Spencer booted: Swamp revolt nipped in the bud

Appropriately, president and commander in chief Trump, through his defense secretary, told the slow-on-the-uptake Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, "You're fired!"

It was a swift and fitting response, given that it now emerges that Spencer was sneaking around behind his boss's back and arguably "blackmailing" the president over the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.

Spencer was a real problem all around in this incident.  First, he slow-walked Trump's order to leave Gallagher alone, first by insisting that Trump would need to issue a formal order to get him to do anything (fill out a form in triplicate?) instead of tweet his very clear sentiment, and second that he'd fix things to make both the swamp and supposedly Trump happy by forcing Gallagher to retire but allowing him to keep his prized Trident pin.  Win-win, hey?  He somehow didn't bother to tell defense secretary Mark Esper of his offer to the White House.  And all that Commander in Chief Trump could see was that this boob didn't get the tweet hint about leaving Gallagher alone. 

The New York Times, newspaper of choice of the Washington swamp, initially reported that Spencer threatened to resign if he didn't get his way on how Gallagher was to be treated since his nearly total acquittal and his pardon and restoration of rank on the minor issue he was convicted of.

Spencer then denied it but got weird in insisting that he'd do what Trump wanted only if Trump issued a formal order, and he made that public.  He didn't go quietly through channels, as if to humiliate Trump.  If he had any brain at all, he would have paid attention to the broad sentiment being conveyed by the commander in chief instead of kvetch like a NeverTrump about tweets.  He saw only "tweets" and decided that the mind behind those tweets wasn't worth paying attention to.

Ironically, he piously called his post-firing resignation a matter of his devotion to the chain of command and law and order, and he sophomorically lectured everyone about its importance, as if Trump's act of clemency to Gallagher as commander in chief was somehow illegal.

Here's some of his beyond-icky long-winded post-firing letter:

As Secretary of the Navy, one the most important responsibilities I have to our people is to maintain good order and discipline throughout the ranks. I regard this as deadly serious business. The lives of our Sailors. Marines and civilian teammates quite literally depend on the professional execution of our many missions. and they also depend on the ongoing faith and support of the people we serve and the allies we serve alongside.

The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries. Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and again, from Captain Lawrence's famous order "Don't Give up the Ship", to the discipline and determination that propelled our flag to the highest point on Iwo Jima. The Constitution. and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are the shields that set us apart. and the beacons that protect us all. Through my Title Ten Authority, I have strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent, from the newest recruit to the Flag and General Officer level.

Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect. I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me. In regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Look at that lecture!  And then it got worse.  The Times, which was apparently too embarrassed to write about the firing itself after its initial reporting resulted in Spencer's booting, ran an Associated Press story about the sneaky maneuvers Spencer conducted behind the defense secretary's back.

But on Sunday, [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper said he had learned that Spencer had "privately" proposed to the White House that Gallagher be allowed to retire in his current rank and without losing his status as a SEAL. Esper said Spencer had not told him of the proposal to the White House, causing him to lose "trust and confidence."

Apparently, in that great devotion of his to law and order, to the chain of command, to good order in the military, he didn't think those rules applied to himself.  He was always free to sneak around and make the swamp happy by sticking a shiv into Gallagher, who very much has the support of the men and women in the Navy community here in San Diego.  Much to my surprise yesterday, I learned my cousin lives down the street from Gallagher in Navy housing, who told me he was a nice, well-regarded guy, and obviously, the verdict Gallagher got at his trial shows the general sentiment. 

Spencer's acts show a lot of loyalty to the military lawyer and bureaucrat class rather than fealty to the commander in chief. 

And it shows a significant devotion to swamp life, to keeping the swampers happy, and telling Trump to beat it, they were going to get their way no matter what Trump did.

Spencer's biography signals that he only did four years in the Marines, mostly in the late 1970s, when joining the military was unpopular and opportunities were pretty easily given. After 1981, as the Reagan tax cuts kicked in and the Yuppie Era began, he had a career on Wall Street, likely with lots of buying and selling of defense stocks, lots of knowing how military contracts work, lots of getting rich. If I had to guess, Spencer might have had his devotion to the swampers in order to stay in the loop on the good stuff once he left Trump's service. Helps to have contacts on the inside, which could explain why he placed loyalty to the swamp over loyalty to the commander in chief. It suggests someone of his background isn't terribly suited to serve the commander in chief.

Of course had to be fired. This was a swamp revolt and he was leading it. As one of the commentators on Conservative Treehouse noted, either he has to be fired or the Defense Secretary and the Commander in Chief are going to have to be constantly watching him. Better to just get someone who obeys commands and doesn't give us his all his pieties, conditions, requirements and fixed backroom deals.

