I am finishing up The Deep State, a work by former Congressional intelligence analyst Mike Lofgren. Like the title suggests, it is an analysis of the Deep State: what it is, how it works, what are its purposes. A mellow-dramatic work that reads like the kid of papers that teacher’s pets write in order to kiss a little more ass while absolving themselves of the guilt of unearned grades, Lofgren’s work does contain some salient points. In reading it, I have both great disgust and great optimism.
Lofgren was an intelligence analyst for Congress and at one point answered to John Kasich, former presidential non-starter and current governor of Ohio. He swept into D.C. in the early 80s and was at the time a Republican. The timing is important; he was a Republican at exactly the moment that the Reagan Revolution was getting underway. In other words, when it was still a country club party and membership was a valuable commodity. A few chapters and it becomes obvious that he is a classic RINO with not a remotely conservative bone in his body, not counting when Dennis Hastert was ass raping him. His repeated smears of the Republicans and especially the Tea Party get very annoying, very quickly.
The main thrust (hehe, speaking of Hastert) of his work is that the country is actually run by bureaucrats and their moneyed interests, which should not come as a shock to anyone who has been awake since 1963 or is familiar with the goings-on since Kennedy was killed. He credibly claims that the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security, the IRS, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and certain members of Congress are actually running things, and do so for their own benefit and that of lobbyists and defense contractors, among others. This is pretty much common sense, though he does lend an insider’s perspective and does a good job of giving clear examples of how the Deep State operates.
Lofgren’s account has some very deep flaws. He describes himself as nonpartisan, but he deeply left wing in his ideology and his belief in the right of the State to do all sorts of things which the Constitution does not grant it the right to do. He rails against the ways in which George Bush violated the Constitution, but is largely silent on the even more egregious usurpations of the Obama administration. He saves the bulk of his venom for the Tea Party, of which he has absolutely no comprehension whatsoever. His God-awful analysis of the Tea Party and populism in general is actually central to his book.
He repeatedly excoriates the Tea Party for being just another corporate, astroturf operation whose chosen representatives are bought and sold like any other politician. He is not incorrect that many Republicans rode the Tea Party to power and had no intention of honoring their promises (looking at you, Little Marco). But he then rips into Tea Party candidates who have and still do follow through on their promises to vote against pork, even when it is in the financial interests of their district. He chalks it up to Gerrymandering and does not probe any deeper. Not only is his analysis wrong, it is shallow. He does not have any familiarity with any real people who made up the Tea Party. His knowledge of it comes from dealing with the lobbyists who hopped on the bandwagon to cash in on populism. Birds of a feather, I suppose.
His disdain for conservative populism is on full display in his discussion of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal. He insisted that the actual scandal is the amount of money in politics. This was written just before the 2016 election, which essentially blew this concern out of the water, but the fact that he sides with an element of the Deep State over people lawfully organizing to win elections shows where his loyalties lie, and they are not really with the American people.
Lofgren likes to point the finger at others and belittle them both professionally and personally. He spends the first part of the book knocking the McMansions popular among wealthy D.C. insiders. It’s a combination of envy and disdain for people D.C. insiders who are more successful than him. He is critical of the Deep State and the people who profit by it, but repeatedly calls those who rail against it anti-intellectual. I suppose to him this is a really harsh insult, but considering “intellectuals” produce little of value and are in fact largely responsible for the messes in which the West finds itself, perhaps he should reevaluate where he places his esteem.
His complete misunderstanding of the Tea Party and populism generally coupled with his obliviousness to the inevitable outcome of the 2016 election in a manner echoing other idiotic insiders shows Lofgren to be just another clueless D.C. bureaucrat. His complete disregard for the power of populism demonstrates a level of hubris that has proven fatal to people like he and his kind in the past. His tone conveys just how out of touch D.C. insiders are with actual Americans, both left and right. He mocks the idea of left and right populists unifying to bring down common enemies (when he is willing to acknowledge that the left and right have them), not realizing that the failure to do so will be a failure of the Left, not us.
In the end, Lofgren is an insider who profited by bending with the wind and biding his time for a nice government pension. He wants to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for earning his living in the viper pit that is our nation’s capital. He plays holier-than-thou, but never explains why he served as a Congressional analyst and still never got anyone in the House to listen to his proposals. On some level he is trying to compensate for his professional failure by railing against the people who played the game better than him, elected or in private enterprise.