The American Deep State Exists, And It's Disappointing

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So, a pretty extraordinary thing happened today.

The New York Times has published an anonymous op-ed piece whose author is said to be a currently-serving senior official in the Trump administration. And it is pretty damn brutal.

Now, it's not unheard-of for former administration officials to release damning reports of internal dysfunction in the form of such an op-ed or in a tell-all book. In fact, it's quite common. It's not even unusual for those officials to try and stay anonymous to protect their future career.

But as far as I can tell, there has never been a scenario where a currently-serving administration official has written an op-ed under the shield of anonymity where they freely admit to having worked to obstruct the President's actions out of a belief that obeying his orders would be disastrous to the country.

This comes right as Bob Woodward - the veteran Watergate reporter - releases his new book on the Trump administration, Fear, which itself included some damning off-the-record quotes from current and former administration officials on how they managed the president and his moody, self-destructive impulses.

In light of Woodward's reporting, this op-ed describes a presidential administration that is not only dysfunctional, but actively attempting to restrain its chief executive and obstruct his decisions - because of the well-founded belief that if Trump was ever given more latitude, he would do tremendous and lasting damage to the country. I hate to admit it, but there it is: the deep state exists. It's not quite the deep state that Sean Hannity and Alex Jones feverishly speculate about - for one, all the members of this current deep state were hired by Trump, and they're all Republicans - but it's there. Most of Trump's cabinet and staff, it seems, are engaged in a constant game of palace intrigue - juggling backbiters, sycophants, and an incompetent man-child emperor all in defence of the country.

And that's disappointing, to me. It's disappointing that this op-ed was anonymous. These guys need to go on the record about this. They need to testify about this. If they sincerely believe that the sitting President is incapable of fulfilling the demands of his office, then they need to redirect their efforts towards removing him from office. And they need to do it through legal means - through impeachment, or the 25th Amendment. This current situation, where a strata of unelected bureaucrats take it upon themselves to subvert the actions of the executive on the basis that the executive is incompetent while publicly insisting that they have full confidence in that executive, is unsustainable. They're not protecting the country; they're covering their ass. They're thinking, "Oh, we can't invoke the 25th amendment. That'd start a constitutional crisis." This is a constitutional crisis! You've got the Secretary of Defence getting an insane order from his commander-in-chief and then just ignoring it! You've got economic advisers and staffers hiding papers to stop the president from signing them! That's not how government is supposed to work!

All of this is necessary, naturally, due to the cowardice of Republicans in Congress. The past two years has seen an unprecedented abdication of Congress' natural oversight role on the presidency. Because Congress won't do its job, the bureaucrats feel compelled to pick up the slack. That's a collapse of the whole democratic process - Congress has willingly sidelined itself, rationalising that the unelected administration officials can be trusted to keep the President in check, and in the process cutting the voters out of the oversight process completely. If that isn't a good enough reason to give the Democrats a majority in Congress next November, I don't know what is.

Nothing Yes Minister didn't already teach us.

bastardofmelbourne:
You've got the Secretary of Defence getting an insane order from his commander-in-chief and then just ignoring it!

You'd think a competent president would notice that none of his orders to attack foreign nations were being carried out. Do they just show him a DVD of Blackhawk Down and pretend it's the news?

If that's anything other than certain republicans trying to lay a bit of groundwork for clawing back approval and any semblance of reputation after it all inevitably falls to shit under the immense weight of incompetence and corruption, I'll eat my kids. They're entirely responsible for enabling, encouraging and excusing this mess while they implemented vast damaging tax cuts and other selfish or inhumane political changes. It was all about the victory and now they're trying to distance and dispose of their incriminating useful idiot before they get dragged down with him.

Or maybe it is out the goodness of their heart. Either way, children will not survive.

Xsjadoblayde:
Either way, children will not survive.

image

Aliens, if you're out there, this experiment has gone on long enough, it's time to pull the plug. I'll settle for a benevolent alien overlord or even just classic obliteration at this point.

What exactly is Trump's problem, anyway? ADD? Plain old Dementia? He does actually remind me a bit of my old grandpa, who's around the same age. He can carry a conversation just fine but ask him to remember things for more than a few hours or understand slightly more complex issues and he starts to have some trouble. And still he's a much more responsible person than Trump.

