May. 19th, 2017 08:12 am
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

I am impressed by Rod Rosenstein, who is clearly managing to just do his freaking job, as honestly and transparently as possible, while the rest of Washington is collapsing in chaos. He has gone from Unknown to Important in a bit over a week.

And there's an amusing lesson here. While we have a long ways to go before this saga plays out, history may well decide that Trump's biggest mistake was his failure to deal with staffing. Everyone remarks on it -- the way that so few of the important seats in the federal government have been filled yet. It isn't at all clear whether this is due to a knee-jerk Bannon-esque dislike of the bureaucracy, or (more likely) simple incompetence, but the result is that Trump still has relatively few allies in the administration he notionally heads. As many have remarked, he could have fired Comey on Day 1 and only gotten a little grumbling -- this crisis is specifically because Trump waited to fire him only after it become publicly clear that Comey wasn't going to be a loyal yes-man.

That may (God willing) prove a fatal mistake. Because the thing is, if you want to set yourself up as a strongman dictator (and I no longer think it's controversial to say Trump does want that, given his outspoken admiration for people like Putin, Erdogan and Duterte), you need to fill the government with your own placemen. Fascism depends on everyone at the center following your orders. It's not easy to make that happen in the US, but Trump has barely even tried. And hopefully he's already spent so much political capital that it's just going to get harder from here.

We'll see where it goes. But it may well turn out that, in a year where it is hard to respect any of the elected politicians in Washington, it might yet be the civil servants who save the day...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-19 02:07 pm (UTC)
melebeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] melebeth
It's ironic, really, as staffing is the one thing that a business person might be expected to have experience with.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-19 05:32 pm (UTC)
metahacker: A picture of white-socked feet, as of a person with their legs crossed. (Default)
From: [personal profile] metahacker
He's always been terrible at business, though. I think we're seeing more of why.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-19 05:35 pm (UTC)
ilaine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ilaine
And the more toxic his administration gets, the less anybody of good quality will want to be associated with it

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-19 09:22 pm (UTC)
drwex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drwex
I think you've (possibly unintentionally) hit the nail on the head by tagging loyalty. The reason that so few positions are filled is because Trump is having a hard time finding enough people who will be more loyal to him personally than to the job, the department, the government, and the country. He has to some degree substituted people (e.g. Devos) who do not give a shit about him but who have such an overriding agenda that they'll be loyal to whoever gives them big power levers. But the supply of those is (thank the gods) also limited.

I think the next test will be to see who he appoints as FBI chief. There are a handful of good candidates (including Rosenstein, who may get a sop for the level of disgrace Trump has visited on him but I expect him to say no because he wants Sessions' job and there's a good chance Sessions won't last) and there are one or two clearly awful candidates who may get the nod because they're loyalists. I can't wait for this one...

The linked article

Date: 2017-05-20 02:44 pm (UTC)
lauradi7dw: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lauradi7dw
>>Trump says special counsel appointment 'hurts our country'<<

Every time I see something like that, it reinforces the idea that he really believes "l'etat, c'est moi," even if Louis XIV did not. It explains a lot of his behavior.


jducoeur: (Default)

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