Draining the swamp
The swamp is not a new phenomenon—it is just a new name for a reality that started in the Roosevelt administration. When government began growing at a rapid rate political appointees hired civil servants who shared their vision of what a new policy to be implemented would bring. This large number of oriented civil service grew over time.
Throughout the years as political leaders changed they tried to change the civil service as new positions were created and older bureaucrats retired. I can remember during the Nixon administration a long debate about how to neutralize Kennedy/Johnson liberal bureaucrats. During the Reagan administration a bureaucrat who opposed his arms control policy was given a closet sized office with no phone or computer. He hung on until Clinton became president and sought to get even with policy prescriptions during the Clinton years.
This hangover of bureaucrats thus is not a new thing. What is new is how emboldened some of these bureaucrats have become. NSC staffers personally talking with Presidents of foreign countries and advising them how to “deal” with President Trump. Such bureaucrats are coming out of the woodwork in their attempt to impeach President Trump. These hangovers from the Obama years are risking much—pensions and promotions. This suggests that someone outside of government is offering them a safety net—employment, etc. Some have gone to CNN and MSNBC, but others are not in poverty as the swamp supporters step up to their aid.
Conversely, one hears little of such behavior in the United Kingdom. The UK is known for its politically neutral civil servants who serve their political masters devotedly. The critical difference is one of political culture. Do US political appointees demand more from civil service appointees than they should? Does advancement depend upon political orientation?
I have not performed a statistical analysis but given the “drain the swamp” orientation of President Trump one can believe that the administration is finally getting around to “liberal” bureaucrats. Their cries for support have not been heard by the liberal press as it focuses on impeachment.
Some months ago I argued that behind the smoke screen of Trump’s tweets and other statements the transformation of government was occurring. This related to policy but probably also should be applied to the realignment of civil servants.
The Intelligence Community seems to be a special case. In observing the activities of members of this group of self-declared elites I am reminded of the Pakistani Intelligence Service (IIS). The IIS is the power behind the throne and the country. It has its tentacles throughout Pakistan and has changed the political leadership several times. Is this the power that the US intelligence community seeks?
What do you think?