I was far from the most ardent supporter of Donald Trump (So stone me, my pick was Jeb Bush) but in the end I voted for Trump. I had Benghazi lie fever, among other center-right afflictions. So far I’m happy. I like his cabinet picks. I think his gut instincts are better than those of his predecessor -- who had none. I don’t listen to Trump for inspired oratory. I’m glad he brought Winston Churchill’s bust back up from basement storage. At least he wasn’t envious of a government leader with superior oratorical skills.
But Trump’s decision to fire Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates justified my vote all by itself. I used to work in the belly of the beast. The federal bureaucracy, that is. You don’t know it unless you’ve been there. The stubbornness, the entrenched thinking, the glacial pace at which it moves. Look what it did to Al Gore and his much ballyhooed “Reinvent Government” initiative when he was president. It swallowed him up and spit him out.
Belly laugh, if you weren’t there. Gore put lots of sticky, sugary icing on a cake that was long baked and for which the recipe hadn’t changed. Regulate, stall, talk – wash, rinse, repeat. Above all, advertise what you think you are doing and pretend you are doing something good and noble in government. It would serve the country well if an entire phalanx of entrenched political sinecures and talking heads quit their jobs – something few will do. They are like the people who promised to move to New Zealand or Canada if Trump won the presidency. Unfortunately, they were lying. All are still here gracing us with their inspired headline grabbing resourcefulness.
There are many good and hard-working people who work in the federal bureaucracy. People like Sally Yates are not among them. They occupy a slice of bureaucratic ether that is well above the plane where the necessary and vital work gets done. Obviously, they are not bound by the job description, ethics, or a sense of duty.
Like Sally Yates, they are well-connected placeholders who have grabbed the brass ring of political appointments and popular convenenience (witness the so-called ‘Yates memo’ which toadies former President Obama’s obsessions with taking down and fining non-compliant corporate CEOs). Yates accepted President Trump’s request to stay on as acting Attorney General until Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for AG, can be confirmed. Did she have a problem with Trump then? Or was she waiting for the right moment? Or was it personal convenience – a few months without a taxpayer funded salary?
Ironically, it was Senator Sessions who asked, during a Senate confirmation hearing, what she’d do if she disagreed with the president. Sessions asked what she’d do if a president asked her to do something that was unlawful (referring to the Obama-Lynch relationship). What would be her response?
“I believe the AG or Deputy AG has the obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president,” Yates said.
Sally Yates did neither. Trump issued a lawful executive order. There is no obvious constitutional violation in it and she did not attempt to ‘advise’ Trump on his decision. Instead, she made a self- aggrandizing and very public display of herself before the spotlight of a media already gunning for Trump. It was political theatrics of the worst kind.
If there were matters of personal conscience for her, they would be respected if she had simple resigned. Instead, she offered herself up to be admired by male courtiers like weeping New York Senator Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) and numerous other Democratic Party apparatchiks.
Among the people who think President Trump’s executive order to freeze immigration from seven countries outlined by the Obama administration is lawful is Allan Dershowitz. Dershowitz is a distinguished generally liberal and always brilliant attorney who will put ideology aside in strict accordance to law. Dershowitz’ legal accomplishments and expertise in constitutional law are a matter of record. Dershowitz is not ‘for’ Trump’s executive order – he’s for the law and the Constitution.