The Administrative State or the People?
The titanic political struggle unfolding in Washington is sucking the oxygen out of Michigan politics, but is analogous to the central political struggle which has been playing out here in Michigan for 48 years. Political media breathlessly report on a struggle between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. This struggle is not between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, nor RINOs and true believers. The Democrats, liberals, and RINOs are completely discredited in Michigan, as they are across most of the United States. All that remains of them is jammed into the Hillary archipelago.
The present political struggle is between the people and the administrative state. Call it bureaucracy, deep state, or administrative state: they are unelected government employees, their agents in the media, and the select beneficiaries of government largess. Their opponents in this struggle are the majority of Americans and Michiganders who pay the price for the administrative state; a now seething mass whose ascendancy was a rude surprise to the administrative state.
The outcome of the struggle in Washington is yet to be determined, but in Michigan the administrative state is clearly winning despite its total responsibility for the Flint water fiasco. The administrative state owns Governor Snyder body and soul. The administrative state will stop at nothing to manipulate the Michigan Legislature when the chips are down. Refractory (but innocent) legislators are expelled before legal process while cooperative (but guilty) legislators sit unfettered until legal process is completed.
How else can you explain the PA 177 of 2015 road tax package, indistinguishable from the soundly trounced Proposal 2015-01? Or the bogus Detroit bankruptcy which somehow neglected a $ 491 million financial hole which will haunt the city with a vengeance in 2024? Half the city’s annual budget. Or the refusal of Michigan government units at all levels to even consider tax reductions due to the simmering public employee pension catastrophe? Those pensions enjoyed by members of the administrative state are but a distant memory to the Michiganders who pay them. Indeed, all of Michigan’s units of government are jacking up fees to get around Headlee Amendment taxation limits.
Matthew Continetti, the editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, has posted a really good analysis of the current Washington political struggle which resonates in Michigan:
Who Rules the United States?
How bureaucrats are fighting the voters for control of our country
By: Matthew Continetti – February 17, 2017 11:32 am
Donald Trump was elected president last November by winning 306 electoral votes. He pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., to overturn the system of politics that had left the nation’s capital and major financial and tech centers flourishing but large swaths of the country mired in stagnation and decay. “What truly matters,” he said in his Inaugural Address, “is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”
Is it? By any historical and constitutional standard, “the people” elected Donald Trump and endorsed his program of nation-state populist reform. Yet over the last few weeks America has been in the throes of an unprecedented revolt. Not of the people against the government—that happened last year—but of the government against the people. What this says about the state of American democracy, and what it portends for the future, is incredibly disturbing.
There is, of course, the case of Michael Flynn. He made a lot of enemies inside the government during his career, suffice it to say. And when he exposed himself as vulnerable those enemies pounced. But consider the means: anonymous and possibly illegal leaks of private conversations. Yes, the conversation in question was with a foreign national. And no one doubts we spy on ambassadors. But we aren’t supposed to spy on Americans without probable cause. And we most certainly are not supposed to disclose the results of our spying in the pages of the Washington Post because it suits a partisan or personal agenda.
Here was a case of current and former national security officials using their position, their sources, and their methods to crush a political enemy. And no one but supporters of the president seems to be disturbed. Why? Because we are meant to believe that the mysterious, elusive, nefarious, and to date unproven connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin is more important than the norms of intelligence and the decisions of the voters.
But why should we believe that? And who elected these officials to make this judgment for us?…….
The last few weeks have confirmed that there are two systems of government in the United States. The first is the system of government outlined in the U.S. Constitution—its checks, its balances, its dispersion of power, its protection of individual rights. Donald Trump was elected to serve four years as the chief executive of this system. Whether you like it or not.
The second system is comprised of those elements not expressly addressed by the Founders. This is the permanent government, the so-called administrative state of bureaucracies, agencies, quasi-public organizations, and regulatory bodies and commissions, of rule-writers and the byzantine network of administrative law courts. This is the government of unelected judges with lifetime appointments who, far from comprising the “least dangerous branch,” now presume to think they know more about America’s national security interests than the man elected as commander in chief.
For some time, especially during Democratic presidencies, the second system of government was able to live with the first one. But that time has ended. The two systems are now in competition. And the contest is all the more vicious and frightening because more than offices are at stake. This fight is not about policy. It is about wealth, status, the privileges of an exclusive class……..
Donald Trump did not cause the divergence between government of, by, and for the people and government, of, by, and for the residents of Cleveland Park and Arlington and Montgomery and Fairfax counties. But he did exacerbate it. He forced the winners of the global economy and the members of the D.C. establishment to reckon with the fact that they are resented, envied, opposed, and despised by about half the country. But this recognition did not humble the entrenched incumbents of the administrative state. It radicalized them to the point where they are readily accepting, even cheering on, the existence of a “deep state” beyond the control of the people and elected officials.
Who rules the United States? The simple and terrible answer is we do not know. But we are about to find out.
Read the whole thing.
The machinations of the administrative state created ‘Trump’ and fueled his popular support nationwide. Here in Michigan, the administrative state created the Flint water fiasco – our single biggest disaster of the present decade. ‘Trump supporters’ are demanding the administrative state in Washington cede control to constitutionally elected representatives of the people. The administrative state responds with fabricated charges of bigotry, moral turpitude, naivete, insulsity, vapidity, and so on. As Instapundit Glenn Reynolds puts it: “How you get more Trump“.
Michiganders should follow the present Washington struggle closely to determine which tactics work – and which tactics don’t work – against the administrative state. We will need to successfully challenge the administrative state here, quickly, or else Michigan will become uninhabitable within 20 years. Reagan may have stared down the USSR, but its ultimate demise was the total collapse of its administrative state into a static bureaucratic hell. An administrative state victory – nationwide or in Michigan – will usher in decades of similar instability and repression.