PsychedelicDiamond:
What exactly is Trump's problem, anyway? ADD? Plain old Dementia? He does actually remind me a bit of my old grandpa, who's around the same age. He can carry a conversation just fine but ask him to remember things for more than a few hours or understand slightly more complex issues and he starts to have some trouble. And still he's a much more responsible person than Trump.

It's called Obama Derangement System. He's more set on destroying anything Obama rather than actually building anything.

Dr. Thrax:

Aliens, if you're out there, this experiment has gone on long enough, it's time to pull the plug. I'll settle for a benevolent alien overlord or even just classic obliteration at this point.

I like living, though. Like, I get up in the morning ... open the blinds, I don't hiss or anything. It feels great.

Dr. Thrax:

Xsjadoblayde:
Either way, children will not survive.

image

Aliens, if you're out there, this experiment has gone on long enough, it's time to pull the plug. I'll settle for a benevolent alien overlord or even just classic obliteration at this point.

Can I ask, what was the issue at play in that episode where the women responds with Somebody thinking of the Children?

Samtemdo8:

Can I ask, what was the issue at play in that episode where the women responds with Somebody thinking of the Children?

Constant bear attacks...even though the actual bear 'attack' (a bear wandering around) was the first one Springfield ever experienced.

One could argue that they're doing their job. That they're protecting the country from a crazy person in charge. Who knows what kind of damage he'd have made by now without those people. And one could also argue that they're not doing their job because they should be demanding his impeachment. 25th amendment is there for a reason.

The civil service manipulating the boss is nothing new but the boss failing to notice his radical changes don't seem to need signatures and aren't making the news? For anybody else, I'd dismiss this is laughably bad propaganda. For Trump, even Secretaries of State appointed by him openly contradict him.

I've seen it argued that Trump is deliberately trying to look stupid (or stupider) so people underestimate him. Dunno about that.

I read one of Woodward's previous books 'Plan of Attack' about the Bush adm. during the Iraq invasion. People are short of memory when they think Trump is the worst president the U.S. ever had. Sure, Trump might be a doofus but none of his senior advisers or cabinet members takes him very seriously(though Trump is on the mark about Jeff Sessions). If you compare that to Bush jr and his insidious neocon cronies: illegitimate invasion and occupation of Iraq based on false evidence, 'extraordinary rendition' programs and sanctioned torture, planned and meticulously organized campaign of media deception to win the 'hearts and minds' of people to support the Iraq invasion(which succeeded), complete abuse of the separation of powers leading to both corosion of judicial oversight and institutional breakdown.

Really, the Bush administration completely wrecked the U.S. democracy and their disastrous policies haunt the world to this day: from the syrian civil war and refugee crisis to the black hole they left behind in Iraq that gave rise to nightmares like the islamic state and whatever comes next. And then I don't even mention the completely pointless loss of life and astronomical financial costs that turned the U.S. into a third world for the poor. The 8 years of Obama were mostly damage control.

No matter how dumb Trump and his inane twitter rants might be atleast he doesn't seem to be on this delusional messianic crusade. Impeachment presupposes that whoever comes next will somehow be vastly superior, but in this volatile climate I somehow doubt that. Sure, they might be better able to put up a front but that don't make their intentions better. Trump might be a manchild, but what you see is what you get.

To get back on Jeff Sessions, imagine that guy becoming president. That dumb short-sighted southerner with his 15th century ideas would downright turn the U.S. into a theocracy.

Thaluikhain:
I've seen it argued that Trump is deliberately trying to look stupid (or stupider) so people underestimate him. Dunno about that.

At this point, we can dismiss the three-dimensional chess player idea. You can't implement clever, radical plans with a high turnover of your inner circle. Family members who are minor businessmen don't count as clever political thinkers and executives. What we have is high ranking businessmen sucking up to Trump for high level appointments so they can implement their own agenda.

bastardofmelbourne:
SNIP

1. This is not an example of the so-called "Deep State." This is a member of Trump's own administration, a senior official hand-picked by either Trump himself or his closest advisers. The deep state is generally thought of as a collective of un-elected or un-appointed government officials in predominantly but not limited to the military, defense and intelligence communities.

2. This editorial is bullshit for a number of reasons. NOTE: this is not to say that the author isn't real or that he or she made this up. I believe it really is a senior official, and their concerns about Trump are probably real. But it's still bullshit because this person is just engaging in spin on behalf of the GOP, hoping that the editorial can somehow put some distance between Trump and the rest of the Republican Party so that when Trump is gone, the party (and ex-administration officials) can move on untarnished without any sort of consequences. "We tried to reign him in!" they'll cry. "If we weren't there, we're not sure what he would have done!"

