatened, bureaucrats go nuclear.  That explains a lot of the anti-Trump fanaticism we are seeing now.

This, then, is what Donald J. Trump is up against: a bureaucratic machine that fully intends to catch him in its cogs and grind him to political death.  Its denizens will stop at nothing, because for them, to lose this battle is worse than death; it is to be exposed as the irrelevant, purposeless creatures they have become.

One prime exemplar of this phenomenon is Walter Shaub, Jr., director of the Office of Government Ethics.  Throughout the first four years of his five-year tenure, Shaub never found any reason, not one, to investigate the vast array of scandals involving Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, and Barbara Boxer, among many others. 

Now that Trump is preparing to be inaugurated, however, Shaub has suddenly developed a keen and penetrating interest in a non-issue: that of Trump’s conflicts of interest, which, according to law, never apply to a sitting president.  He is exempt from them.  Shaub is unimpressed with such laws.

According to a Fox News report, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, stated that “Mr. Shaub has taken a very aggressive stance on issues he’s never [before] looked at. He’s raised a bunch of eyebrows.”

As was so aptly said by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, “if you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy.  God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy won’t.”

Another disappointing example of corrupt officials scurrying for their jobs is found in the top-level bureaucracy of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Of them, author Tim Weiner wrote, “To the CIA, everyone’s an outsider.”

In a government of unaccountable officials, the CIA (along with its sister intelligence agencies) is likely the least accountable of all, for the very essence of its existence is secrecy.  It has been called a “shadow government,” with its own agenda and its own carefully concealed budget. 

Trump has crossed them, and their knives will be out to protect both their agendas and budgets.

For Trump, getting nominated was an uphill battle, and getting elected was a seemingly hopeless war.  His greatest challenge of all will be not merely to govern a nation, but to conquer a massive bureaucracy in full and open rebellion against him and against the American people.