'He's not a king!' A brief encounter with the swamp

I recently spoke with an old acquaintance, just out of government, who had worked in the Intelligence Community in Washington.  The venue was a neighborhood party in a deep-blue area of the U.S., in one of the highest of high-income ZIP codes.

As the lone conservative I tend to tread carefully in these discussions.  However, I thought she might have a conservative bent, as she seemed to share my mistrust of government.  When she first started working for the I.C., she told me she was waiting to meet "the adult in the room," as everyone she interacted with seemed clueless.  After a few years, she eventually realized "there was no adult in the room!"

So I was interested in her take on the Trump impeachment process, then just getting under way.  When I brought it up, she immediately got excited.  "It's worse than you think; it's worse than anyone knows!"  I wondered what might be worse than what  I've read. I also wondered which side she felt was acting worse — Trump or the swamp?

I soon learned she was upset with Trump for supposedly talking to Ukraine about Joe Biden.  I asked, quite innocently, wouldn't you expect him to look into it?  After all, Trump is the head of the law enforcement community, and Biden's son was getting over $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian energy company for a position that he was clearly unqualified to hold.  Wasn't that suspicious?  She airily waived off my concerns.  "Oh, everyone in Washington does that kind of thing."

What particularly galled her was that Trump had changed the procedures, placing his calls to other heads of state under high classification status, so they could not be seen by others in government.  She considered this an outrageous breach of protocol.  How could Trump do such a thing?

I pointed out that he had a good reason; Trump was the victim of two major leaks in his first month, where the full texts of his calls were given to the press.  Wasn't that also outrageous and unprecedented?  And given the strong possibility of further leaks, wouldn't classifying his calls be the prudent thing to do?

At this point, her eyes flashed in anger.  "He can't just change things like that!  He's not a king!"

It was a nice party, and I didn't want things to escalate.  I took an opportunity to break off our conversation, leaving her still unsure of my political proclivities.

But to me, her statement — "He's not a king!" — perfectly encapsulates the attitude and entitlement of the swamp.

To them, the unelected bureaucrats are the real stewards of the government, not some outsider who just happened to win a presidential election.  How dare Trump parachute in and disrupt the status quo?  Never mind that he ran specifically on a platform to "Drain the Swamp" and make government more accountable.  To her, Trump was just a gauche usurper, an outsider who had no business making changes to the almighty bureaucratic monolith.

So if President Trump isn't the king, then who is?  The answer is obvious: the swamp.

The king is dead; long live the swamp!  

Jay Latimer is an international businessman, writer and investor who has worked in investment banking for several multinational banks in New York, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

I recently spoke with an old acquaintance, just out of government, who had worked in the Intelligence Community in Washington.  The venue was a neighborhood party in a deep-blue area of the U.S., in one of the highest of high-income ZIP codes.

As the lone conservative I tend to tread carefully in these discussions.  However, I thought she might have a conservative bent, as she seemed to share my mistrust of government.  When she first started working for the I.C., she told me she was waiting to meet "the adult in the room," as everyone she interacted with seemed clueless.  After a few years, she eventually realized "there was no adult in the room!"

So I was interested in her take on the Trump impeachment process, then just getting under way.  When I brought it up, she immediately got excited.  "It's worse than you think; it's worse than anyone knows!"  I wondered what might be worse than what  I've read. I also wondered which side she felt was acting worse — Trump or the swamp?

I soon learned she was upset with Trump for supposedly talking to Ukraine about Joe Biden.  I asked, quite innocently, wouldn't you expect him to look into it?  After all, Trump is the head of the law enforcement community, and Biden's son was getting over $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian energy company for a position that he was clearly unqualified to hold.  Wasn't that suspicious?  She airily waived off my concerns.  "Oh, everyone in Washington does that kind of thing."

What particularly galled her was that Trump had changed the procedures, placing his calls to other heads of state under high classification status, so they could not be seen by others in government.  She considered this an outrageous breach of protocol.  How could Trump do such a thing?

I pointed out that he had a good reason; Trump was the victim of two major leaks in his first month, where the full texts of his calls were given to the press.  Wasn't that also outrageous and unprecedented?  And given the strong possibility of further leaks, wouldn't classifying his calls be the prudent thing to do?

At this point, her eyes flashed in anger.  "He can't just change things like that!  He's not a king!"

It was a nice party, and I didn't want things to escalate.  I took an opportunity to break off our conversation, leaving her still unsure of my political proclivities.

But to me, her statement — "He's not a king!" — perfectly encapsulates the attitude and entitlement of the swamp.

To them, the unelected bureaucrats are the real stewards of the government, not some outsider who just happened to win a presidential election.  How dare Trump parachute in and disrupt the status quo?  Never mind that he ran specifically on a platform to "Drain the Swamp" and make government more accountable.  To her, Trump was just a gauche usurper, an outsider who had no business making changes to the almighty bureaucratic monolith.

So if President Trump isn't the king, then who is?  The answer is obvious: the swamp.

The king is dead; long live the swamp!  

Jay Latimer is an international businessman, writer and investor who has worked in investment banking for several multinational banks in New York, Hong Kong, and Beijing.