Friday, March 03, 2017

Demolishing the Administative State And Other Bannon Presidency Issues

Remember when Stephen Bannon told us that one goal of the Trump administration is to demolish the administrative state?

Hence the people that Trump (read: Bannon) has nominated.  Their true purpose in most cases is to destroy the departments Republicans loathe.  Betsy deVos to run down public schools and teachers' unions (by doling out cheap lottery tickets, aka vouchers), Scott Pruitt to despoil the Environmental Protection Agency (a quarter of its budget is under threat) and so on.

From that angle this Atlantic article on the State Department is most interesting:

Right now, those I’ve spoken to in the department seem to know very little about what’s going on. The staffer told me that she finds out what’s going on at State from the news—which she spends all day reading because, after years of having her day scheduled down to 15 minute blocks, she has nothing else to do. And even the news itself isn’t coming from official sources. There hasn’t been a State Department press briefing, once a daily ritual, since the new administration took over five weeks ago—though they’re scheduled to resume March 6. These briefings weren’t just for journalists. They also served as a crucial set of cues for U.S. diplomats all over the world about policy priorities, and how to talk about them. With no daily messaging, and almost no guidance from Washington, people in far-flung posts are flying blind even as the pace of their diplomacy hasn’t abated.

Assuming this description is valid, how much of the chaos is due to incompetence and how much of it is a feature, not a bug, of Bannon's plans?

Imagine staffers getting their information from where I get mine:  The news!

Well, at least we don't have to worry about Hillary Clinton's private emails.  That both Pruitt and Pence appear to have used private email accounts for official bidness is not a problem, of course.  They are Republicans and also have no girl cooties.