Monday, January 8, 2018

Brian Dickerson: Long live the Deep State

Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press

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[Just] because the president is paranoid doesn't mean the Deep State is a figment of his imagination. It existed long before Trump's improbable ascent, and if it's neither as sinister nor as coordinated as the Hannities and Bannons suggest, it may be our best weapon against the threat our reckless commander-in-chief poses to constitutional government.

There have always been men and women who believed their calling was to keep the machinery of government in good working order, no matter which party's elected leaders had temporary custody. In less cynical times, we called them the civil service, career diplomats, the permanent government or, if we were feeling particularly jealous of their pension and health benefits, the entrenched bureaucracy.

They labor largely in anonymity, even from one another, in fields as diverse as geology, aviation, education and molecular biology. They are the career diplomats whose personal relationships bridge the chasms that open when public diplomacy breaks down, the military leaders who faithfully execute the orders of brilliant statesmen and clueless bunglers alike, and the front-line prosecutors who doggedly pursue criminal investigations while politically appointed overseers come and go.

My own expansive conception of the Deep State would include leakers and whistle-blowers, autonomous agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, and the federal judiciary, an unpopular and undemocratic institution the far-sighted framers took care to insulate from voters and their elected leaders. ...

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