Donald Trump’s comeback in the polls has the Washington Post rattled. Yesterday, its editorial board basically called, Bernie Sanders like, for a moratorium on discussing Hillary Clinton’s emails so that the focus can be on Donald Trump’s “manifest unfitness for office.”
But Clinton’s willingness to put her personal interests ahead of the national security and her unwillingness to discuss the matter honestly after she was found out are good grounds to question her fitness for office. The issue isn’t going away.
Today, the Post, anticipating a possible Trump victory, ran an article explaining how Washington bureaucrats can overrule the electorate by resisting President Trump. The article, by liberal former Post columnist Melinda Henneberger, is called (in the paper edition) “How the federal government could resist President Trump.”
Resisting a Republican president has never been a problem for Washington bureaucrats. They were doing it when I worked in summer jobs for the government during the Nixon administration. They did it at the EPA during the Reagan administration, as Henneberger recounts. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department did it during the George W. Bush administration, to cite a more recent example.
The Washington Post plays a key role in the resistance. It screams bloody murder when appointees of popularly elected Republican presidents insist on implementing the policies of the nation’s chief executive over the objections of liberal bureaucrats. On the pages of the Post, “political people” are perpetually bullying “dedicated career public servants” during Republican administrations.
If Trump is elected, the dance of the bureaucrats and the Post will resume, but in a much more frenzied form. The liberal bureaucrats I know hate Donald Trump even more than they hated George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan (though probably not more than they hated Nixon). Thus resistance will be fiercer.
Moreover, Trump seems more likely than Bush and Reagan to lash out against severe bureaucratic resistance. It could be quite a spectacle.
Hennenberger, for her part, is clearly on the side of the bureaucrats. She claims that their Washington “exists to serve the liberal, constitutional order.” She gets the liberal part right.
As for the constitutional order, not so much. The executive power resides with the president, not with D.C. bureaucrats. Calling them “nonpartisan civil servants,” as Henneberger does, doesn’t change this.
It’s good for laughs, though. Henneberger’s “nonpartisans” include the folks at the IRS who targeted conservative groups. They include the folks who helped come up with the “executive amnesty” through which the Obama administration usurped congressional power.
They include the folks at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who, ever since I worked there in the 1970s, have acted as advocates for the interests of women and minority groups, often with little regard for what the statutes they are paid to enforce actually provide. The goal has always been to stretch the law for ideological purposes, not to interpret it honestly.
They include my friends and acquaintances who work, or have worked, for the federal government. Most of them are good people, but few can be described as nonpartisan.
If Trump is elected, they will know what to do.