The old paleocons were right about most things, particularly about the growth of the managerial state, but they were not right about everything. There were things they simply could not imagine, much in the same way sci-fi writers cannot imagine the cultural implications of technology. No matter how smart you are, you can only think so many moves ahead. One thing the paleocons got wrong about the managerial state is just how corrosive it was to the people inside the managerial class. It makes them weak and stupid.
This post about the scheming of Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller is a good example of how weakness is viewed as strength by people inside the system.
In court filings last week the Department of Justice deployed what could be the nuclear option in its latest effort to prevent President Trump from declassifying information regarding FISA warrants used to spy on his campaign aide Carter Page: It is claiming that such a move would interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
This is the first time the DOJ has explicitly made this argument implying personal peril for the president, since interference could open Trump to charges of obstruction of justice. Until now, the department has argued that declassifying the documents threatened national security.
In the 178-page court document, DOJ officials said they had “determined that disclosure of redacted information in the Carter Page FISA documents could reasonably be expected to interfere with the pending investigation into Russian election interference.”
That rationale has heightened suspicions among congressional investigators that the special counsel is being used to prevent the disclosure of possible FBI abuses and crimes committed during the Russia probe. Opened by the FBI in July 2016, the Russia investigation was taken over by Mueller when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him special counsel in 2017.
By the DOJ’s logic, according to one source, the fact that the investigation is ongoing protects it from scrutiny, including the president’s.
The post goes on to explain that the reptilian Rod Rosenstein has constructed an elaborate trap for Trump. He can allow Mueller to investigate his administration to death, while covering up the subversion and possible treason committed by members of the FBI and DOJ. Or, he can go public with these facts and be charged with obstruction and impeached by Congress. The writers of the post no doubt think this is brilliantly clever and they are probably correct about what the subversive Rod Rosenstein is plotting.
It suffers from one glaring defect. That is, it is a great example of “creating elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” There’s no doubt that the subversive Rod Rosenstein is covering up his own crimes here. He signed off on a lot of this stuff and he fears being turned into the fall guy in this caper. His natural inclination is to assume he is the outsider and that the rest involved, who do not share his loyalties, will somehow pin the blame on him.
This is a great example of the core flaw of managerialism. It turns everything into a cheeky parlor game, in which the winner is the one to come up with the most verbally clever solution. The people inside the system come to believe that is actually how the world works. Because their world is a one governed by words and gestures, they start to assume the outer world functions the same way. It creates a false sense of superiority in a class of soft men, wholly unprepared for the harsh reality of the outer world.
There’s no doubt that the bureaucrats inside the system think they really outfoxed Trump this time, but they are mistaken, because this is not how the real world works. Trump is the President. He has real power. For example, he can declassify those documents and release them to the public. No one else can do that with the stroke of a pen. Rosenstein can conjure all the cheeky word puzzles he likes, but Trump retains that power. In fact, they may be playing into his hands with this effort. Now, they look guilty.
That’s the real fight here. Rod Rosenstein can threaten obstruction of justice all he likes, but he has not power. Trump has real power. He can address the nation one night, reveal the secrets Rosenstein is trying to hide and then fire all of the people involved in this subversive plot and its cover up. Congress, even one run by Democrats, is not going to impeach Trump for exposing corruption. They will make the ritual noises and rush to their media outlets to complain about how Trump is a tyrant, but nothing will come of it.
That’s probably why Trump has been sitting on this stuff until after the election. He has no fear of twerps like Rosenstein. He just needs to get through the election and then figure out the new game board. If the GOP keeps the House, then maybe he lets Congress work this case. If it is the Democrats, then maybe he calls their bluff and releases these documents to the public during the lame duck session. The one thing he will not be doing is worrying about what silly men like Rod Rosenstein have to say about it.