Of all the inside-enemies Donald Trump has, the bureaucracy is the one he knows best, for he has been butting heads with it for well over forty years.
Therefore, he’s saved me a thousand words in telling you what he can do or should do, because, for the most part, he’s already doing it.
He’s getting rid of all the appointed ranks, and will be reviewing much of the “excepted services”, a term you may be aware of, but in which the Civil Service competitive rules do not apply. A list of them can be found here.
And yes, almost all of the intelligence agencies, and State Department, are excepted service, meaning they can all be hired by separate rules and many are hired based on “recommendations” from White House and other high officials. So, President Trump and his agency heads should already have a list of who the appointed bureaucrats are. He can order them removed at will, as they cannot find recourse in the Civil Service Commission rules.
But we already know the damage that even temporary hold-overs can cause, such as Sally Yates, an Obama appointee in the DOJ, who was acting-Attorney General for just a few days, because Senate Dems drug out the appointment of Jeff Sessions to Attorney General.
President Trump also knew to dig a couple of levels deeper into the civil service ranks at various agencies, deeper than George W Bush, bless his little turn-the-other-cheek heart, ever considered. The damage Clinton holdovers have done, over 20 years worth of damage, have been incalculable, and I hope Trump’s new appointees have a list of those holdovers based on date-of-service and are implementing plans to mitigating their damage in the future, since most cannot be fired.
What Trump understands that most Republicans in the political class never realized is that if Christ sits on the right hand of God, the Bureaucracy sits on the right hand of Satan. Even in the private sector. (Many Fortune 500 companies have died at its hand over the years, only, after it’s merged and reorganized, or sold, or filed Chapter 11, the death certificate only reads: COD: UNKNOWN.) This is why the Democratic Left can use the bureaucracy in ways no good-natured aw-shucks Republicans can imagine, or is willing to see, even if it’s shown to them face-to-face. It’s one (of a few) things they know every well.
Now, in the early 70s I had some experience in representing military commanders in trying to get rid of senior (GS-13/14) level civilian managers, one for insubordination (refusal to obey a direct order). With only two years to retirement, he arrogantly taunted the CG and used his union to drag out his case for months through administrative hearings. Just a 30-year old captain, I really didn’t like this guy, and was less than blunt. I wanted to squish him like a bug, but the CO chose to save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars, by simply stripping him of his desk/office and access to files, and let him play golf those last twenty months. I suggested the CG change his job description and give him a bucket and broom-handle with a nail in the end and have him going around picking up trash, which I argued the CG could do. A nice sight, a $57,000/yr (1976 rates) professional picking up trash could have had a deterrent effect on other civilian employees. But of course the CG was wiser than me. After all, I wasn’t much younger than the #NeverTrump cabalists, and we all know how they turned out.
Since there was a major overhaul of the Civil Service in 1978, I can’t say what specific arrows the president or agency head has in their quiver today. But again, I know that President Trump is looking for any and all. I do know that firing career bureaucrats without cause will not be one of those arrows, and attempting to fire them, with cause, will be expensive.
The principal mission for government at every level will be to move them to there they can do more harm.
Besides, I don’t like snitches. It’s a morale killer for the good people holding down the fort. As I have said many times in the past, ferreting these people out has to be carried out like a covert operation. We must accept the fact that attempts at “wrecking” (Stalin’s term for it) will be on-going, not only to dimish the agency in the eyes of the country, via the media, but to thwart its new missions as established by the President, which is to dismantle virtually everything these embeds have worked for the past quarter century to make happen. Many of these agencies are in the second (bureaucratic) generation held hostage by the Left, so are well entrenched. Some deep-staters will be ideological in their resistance, but some will also just be mean, for at their very soul, the Left is filled with hate for everyone “not like them”.
So there is a cultural element to this war, one alternately defined as between A- and C- students in the scholastic sense, but as this election proved, also in the American-life sense, between faux-A-students and real-A-students, people who know what life’s all about in a free society. (A favorite subject of mine.)
The President’s biggest weapon, of course, is in his individual power, backed by his unique experience and insights in the real world, which put him in the job in the first place. In conjunction with Congress, he can reduce the mission of the federal bureaucracy simply by getting rid of regulations. In this way, he can reduce the federal workforce by the simple means of a “reduction in force” (RIF) which means when the mission no longer exists, neither do the job slots. That will not entirely solve the problem since bureaucrats with time-in-service seniority, regardless of grade, will have re-assignment rights to some extent. Still, it’s a very good start.
How much of the “deep state” bureaucrats are only protecting their jobs, which all bureaucrats since the beginning of time have fought to preserve, and how much is ideological, will depend on the individual missions of the agency. How they will proceed will be via
Leaks, most noticeably in intelligence agencies, where information is their most important product, but more widespread, This is mostly ideological)…
More widespread will be wrecking, which can be as limitless as modern technologies will allow. In my day, an entire corporate HQ could be brought down for a day simply by the secretarial pool spiking the copying machines with well-placed paperclips. Really. They can’t do that anymore, but it happened more than you know in the 70s-80s.
But using spiked paper-clips as a metaphor, you can imagine the hundreds of ways a managerial bureaucracy at one level, and an accessory clerical bureaucracy at the next level, can spread misinformation, withhold or misdirect information, if guided by a Leftist invisible hand, leaving senior bosses either not knowing what’s going on, or worse, thinking things are going on that aren’t, or vice versa
This is why covertness is so important in fleshing the deep state out.
As a reward, in states like Virginia and Maryland, reducing the mission (and size) of federal government could reshape the electoral map, in Virginia especially, to a healthier shade of red. Fairfax is a known hot-bed of illegal voting, so watch for the fur to fly with a new Republican governor elected later this year. Hans von Spassky, call your office, that state election commission slot may come open again under more comfortable circumstances.
But as a rule of thumb, the loss of many jobs at the federal level represent the loss of an equivalent number of lost jobs (interfaces) at the state level, X 50.
Many also believe there should be criminal indictments in some sectors of the VA, IRS, including asking the courts to demand employees and retired-employees return large bonuses they received while they cooked the books denying citizens tax-exemptions or proper medical care.
So, about Bureaucracies
When George W Bush was president I believed I had skills that could have helped him interdict bureaucratic black ops from Clinton left-overs, but with Donald Trump, I believe he’s seen it all and needs no such help.
Most Americans are anxious to see EPA, IRS, and other large bureaucracies brought to heel, and with their disenfranchisement, also see their regulatory rules go out the window. Ronald Reagan said, when he left office, his regret is that he didn’t take on the federal bureaucracy.
I have total confidence that Donald Trump instinctively knows the problem with the federal bureaucracy, as only a private sector citizen-businessman would, and knows what to do.
Pray that I am right. Also pray for patience.