No. FUCK THAT. You knew what he was before this all started. You knew the risks. You heard the concerns and the rumors about him, his debt, his instability, and the the people around him (Bannon, Miller, Gorka, etc.). Voters may not have known (this is why I don't blame anyone for casting a vote for Trump on its face). BUT YOU KNEW. You worked in government. You heard the rumblings. You knew what was going on. You knew the tremendous risk that came with putting a man like this in the Oval Office, the dangers that may have come with him being president.

And you didn't care. Or at least, you were willing to take that enormous risk to steal a Supreme Court seat and pass a tax bill and deregulate everything you could get your hands on.

So I don't want to hear from anonymous administration officials about how concerned they are. I don't want to hear about what they didn't know or didn't intend to happen. You made your shitty bed when you decided to lie down with Trump. Own it. And fuck you and the rest of the GOP for putting us in this position.

3. Here's a fun exercise: run back all of the GOP folks who warned about how bad or dangerous Trump was going to be, how he was a threat to not only the party but the nation as well, and then see how many of them, from Rick Perry to Mitt Romney, went to work for the guy or at least met with him to discuss cabinet positions *AFTER* the election.

Now run that in reverse. If those people -- and the author -- were willing to look past those concerns and fears in the pursuit of power, then why should anyone trust this anonymous official's breathless consternations now?

Thaluikhain:
I've seen it argued that Trump is deliberately trying to look stupid (or stupider) so people underestimate him. Dunno about that.

Nah. It's about 25 % ignorance, 25 % mental illness and 50 % just not giving a fuck about doing his job correctly.

They created this monster, now they want us to be sympathetic when they try to contain it. This dude let Trump disparage the press to the point that this op ed isn't gonna mean fucking anything to those that need to hear it the most because hey, fake news amirite?

Real talk, is this surprising to any of us? At all? I think most of us could have told you a Trump presidency was gonna be a drunk frat boy stumbling his way through an antiques shop well before his name was even on the fucking ballot. Not to mention all the supposed good Trump is doing that they are bragging about which boils down to fuck the environment/poor/brown people overseas. Good times.

Seriously, fuck this person. I hope Trump gives them all the ulcers and destroys the GOP for good. I doubt the latter will happen though, seeing as how all these neo-liberal nitwits have such short memories that they are creaming their pants over GW giving Michelle Obama a piece of Goddamn candy.

PsychedelicDiamond:

Thaluikhain:
I've seen it argued that Trump is deliberately trying to look stupid (or stupider) so people underestimate him. Dunno about that.

Nah. It's about 25 % ignorance, 25 % mental illness and 50 % just not giving a fuck about doing his job correctly.

I'm a bit conflicted about this. On one hand, yes, that seems quite reasonable, on the other, he's gotten to be PotUS. Not everyone can manage that, even those born with the advantages he has. He's presumably doing something right.

Honestly this feel like it would just work into the hand of people who like Trump "Look, the reason why Trump isn't an awesome President is because peoples are stopping him from doing what he wants!"

Plus the op ep makes it clear that there happy with most of the stuff happening, like the stupid tax cut and cutting the environmental agency. So they're clearly republican who just want to to make it seems like they're the good guy in case Trump fall. I'm not even sure if they mention Mueller investigation.

https://www.thebeaverton.com/2018/09/opinion-i-am-part-of-the-resistance-inside-the-galactic-empire/

Although he was elected as an Imperial, the Emperor shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by us space conservatives: free minds, free markets and free vaguely humanoid creatures. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright with the lightning from his hands that I mentioned earlier.

Don't get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of this autocratic galactic Empire fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, the complete annihilation of the planet Alderaan, and more.

Exley97:

bastardofmelbourne:
SNIP

1. This is not an example of the so-called "Deep State."

Indeed.

The 'Deep state' as it were has existed all along. Deep state just means various high-level people disagree with what the president is doing, and ignore his orders. That happens all the time, we just don't hear about it.

Remember during the Cuban missile crisis when Kennedy told Khrushchev that they were worried the generals at the Pentagon would just order a nuclear attack without direct instructions? That's the deep state. That's people acting without the direct orders of the President, and it happens all the time.

Silentpony:
The 'Deep state' as it were has existed all along. Deep state just means various high-level people disagree with what the president is doing, and ignore his orders. That happens all the time, we just don't hear about it.

