Although this is usually (for us here at TPOL) a rhetorical spiritual question, it doesn’t hurt to ask it regarding politics and liberty, now and then. Who is really running things?
The thought this time is triggered by a blogger who claims that, in effect, the FedGov has been reduced to a single branch: the Legislative. Congress is in control and the Executive and Judicial branches are but tools of Schumer and Pelosi. (Oh, probably Pelosi as the senior partner, regardless of Senators’ grandiose beliefs and huge egos.)
Is that true? Is Uncle Joe really dancing to Pelosi’s and Schumer’s tune? I have my doubts. I think it is a mutual benefit society, and Joe (or his lieutenants and handlers and puppet masters) have just as much say as those who are holding the strings of the Senators and Representatives. (Of both old parties and the so-called “independents” in that big ole building up on the hill.
Holding their strings? Look, there are some brilliant people in Congress, even in these decadent days. But honestly, intelligence and independence of thought and words are NOT critical, let alone essential, character traits of our esteemed (not) elected officials. What is? Likeable, even loveable personalities: at least public personas: they can be (and are) incredibly mean, nasty people in private. Whether the rooms are smoke-filled or not. Good “people” people and smooth talkers. And with egos as big as their State, district, or the Fifty States. And those rasputins who groom them for office know this – and in fact do not want any significant intelligence beyond the ability to memorize and act out the proper script. (And even today, as we know with teleprompters and all that; even that much intelligence may be a liability to their controllers.)
It is not the actual members of Congress that are in charge of what may be the sole branch of modern “federal” government – no, it is the staff. Not the individual members’ staff – those are nothing but farm team places to recruit and train the people who really call the shots. IF they are really dominating the White House and Supreme Court. The members – the elected people – are little more than shills: front people for the people really in charge.
But the Nine Nazgul? Is Congress calling the shots for them? Without or with White House cooperation, approval, and coordination? Maybe there IS truth to the rumors here. Looking at the voting records – especially that of nominal “constitutionalist” and “conservative” John Roberts. Are supreme court decisions now to be analyzed the way the professionals look at fixed boxing matches or a scandal in Major League Baseball? Where unpredicted weird behavior – good or bad – might indicate that the fix is in? That the game has been thrown?
Many people think so. Or some version of the congressional staff concept: is it the law clerks that really are in charge?
But the point to this meandering commentary?
A republic – even a constitutional and “democratic” republic – is still a government. Winston Churchill famously quipped, “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” Perhaps the reason that democracy (and republics) are not so bad, in the eyes of politicians at least, is because it is easy to hide who is really in charge.
While pretending that “we, the people” are in control. With monarchies and dictatorships, there is supposedly no question who is running things. With oligarchies, with republics, with democracies, the appearance does NOT have to match the reality. And thus the point of the blogger is perhaps made.
The four years of The Donald showed that the guy in the Oval Office ain’t really in charge. Should it be a shock to find that the people behind the podiums, in the best offices, at the Capitol end of Pennsylvania Avenue, are not really calling the shots, either? And are too stupid to realize that they are NOT in charge?
(See “The Emperor wears no clothes” and look up Rasputin and Cardinal Richelieu in your history book.)
We lovers of liberty want to see this simplified: we want US to be in charge. Not of everything, but just of US. Self-governors. People who make the decisions for themselves and no one else. And who know how to discipline ourselves, not submit to either the figureheads OR the real power.
Think about it.