In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant “Hamilton,” there’s a moment when, after they’ve won the first election and are trying to set up the government, George Washington turns to an exasperated Hamilton with some sage, pithy advice.
“Winning is easy, young man. Governering is harder,” the father of the country states.
It’s a lesson that has proved more true over the centuries. As the country grew and solidified, as technology changed the game, and as the capabilities of government expanded, that axiom has deeper meanings.
Then we got Trumped. A lazy, purposefully ignorant malcontent surrounded himself with likeminded troglodytes and was given the opportunity to govern.
Well, Michael Lewis over at Vanity Fair has quite the story.
It’s one that every trump voter should have to read. Maybe they’ll realize how much they’ve broken the country. How much they’ve put our safety at risk. Many, likely, aren’t smart enough to care. Many, clearly, aren’t patriotic enough to see the consesquences they’ve wrought.
Some of the nuggets in here are deeply worrying in how much nihilism they show.
After Pyle’s list of questions wound up on Bloomberg News, the Trump administration disavowed them, but a signal had been sent: We don’t want you to help us understand; we want to find out who you are and punish you. Pyle vanished from the scene. According to a former Obama official, he was replaced by a handful of young ideologues who called themselves “the Beachhead Team.” “They mainly ran around the building insulting people,” says a former Obama official. “There was a mentality that everything that government does is stupid and bad and the people are stupid and bad,” says another. They allegedly demanded to know the names and salaries of the 20 highest-paid people in the national-science labs overseen by the D.O.E. They’d eventually, according to former D.O.E. staffers, delete the contact list with the e-mail addresses of all D.O.E.-funded scientists—apparently to make it more difficult for them to communicate with one another. “These people were insane,” says the former D.O.E. staffer. “They weren’t prepared. They didn’t know what they were doing.”
But there was actually a long history of even the appointees of one administration hanging around to help the new appointees of the next. The man who had served as chief financial officer of the department during the Bush administration, for instance, stayed a year and a half into the Obama administration—simply because he had a detailed understanding of the money end of things that was hard to replicate quickly. The C.F.O. of the department at the end of the Obama administration was a mild-mannered civil-servant type named Joe Hezir. He had no particular political identity and was widely thought to have done a good job—and so he half-expected a call from the Trump people asking him to stay on, just to keep the money side of things running smoothly. The call never came. No one even let him know his services were no longer required. Not knowing what else to do, but without anyone to replace him, the C.F.O. of a $30 billion operation just up and left.
A reminder that we’re just seven months into this thing and these types of stories are already leaking out.
This is not a trivial exercise, and to do it we rely entirely on scientists who go to work at the national labs because the national labs are exciting places to work. They then wind up getting interested in the weapons program. That is, because maintaining the nuclear arsenal was just a by-product of the world’s biggest science project, which also did things like investigating the origins of the universe. “Our weapons scientists didn’t start out as weapons scientists,” says Madelyn Creedon, who was second-in-command of the nuclear-weapons wing of the D.O.E., and who briefed the incoming administration, briefly. “They didn’t understand that. The one question they asked was ‘Wouldn’t you want the guy who grew up wanting to be a weapons scientist?’ Well, actually, no.”
Sweet Jesus, what the hell is going on?
Look, I don’t think it’s possible for a president to be as bad as James Buchanan or Andrew Johnson.
Until now, I really wasn’t sure a president could be as bad as Warren Harding. Seven months in and we’re there folks. We’re there.