Passing The Baton

George Washington was the greatest of American presidents – yes, he led the rag-tag colonial army to a stunning defeat of the British; yes, he oversaw the Constitutional Convention which defined our federal structure of government; but perhaps his greatest gift to the nation was leaving when his time was up. Many countries have flowery constitutions, but the real test of democracy is the institutional tradition of the ruling group to relinquish power. President Barack Obama seems committed to leaving; many in the liberal establishment are not.

First, the futile efforts of those in the Denial stage:

– Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s quixotic effort at recounts – joined by the Clinton Campaign – came to naught. With some $7 million from thousands of small contributions, she offered an opportunity for the distraught to “do something”.

– The effort to subvert the Electoral College is a bit more troublesome. By challenging laws in 29 states requiring electors to follow the vote, the “principled” liberals are advocating violation of their oaths, breaking of clear state laws, and substituting their judgement for that of the voters. In their version of democracy, the elites would not be subject to the will of the great unwashed masses. Again, the Clinton campaign is engaged, but Obama is not.

– Out here on the Left Coast the secession effort looks like a caricature from The Onion, but there are many grass-roots liberals who reject federalism, and believe that if they cannot impose their philosophy of government on a country of “Deplorables”, they will be able to garner support of two thirds of the states to let them go it alone. While there is a little tingle of “go for it” east of the Sierras, we settled this in 1865.

Second, the “de-legitimizing” effort:

Obviously we could not have had this outcome “but for” – not the corruption of the candidate as reflected in her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation; not the terrible campaign in which she did not even appear in Wisconsin and burned through twice as much money as the Trump campaign; not the appeal of the Trump message to the Deplorables of Middle America. No, the problem is the Russians.

There is no evidence that the Russians or anyone else hacked voting machines or the down-stream systems used to register and compile the votes. (Sorry Jill.) We are, however, in a cyber-age where most communication are not really secure, where groups like Wikileaks will enjoy spreading embarrassing tidbits (often to the joy of liberals; sometimes not), and where intelligence services (ours as well as others) can create mischief. It is worth a review of potential hacking, although there will be little new insight into capabilities, as there will be much Democratic breast beating about the impact of end-of-campaign exposures of Hillary’s team. (Of course, the focus will not be on the substance of the disclosures – the commitment of the Democratic National committee to the defeat of Bernie Sanders; the passing of debate questions from CNN to the Clinton campaign; Hillary’s paid speeches in which she professed her love for “open borders”; for example.)

The real problem is that this is another example of the politicization of government functions which have occurred during the Obama administration: the use of the IRS to shut down conservative non-profits; the on-again/ off-again engagement of the FBI in the 2016 election; the secret meeting of the Attorney General with the husband of the Democratic candidate; and now the stretch of the CIA from presenting the facts on the hacking to the conclusion of Russia’s intent to help the Republican candidate. If we are to remain a successful democracy, these agencies must remain politically neutral, and under the Obama administration they have been used for clear partisan purposes.

Third, there is good reason for tens of thousands of government employees, lobbyists, and other hangers’ on to fear for their careers. This election was not just about who controls the switches; it is about which switches there should be. Based on the early announcements for the cabinet – particularly Scott Pruitt at EPA, Tom Price at Health and Human Services, Andrew Pudzer at Labor, Jeff Sessions at Justice, and Rick Perry at Energy – there will be strong leaders committed to taking the department in a significantly different direction. In some others – Rex Tillerson at State, James Mattis at Defense – there will be a strong leader, accustomed to having their organizations follow direction. All will have much cleaning house to do. The Metro Washington real estate market will be very busy, although there will be more sellers than buyers.

Out on the conservative fringe there are conspiracy theorists who will not breath easily until the inauguration is over on January 20. Bill Clinton’s White House staff removed the “W”s from their computer keyboards before their counterparts in the George W Bush administration took over. Fortunately, the Republican House and Senate leadership appear aligned to deliver a transformational “first 100 days”, with our without “T’s” on the typewriters.


This week’s video is an interview with LTG Flynn on al Jazeera which provides a comforting insight into the thought process of the next president’s National Security Advisor.

www.RightinSanFrancisco.com – 12/16/16