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The “Deep State” is Eternal

February 13, 2020

On Wednesday, February 12, retired Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, stated in a speech at Georgetown University that “”It’s important to allow the folks with regional expertise, experience, language skills and relationships to lead in our foreign policy.” That view expresses what may be described as a defense of the superiority of career professionals who serve in agencies of American government i.e. “the deep state.”

A vast administrative state was developed between 1935 and 1968 by two American presidents, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson and offices in the agencies of American government attracted educated professionals who believed that they deserve to command the powers of those agencies.

For the most part, the career civil servants get a free and unopposed ride, unless a political appointee is placed over them who knows something about aspects of government under their purview. That occurred at a couple of government agencies during the Reagan administration (Don Devine, Dan Oliver, Margot Carlsle, Tom Pauken, Bill Bennett and I are six that come to mind). But presidential appointees who take charge and are not controlled by career bureaucrats are accidental appointments, not carefully planned.  Included during the Reagan era were “movement conservatives” at Education, Office of Personnel Management, Defense, USICA and some in the Department of State. One conservative at State reported that there were no tears when an assassination attempt was made on President Reagan. Most movement conservatives did not last the first two years of Reagan’s first term when agents of the Deep State–all good Republicans–mostly from the Nixon administration took over.

I’m offended that those elected lose control of their agencies to career “bureaucrats,” but that is to be expected. Government service is suitable for persons who love government, which is an attitude we do not share with the Marie Yovanovich of this world.

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