Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Deep State or Paper Tiger?

The big question facing America is just how hard and how successfully the so-called "Deep State" will push to stop Donald Trump and his agenda.

We have seen it take out Gen. Flynn, President Trump's choice for National Security Advisor. And we have seen curious leaks of conversations between President Trump and foreign leaders. And we have seen the push-back against President Trump's refugee ban.

And presumably the Deep State was involved in the humiliation of gay controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos.

The telling thing to me about these actions is their penny-ante nature, the fact that the "Deep State" is identifying itself not in a sweeping coup against the president but in a minor-league score-settling acts.

I'm not an expert in bureaucratic process, but I would say, from a military strategy standpoint, that the president's opponents don't want to be IDing themselves so early and so unnecessarily. I'd say that the EPA bureaucrats do not want to be signalling their opposition to Trump by calling their congressmen to oppose Scott Pruitt; that just makes it easier for Trump to shut down whole areas of the EPA by executive order.

The Deep State may have the power to obstruct a lot of President Trump's effort to slow immigration and deport illegals. Only problem is that his policy is pretty popular with ordinary Americans and many legal immigrants.

Here's George Will saying that "conservatives will distance themselves from Trump by midsummer." Really?

Anything is possible, but I'd say that the very fact that President Trump is acting like a "strong leader" means that it will be very difficult for conservative waverers to jump ship in the near future. The whole point of strong leadership and military discipline is the get the troops committed to the leader and the cause so that they keep on battling, even when the tide of battle turns against them.

I'd say that the secret of Trump's success thus far is that he has been doing precisely what the Republican base and the basket of deplorables want him to do. He has been sticking it to the liberal ruling class and telling them to put it where the sun don't shine. The themes of his campaign -- America First, halt immigration, stop outsourcing, fix Obamacare -- are cunningly chosen to be popular with ordinary Americans and unpopular with the liberal ruling class.

Think about it:

Do ordinary Americans want low gas prices or do they want to save the planet?

Do ordinary American women want transgender bathrooms or do they want single-sex bathrooms where they feel safe from male predators?

Do ordinary Americans want to compete with illegal immigrants for entry-level jobs or do they want them to be sent home?

Do ordinary Americans want to fight microaggressions and create safe spaces, or do they want to be free of the fear that a careless word at work could cost them their job, courtesy of the harpies in HR?

I'd say that if the economy fails to take off, and we get a recession before 2020 then all bets are off.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that the Deep State is a paper tiger. When it comes to the crunch the folks in the bureaucracy are going to want to hold onto their life-time jobs and their pensions. And if there are a few with more imagination than sense, I would suggest the Bing doctrine for President Trump. A couple of high-profile firings of disobedient bureaucrats should, in Voltaire's words, suffice to encourager les autres.

The point is that many battles in history are decided by the side that gives up last. And in 2016 Republicans and Americans chose a leader who seems to be just the person to be the last to give up.

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