Unlike a George Bush (either of them), Donald Trump arrived in Washington, D.C. with no connections to the DC policy establishment. In fact, he arrived after a bruising primary and general election that left him alienated from the GOP establishment. The GOP establishment might not have called his supporters “a basket of deplorables” but they nodded their heads and chuckled when they heard it. The same establishment had gotten rich and fat off illegal immigrant labor and outsourcing American jobs to wherever. They were used to keeping the GOP base in line with promises and crumbs (George W. Bush had GOP majorities for 6 of his 8 years, how much did they accomplish in regards to slowing illegal immigration or reducing abortion?) while delivering zero. When Trump arrived in Washington he was reliant upon the very same people who had opposed his election to staff his administration.
Some hard-core NeverTrumpers were hired in an attempt to placate factions in the GOP. Some cabinet secretaries, like, for instance, James Mattis and Rex Tillerson, pressed to retain Obama appointees or bring in registered Democrats with whom they had worked into senior policy positions. The head of the White House personnel office overseeing the hiring of political appointees went to an “end of the world party” when Trump dispatched Ted Cruz in Indiana. A guerrilla war was fought against the Administration by using the security clearance process to force out many of Trump’s most loyal followers.
Streiff then links to this piece, which fleshes things out a bit further.
In past administrations, a candidate’s allegiance to the president was vetted and considered a plus, if not a must. So why is the Trump White House filling any of these spots with people who have been openly (or privately) hostile to the president?
Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor summed up the absurdity of the situation on Fox News. “I think President Trump lost control of the whole appointment process in staffing the government shortly after the election,” he said. “He ended up appointing large numbers of people who subsequently brought in their friends, almost all of whom were opposed to Donald Trump and his agenda.”
Indeed, the appointment of never-Trumpers was aggressively championed and insisted upon by some senior Cabinet members. Some candidates were directly approved by the president himself, while others were proposed by White House political staffers as compromise picks with Cabinet secretaries. Many others slipped in because, despite their anti-Trump sentiments, they had not revealed — or were not asked about — their views in public. Some of the appointments appear to have been downright disastrous. Although many never-Trumpers hired early in the president’s term have departed, others have been elevated or reshuffled as new never-Trumpers continue to enter the administration’s ranks.
The permanent-bureaucracy insiders, in serving their own interests and safeguarding their sinecures, are keeping their eyes on the long term. Back to Strieff.
This, by the way, is not unique to Trump. Historically, party outsiders have failed or been co-opted by the system because, just like Trump, they arrive with a popular mandate but because they are outsiders, and threatening outsiders at that, the formal and informal levers of power are often out of their reach because they can’t put enough of their supporters in mid-level policy positions. When results don’t materialize, the reformer is turfed out by the voters and we all go back to the way it was.
Which, of course, is the desired outcome, the whole point. It’s the grimmest of ironies, and the neatest of tricks: the system has been so thoroughly rigged to serve the interests of its career players by thwarting any true outsider elected to clean out the rot—to “drain the swamp”—that it actually functions as a self-perpetuation mechanism, ensuring said outsider will be removed when he inevitably fails to get the job done.
Put another way, the Deep State ouroborus produces antibodies to counteract and flush away potential threats to its own continued existence and supremacy. Kinda daunting to think of FederalGovCo being so awesomely resilient, virtually immune to all but cosmetic, trifling reform or restriction. More daunting still, though, is the question of whether this systemic self-defense mechanism came into existence organically, just as a natural consequence of the gummint having metastasized far beyond its intended limits, or whether its establishment was the intentional, coordinated result of insider engineers who knew just what they were building, why they were building it, and how to build it right.
The latter scenario isn’t merely daunting but downright scary, in truth—because successfully animating such a monster would have required true genius on Dr Frankenstein’s part. A people who value Constitutionally-ordered liberty will need him to be something a good bit less than that if he’s ever to be defeated, his abominable creation laid to rest.