Remember during the Cuban missile crisis when Kennedy told Khrushchev that they were worried the generals at the Pentagon would just order a nuclear attack without direct instructions? That's the deep state. That's people acting without the direct orders of the President, and it happens all the time.

Sometimes I wonder why there hasn't been any internal political conflicts and power struggles in the United States Government after the Civil War.

Rome had Civil Wars every decade, and constant internal conflicts.

stroopwafel:
Sure, Trump might be a doofus but none of his senior advisers or cabinet members takes him very seriously(though Trump is on the mark about Jeff Sessions). If you compare that to Bush jr and his insidious neocon cronies: illegitimate invasion and occupation of Iraq based on false evidence, 'extraordinary rendition' programs and sanctioned torture, planned and meticulously organized campaign of media deception to win the 'hearts and minds' of people to support the Iraq invasion(which succeeded), complete abuse of the separation of powers leading to both corosion of judicial oversight and institutional breakdown.

Said it before, and I'll say it again. Give me an incompetent buffoon in charge over an inspirational leader any day. Although Bush was arguably both.

Also, bureaucracy is there to hinder people from making changes. It gives them a chance to think about stuff.

Geez, this whole thing would totally play into Trump's claim of his own victimization, and of his two moves he has, 'Fake News' and 'They're out to get me' he used 'Fake News' instead!

He cant even get it right the few times he actually is right!

What a buffoon.

Samtemdo8:

Silentpony:
The 'Deep state' as it were has existed all along. Deep state just means various high-level people disagree with what the president is doing, and ignore his orders. That happens all the time, we just don't hear about it.

Remember during the Cuban missile crisis when Kennedy told Khrushchev that they were worried the generals at the Pentagon would just order a nuclear attack without direct instructions? That's the deep state. That's people acting without the direct orders of the President, and it happens all the time.

Sometimes I wonder why there hasn't been any internal political conflicts and power struggles in the United States Government after the Civil War.

Rome had Civil Wars every decade, and constant internal conflicts.

Such struggles don't have to play out on literal battlefields.

Exley97:

bastardofmelbourne:
SNIP

1. This is not an example of the so-called "Deep State." This is a member of Trump's own administration, a senior official hand-picked by either Trump himself or his closest advisers. The deep state is generally thought of as a collective of un-elected or un-appointed government officials in predominantly but not limited to the military, defense and intelligence communities.

Setting aside the fairly amorphous definition of what constitutes a deep state, it's often can include non-security sectors as well who just have substantial influence in the operations of government, and, at least in my understanding, usually refers to middle-management being willing to gum up the works to essentially stymie the execution of policies from top-level management, which can range from making the necessary actions low priority, insisting on sticking to hyper-technical requirements, using discretionary authority to counteract the policy changes, "losing" essential memorandum or messages, or, in some cases, just not following orders.

You can see elements of this in many US states and cities, particularly with law enforcement, whereby the cultural strength or bureaucratic opacity of certain agencies and sectors effectively gives them the ability to shape policy that affects them.

Ironically, outside of CBP, ICE, and certain divisions of the FBI (mainly the Southern Division of New York), there's very little in terms of a "deep state" within the US federal government.

I've often seen the Trump situation described in the OP referred to as "the Shallow State," as it's the individuals directly below him within the White House and Cabinet that are undermining his reckless actions.

I do sympathize with the writer of the Op-Ed (the NYTimes almost certainly verified the person's identity and position within the administration, so I'm inclined to think it is genuine, although sincerity is another matter altogether). For them and others within the administration who want key GOP and Trump policy goals achieved, having a boss that is patently unfit and unable to comprehend how to achieve said policy goals puts them in a bind, especially if they're worried about what he would do if not restrained. Removal from office, unless imminent by cabinet action or impeachment trial by Congress, takes time, and blowing the whistle on the record likely just means one less person intervening between the president and those willing to carry out his orders, giving them the impression (warranted or not) that the risk of going on the record, particularly with a congress that refuses to adequately oversee the executive branch, is unlikely to pay off with serious intervention at this point.

Seanchaidh:

Samtemdo8:

Silentpony:
The 'Deep state' as it were has existed all along. Deep state just means various high-level people disagree with what the president is doing, and ignore his orders. That happens all the time, we just don't hear about it.

