One month into what many of us hope will be a government shutdown rivaling the longest winters of Westeros, the political party representing bureau
One month into what many of us hope will be a government shutdown rivaling the longest winters of Westeros, the political party representing bureaucrats and their Deep State protectors must be getting nervous.
Apart from the mendacious media and a few inconvenienced lawyers and travelers, the furlough of a too small sliver of the federal behemoth has hardly impacted anyone’s life.
During past government shutdowns, the Executive Branch shuttered things that regular folks noticed, like parks and monuments. What became known as “Washington Monument Syndrome” ensured that the most visible federal gems were boarded up to inflict the most pain possible on our citizenry.
The Syndrome was a tactic used from time immemorial by feckless bureaucrats to help Democrats shift blame to Republicans for any government shutdown. It was gold for them. Until Donald Trump.
This president doesn’t bend the knee to these mandarins. In fact, he loves putting that knee into their midsection.
Other Republican leaders would have folded by now. Not Trump.
Other Republican presidents would have cancelled a White House visit by the NCAA champion football team, because the cooks are furloughed. Not Trump. He solves problems and spends no time wailing. Solution: off to McDonald’s to fetch burgers and fries!
Probably no one was more appalled at this culinary shift than Michelle Obama, past Grand Inquisitor of White House nutrition. No one was more delighted than the Clemson players, liberated from quiche and kale canapes.
What a brilliant reminder to all of us: we don’t miss these lazy, obstructionist, entrenched, entitled and protected government workers.
But there’s actually a more urgent and vital lesson in the shutdown, one the President can use to fix the greatest flaw in his otherwise stellar tenure.
When new presidents finish their inaugural parades, they move into the White House. Their predecessor’s possessions are quietly removed during the swearing-in ceremony, and the White House is rapidly turned into the abode of the new first family.
In almost every previous handover, along with the furniture, out went the politicos of the previous regime. Sure, there were always some restive ideologues who try to burrow-in, either because they wanted employment security or because they intended to obstruct the next administration – but in the past, they were few and far between.
This transition is one of the things that makes our system the envy of the world. When the American people have chosen a path through the election, the winner gets a chance to implement that path. Most of the time, that is.
When Donald Trump commenced his term, he did not face a few rebels. He faced – and continues to face – a vast army of opponents deeply embedded within his Administration. Hobbled internally by pusillanimous or incompetent staff, and forced to contend with a weaponized bureaucracy enlisted in the so-called resistance to his presidency, the President often finds far more enemies in his huddle than across the scrimmage line.
The extent of this perfidy was laid out by his stalwart campaign advisors Corey Lewandowski and David Bosse in Trump’s Enemies, and nothing has done more to impede this President from renewing our nation than these internal foes – not even the rebarbative and everlasting probe by the Special Counsel Mueller.
Desk after desk at every agency and department of the Trump Administration is manned by people who want nothing more than his removal from office. For the first time in history, otherwise lazy dullard bureaucrats are busy at work – undermining their boss.
This bizarre situation continues because of a combination of Republican process paralysis and civil servant infidelity. Armed with a myriad of excuses, the Republicans in charge of stocking the administration with loyal Trump supporters have failed this president. And the resistance burros who are burrowed into their government sinecures are quite happy to receive a paycheck to undermine the man they wish to evict from the White House.
But the government shutdown and the national collective yawn it evokes have exposed a vulnerability that the President can use to free us all from the infestation keeping him from fulfilling his potential. The lesson is this: an empty desk is better than a desk filled with the enemy.
Many of the President’s true supporters have been pleading since the beginning that a wholesale removal of political opponents in the administration, leaving their desks empty and their portfolios unattended, is far better than keeping these folks in position to undermine him.
The shutdown shows us that the absence of a slew of state functionaries hasn’t impacted much in Washington – other than making rush hour traffic more bearable.
Let’s hope President Trump applies this lesson by furloughing those undermining the election that placed him in the White House. Of course, there are government employees who do important jobs with diligence and haven’t joined the so-called anti-Trump resistance. Let’s keep them.
But the rest of them? Either allow them to quit, fire them or open branch offices for every department in the Aleutian Islands and ship them all there.
Time for a real furlough. The kind that never ends.