Sunday, September 09, 2018

The swamp speaks

It's interesting to have a first-hand account of how President Trump is being obstructed by the political establishment.

An anonymous "senior official" within the administration has written a piece for the New York Times describing his efforts to undermine the President. He writes:
The dilemma — which he [Trump] does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

These officials are not Democrats. They are right-liberal Republicans who want to keep Trump chained to liberal first principles. Here is the anonymous official explaining his motivations:
The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

...Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

Trump is moral, claims the official, when he focuses on life within the free market, and amoral when he does not. A Republican should only have a view of human purposes that fits within the ideal of homo economicus - if not, the official intends to try to shut them down. There is no room within this view of morality for solidarity with one's conationals, or for a desire to maintain one's own culture and traditions, or even for a pragmatic concern for the future viability of one's own political party.

Erick Erickson is one of these anti-Trump Republicans. He agrees with the anonymous official that there are Republicans within the administration trying to sabotage the President:
...these are not Obama holdovers and long time, left-leaning bureaucrats. This is the Republican establishment that Trump beat and then absorbed...Trump bested them, they tried to come to terms with him, and they couldn't. Some of them are now leaking.

See, the conclusion you should be drawing is not that there is a leftwing deep state out to sabotage the President and uphold Barack Obama, but there is a Republican establishment that views Trump as temporary. They believe they'll be back in charge once he is gone...

But here's the other dirty little secret -- you can't really say that out loud because you need the Republican base to go vote for some of the allies of these very people this November to save this Presidency.

He is arguing that many Republicans in the administration are anti-Trump but need him to energise the Republican base at election time. It's an admission that there is a disconnect between rank and file Republicans and many party officials.


  1. The obsession with "first principles" is revealing. To a classical liberal "first principles" means Enlightenment assumptions and there are no other such principles. But Trump is a pragmatist, and pragmatists have first principles, it's just that theirs are much closer to those of traditionalists--experience over rationalism, anti-universalism, personal rule over rule-by-protocol, etc. And if there's one thing a liberal hates, however classical he may be, it's tradition.

    1. Trump was the first major party nominee in US history to question the worth of NATO. The "permanent political class" has never accepted that. European welfare states could not exist without the US providing their defense. To say nothing of the large sums of money made by defense contracts. Crack up NATO and the liberal system comes down, Putin knows it and so do we. And that is why they hate him so much.