Remember during the Cuban missile crisis when Kennedy told Khrushchev that they were worried the generals at the Pentagon would just order a nuclear attack without direct instructions? That's the deep state. That's people acting without the direct orders of the President, and it happens all the time.

Sometimes I wonder why there hasn't been any internal political conflicts and power struggles in the United States Government after the Civil War.

Rome had Civil Wars every decade, and constant internal conflicts.

Such struggles don't have to play out on literal battlefields.

Indeed, but still how United is the United States really. I mean looking at it every state is practically its own country and culture.

Samtemdo8:

Seanchaidh:

Samtemdo8:

Sometimes I wonder why there hasn't been any internal political conflicts and power struggles in the United States Government after the Civil War.

Rome had Civil Wars every decade, and constant internal conflicts.

Such struggles don't have to play out on literal battlefields.

Indeed, but still how United is the United States really. I mean looking at it every state is practically its own country and culture.

To be fair we're united in that we're all very lazy. Yeah, Alabama would love to send their National Guard into LA and clear out all the fags and liberals, but that's a lot of work and its almost lunch time...
Likewise California would love to break the market until they get what they want, but that takes time, and there's that cocktail party tonight.
Hell us Missourians would love to go up to Chicago and set them straight that its fucking St. Louis Bread Co, not Panera Bread! But its a really long drive and the bread bowls have gone downhill of late.

Silentpony:

Samtemdo8:

Seanchaidh:

Such struggles don't have to play out on literal battlefields.

Indeed, but still how United is the United States really. I mean looking at it every state is practically its own country and culture.

To be fair we're united in that we're all very lazy. Yeah, Alabama would love to send their National Guard into LA and clear out all the fags and liberals, but that's a lot of work and its almost lunch time...
Likewise California would love to break the market until they get what they want, but that takes time, and there's that cocktail party tonight.
Hell us Missourians would love to go up to Chicago and set them straight that its fucking St. Louis Bread Co, not Panera Bread! But its a really long drive and the bread bowls have gone downhill of late.

You're from Missouri? I used to live in Missouri as a kid in an Army neigbourhood. (My mother was in the Army in the 90s, she never saw combat though and was more of a supporting person I.E. an Army dentist) I once participated in schools meant for children of army vets I think.

I find it hard to accept the claims of being a responsible adult when they're still letting Trump do what he wants in the hope of maybe getting some conservative policies passed, rather than just get rid of him outright.

"Well sure I kept letting him scrawl excrement over the walls but I made sure he was wearing mittens when he did it!"

So... what the fuck was this egotistical dipshit thinking?

Did mummy and daddy not love him enough, that he has some need for public appreciation? "Hey, I've been saving everyone for nearly two years, and I'm not getting anything like enough congratulations for it. PAY ATTENTION TO ME!"

Did he not perhaps notice that much of what swept Trump to power is the suspicion that the public vote doesn't count, and special interests have the entire game rigged and mop up at every time? What was that stuff Trump was saying, currying support with warnings about the establishment trying to stop him representing the American people? And what, he thought it would be a bang-up idea to validate Trump and reinforce the notion that the public will gets thwarted by political insiders in the corridors of power? Doesn't openly letting Trump know this make it easier for him to dismantle the network? Wouldn't it just be easier to let Trump fail, as a warning to the public what happens when they vote in a grotesque, ignorant narcissit?

So... great work, fucktard.

Eh, it's just a bunch of self righteous garbage. Hell, the writer even openly states that they're completely okay with what the administration has "accomplished". This is just another case of them complaining that they can't control the monster and how much damage that it's doing to their image. Oh woe is fucking you, you self aggrandizing jackass. They paint themselves as being these silent heroes protecting the United States from the evil Trump, that they will not allow him to do anything bad...as they then allow him to do awful things anyway. They still allow him to be at the wheel. They still allow it because although it's not ideal, he's still a useful tool for pushing their agenda.

Sure, maybe he gets particularly mad one day and asks if they could take down McDonalds because his bun-less, meat patty was cold. But these silent heroes will bravely tell him "yes", before telling each other "no". What amazing patriots and martyrs these people are! And all for the sake of their noble goal: to push Trump's agenda anyway because it's one they share.

This is kinda like saying "I really like this mad dog that i bought, and i let him run free and bite people, i just wish he'd stop shitting on my carpet, though."

And now Trump is calling that guy a traitor and demanding his info to the NYT. I'm not saying Donald Trump is a despot; but his words make it really difficult to not describe him like one...

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