Image credit: M01229 via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Appropriately, president and commander in chief Trump, through his defense secretary, told the slow-on-the-uptake Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, "You're fired!"

It was a swift and fitting response, given that it now emerges that Spencer was sneaking around behind his boss's back and arguably "blackmailing" the president over the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.

Spencer was a real problem all around in this incident.  First, he slow-walked Trump's order to leave Gallagher alone, first by insisting that Trump would need to issue a formal order to get him to do anything (fill out a form in triplicate?) instead of tweet his very clear sentiment, and second that he'd fix things to make both the swamp and supposedly Trump happy by forcing Gallagher to retire but allowing him to keep his prized Trident pin.  Win-win, hey?  He somehow didn't bother to tell defense secretary Mark Esper of his offer to the White House.  And all that Commander in Chief Trump could see was that this boob didn't get the tweet hint about leaving Gallagher alone. 

The New York Times, newspaper of choice of the Washington swamp, initially reported that Spencer threatened to resign if he didn't get his way on how Gallagher was to be treated since his nearly total acquittal and his pardon and restoration of rank on the minor issue he was convicted of.

Spencer then denied it but got weird in insisting that he'd do what Trump wanted only if Trump issued a formal order, and he made that public.  He didn't go quietly through channels, as if to humiliate Trump.  If he had any brain at all, he would have paid attention to the broad sentiment being conveyed by the commander in chief instead of kvetch like a NeverTrump about tweets.  He saw only "tweets" and decided that the mind behind those tweets wasn't worth paying attention to.

Ironically, he piously called his post-firing resignation a matter of his devotion to the chain of command and law and order, and he sophomorically lectured everyone about its importance, as if Trump's act of clemency to Gallagher as commander in chief was somehow illegal.

Here's some of his beyond-icky long-winded post-firing letter:

As Secretary of the Navy, one the most important responsibilities I have to our people is to maintain good order and discipline throughout the ranks. I regard this as deadly serious business. The lives of our Sailors. Marines and civilian teammates quite literally depend on the professional execution of our many missions. and they also depend on the ongoing faith and support of the people we serve and the allies we serve alongside.

The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries. Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and again, from Captain Lawrence's famous order "Don't Give up the Ship", to the discipline and determination that propelled our flag to the highest point on Iwo Jima. The Constitution. and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are the shields that set us apart. and the beacons that protect us all. Through my Title Ten Authority, I have strived to ensure our proceedings are fair, transparent and consistent, from the newest recruit to the Flag and General Officer level.

Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect. I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me. In regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Look at that lecture!  And then it got worse.  The Times, which was apparently too embarrassed to write about the firing itself after its initial reporting resulted in Spencer's booting, ran an Associated Press story about the sneaky maneuvers Spencer conducted behind the defense secretary's back.

But on Sunday, [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper said he had learned that Spencer had "privately" proposed to the White House that Gallagher be allowed to retire in his current rank and without losing his status as a SEAL. Esper said Spencer had not told him of the proposal to the White House, causing him to lose "trust and confidence."

Apparently, in that great devotion of his to law and order, to the chain of command, to good order in the military, he didn't think those rules applied to himself.  He was always free to sneak around and make the swamp happy by sticking a shiv into Gallagher, who very much has the support of the men and women in the Navy community here in San Diego.  Much to my surprise yesterday, I learned my cousin lives down the street from Gallagher in Navy housing, who told me he was a nice, well-regarded guy, and obviously, the verdict Gallagher got at his trial shows the general sentiment. 

Spencer's acts show a lot of loyalty to the military lawyer and bureaucrat class rather than fealty to the commander in chief. 

And it shows a significant devotion to swamp life, to keeping the swampers happy, and telling Trump to beat it, they were going to get their way no matter what Trump did.

Spencer's biography signals that he only did four years in the Marines, mostly in the late 1970s, when joining the military was unpopular and opportunities were pretty easily given. After 1981, as the Reagan tax cuts kicked in and the Yuppie Era began, he had a career on Wall Street, likely with lots of buying and selling of defense stocks, lots of knowing how military contracts work, lots of getting rich. If I had to guess, Spencer might have had his devotion to the swampers in order to stay in the loop on the good stuff once he left Trump's service. Helps to have contacts on the inside, which could explain why he placed loyalty to the swamp over loyalty to the commander in chief. It suggests someone of his background isn't terribly suited to serve the commander in chief.

Of course had to be fired. This was a swamp revolt and he was leading it. As one of the commentators on Conservative Treehouse noted, either he has to be fired or the Defense Secretary and the Commander in Chief are going to have to be constantly watching him. Better to just get someone who obeys commands and doesn't give us his all his pieties, conditions, requirements and fixed backroom deals.

Image credit: M01229 via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.