“Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp!”
Take a moment and recall the enthralling echoes of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, where the attendees at virtually every public appearance and rally chanted that very same slogan in rhythmic harmony. Those patriotic Americans weren’t calling for installing new drainage systems in low-lying rainy areas; no, they were begging for change in Washington, DC. Trump the first-time candidate promised a thorough swamp cleansing if elected, and the lifelong New York real estate developer and reality TV star turned establishment-basher tried his darndest to make good on the vow. The new president reveled in the thought of shaking up Washington and putting an end to the way things had always been done there. In some ways he succeeded and in others, came up short. The swamp wasn’t drained during Trump’s first go-round. Perhaps it was because the decay was much wider and deeper than anyone anticipated. Or maybe it was due to the population of swamp creatures that resisted reform from day one. At any rate, there’s still much to do if the DC establishment is to be crushed. It won’t happen just by electing and bringing in new politicians. They’re powerless to do much if the bureaucracy isn’t tamed and controlled first. Fortunately, a group of conservatives in Congress is speaking out on the topic and promises to get down and dirty if Republicans take the majority after this year’s midterm elections. Kerry Pickett reported at The Washington Times:
“Rep. Scott Perry, the new chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is pushing Republican leaders to gut federal agencies of what he says are partisan hacks who dominate middle management throughout Washington. Mr. Perry called the housecleaning, including at federal law enforcement agencies, ‘a necessity.’
“’Our beloved and respected, revered, trusted law enforcement agencies — including the FBI, including the Department of Justice and some of our intelligence agencies — are rotting from the top,’ Mr. Perry told The Washington Times. ‘This is the American citizens’ government, not the permanent bureaucracy here in Washington, D.C. Sorry to be disrespectful to them. They’re not running the show.’ … “It is not just federal law enforcement agencies that the Freedom Caucus has in its sights. Mr. Perry also wants a political scrub-down for agencies such as the CDC. ‘You drive around this town [and see] huge buildings with literally thousands and thousands of people in there. I’ll just use the CDC, for instance,’ he said. ‘Fifty-thousand employees, hundreds of billions of dollars, and there’s not one study right now that I know of to look at natural immunity regarding this pandemic. How is that possible? It’s possible because the bureaucracy doesn’t want to look at it.’”
Hear! Hear! One can only hope Mr. Perry is dead serious about this, and that he gets the political reinforcements to make sure the purge happens. As long as Democrats are in power, no reforms are possible, since they’re the representatives of the status quo swamp and special interest lobbying groups that feed off the federal government’s bloat. To effect real change, we must have more conservative Republicans. But will the swamp truly be drained just by making a big stink out of it in Congress? We need more -- much more. We’ve heard a lot lately about how teachers unions are the major roadblocks to not only ditching senseless COVID mask mandates and other absurd “mitigation” measures to combat a disease that’s not really threatening to young people, but also to stall or defeat attempts by parents groups and traditionalist legislators to reform school curriculum and get back to teaching the basics rather than woke “equity” and the LGBTQ agenda. Teachers unions are like super bureaucracies. And they love Democrats. Any entity that cares more about itself and its members than the schools’ greater mission -- to educate the youth of America -- is a danger to everyone in the system and outside it. This concept isn’t that difficult to ingest, and, based on the vastly stepped-up interest in attending school board meetings, is beginning to take hold from coast to coast. It's not only conservatives who are fed up with the domineering teachers unions and the leftist forces who don’t give a hoot about students’ health or the myriad of social problems caused by ordering young children and teens to strap a useless face covering over their noses and mouths. School mandates have become symbolic of the country’s greater struggle to get out from under the jackboot of governmental tyranny disguised as “concern” for our wellbeing. My question for the people finally getting anxious over COVID and schools: Do you really think the bureaucracy in Washington and throughout all of government is really any different -- or better? Imagine the army of pantsuit and shirt and tie wearing bureaucrats (those not continuing to work from home because of the stupid social distancing policies of the federal government) sitting behind their desks, tasked with implementing the laws and policies and regulations passed down to them from Congress and the executive branch? Many a wise political observer has commented “Personnel is policy” and demanded that incoming Republican administrations choose wisely when filling positions that could make a huge impact on citizens’ lives. Using the Trump administration as an example, the outsider president made numerous mistakes in selecting cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries. Unbeknownst to him, Trump brought in ruling class swamp creatures to many offices and expected that they would magically drop their lifelong loyalty to the swamp and start afresh. Life doesn’t work that way. So if we can’t expect political appointees to always do what the duly elected president asks them to do, how can we possibly figure that career bureaucrats will switch from administration to administration and suddenly morph into impartial do-gooders who just follow orders and salute the flag on the way out of the office every day? We can’t, and it’s unrealistic to believe that the United States federal government will get better unless we do a wholesale cleansing of the bureaucracy from the bottom up. Public employee unions are a scourge upon the earth. These “civil servants” are hired and charged with serving the public and impartially fulfilling their duties. Instead, unions advocate for and elect politicians who reward their support with higher salaries, unrealistic benefits and legal protections against being terminated, even for cause. They are bureaucratic dams in the river of efficiency. If Republicans like Perry truly hope to make a difference, they must first tackle the bureaucracy. If not, all the grandiose promises of new and better laws and policies won’t mean a thing. Many folks-in-the-know have suggested firing the entire top brass of the FBI and other intelligence agencies -- or defunding them. That’s a good start. But what about the other agencies? If every federal executive department is full of Anthony Fauci-types, the already near-impossible task becomes insurmountable. How about mandatory term limits for bureaucrats? Much has been said and written over the years that politicians shouldn’t make a career out of running for office and then set up residence in the hallowed halls of Congress from the time they’re just out of college or law school until they’re ready for a care facility. Senile president Joe Biden is the poster boy for what happens when potentially productive folks go to Washington in their twenties and thirties and immediately become corrupted by the Ted Kennedys and Robert Byrds of the elected institutions. They lose touch with the outside world and the people they represent. They become part of the problem rather than act as problem solvers.
The same rationale for limiting the service time of politicians applies double to those employed by the federal government. Working in those big marble buildings and shuffling papers does not lend itself to staying grounded and well-versed in the needs of ordinary people. Over time, they become more loyal to their superiors and to their pensions than the citizens they really work for.
Placing a time limit on government service wouldn’t completely solve the issue, but it would bring in fresh blood and an accountable workforce that doesn’t see government employment as means to an end for the entirety of their productive lives. And needless to say, the fierce partisans would have to find work in some other industry.
Republicans must place this type of full house cleaning at the forefront of their agenda, perhaps using the school choice issue as a classic example of giving parents -- and the people -- more control over their own lives. The task is a monumental one, and it will take a long time to achieve, but with the bureaucracy, you have to start somewhere.
There’s no way to truly drain the Washington swamp without ensuring that every last creature is removed from the bog. This means elected politicians, cabinet appointments and department heads, but it also includes bureaucrats and civil servants. Only when the partisan Democrat rot is fully gone from the government will things improve.
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