Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Strzokism and the Degradation of Democracy

 

As the passage of time gnaws away at memories of Peter Strzok’s testimony before Congress and America’s outrage industry ratchets its screech-o-meter up a notch or two, perhaps a few observations about the FBI’s noteworthy apparatchik are in order.

Certainly, there is no shortage of opinions about what took place, especially in the form of numbered “takeaways” from the hearing. Thus, Molly Hemingway observed how the Department of Justice succeeded in obstructing congressional oversight, why Strzok came off “even worse than he did in his texts,” and how the Democrats sided with him, in an embarrassingly raucous manner. Indeed, one mentally challenged mouthpiece from the Democrats’ kindergarten kaucus volunteered to award Strzok a purple heart, authority permitting, of course.

Fred Lucas implied that the inestimable Strzok could have given Vladimir Putin lessons in casuistry about what “he really meant” when, for instance, he said, “No. No, he’s not. We’ll stop it.” (Trump becoming president, that is.) This apparently is the highest form of patriotism: “…the honest truth is that Russian interference in our elections constitutes a grave attack on our democracy,” he opined. Further, Strzok “truly believe[s] that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemy’s campaign to tear America apart.” Nothing like wrapping the flag around your arrogance, especially when threatened with a Contempt of Congress charge, which Strzok likely would regard as a badge of honor.

Not that he needs it. In fact, as pointed out by Chris Swecker, a 24-year veteran of the FBI and former chief of bureau criminal investigations, Republicans stumbled right into his trap. “Does he really think,” Swecker asked, “we are so gullible that we would buy his absurd claim that his ‘we’ll stop it’ text meant all of us—the American people—would act to stop Trump from becoming president?” The answer to this question is, yes, of course, he believes that. And so do many other denizens of the swamp. Let us hope the number of Chris Sweckers is vastly greater than the number of embedded Strzoks, but it still is worth poking a stick into the bog to see what might come up.

Fortunately, we are assisted in this process by one of the most insightful treatments of politics created in the history of Western Civilization. Naturally, a book like The Prince comes to mind; Machiavelli’s acerbic work has never lost its capacity to shock. The more sober Federalist Papers also may be consulted. But while Mack-the-Knife’s pages eviscerate naïve sentiments about political motives and The Federalist’s words exude constitutional wisdom, neither approaches the most delightfully comprehensible treatment of politics ever created, and it is barely a generation old: the British political sitcom, “Yes, Prime Minister” (and before that, “Yes, Minister”).

Nearly every episode reveals swampish shenanigans in a fashion that at first ignites laughter, but on reflection generates alarm and genuine fear. Probably the best scene was published by Powerline Blog, concerning a pair of senior civil servants discussing prospects for the next prime minister. Both are Cabinet Secretaries — Sir Humphrey is the current holder of the position and Sir Arnold is his predecessor. The two are enjoying lunch when Sir Humphrey offers an innocent inquiry about one of Arnold’s projects:

Humphrey: “How are things at the campaign for freedom of information, by the way?”

Arnold: “Sorry, I can’t talk about that.”

Humphrey asks a question about who should be the next Prime Minister, to which Arnold replies: “Difficult. Like asking which lunatic should be running the asylum.” Humphrey laments that their alternatives are “interventionists,” because “they both have foolish notions about running the country themselves.” Arnold says: “So, we’re looking for a compromise candidate.”

Humphrey agrees and the two exchange comments about the best qualities of an elected leader, which include: “malleable, flexible, likeable, no firm opinions, no bright ideas, no strong commitments, without the strength of purpose to change anything,” as well as “one who could be manipulated — professionally guided,” so he could “leave the business of government in the hands of the experts.”

This is the best description of Strzokism one ever is likely to find in a democracy, and it was on full display during Strzok’s smirk-punctuated testimony before Congress, complete with a chorus of minions acting like cheerleaders representing the Party of Government. Once the rhetorical fireworks subsided and Republican questioners skulked away reeking with the humiliation of impotence and defeat, one is left with a distillation of his mindset: arrogance, invulnerability, unaccountability, condescension, and above all, contempt for citizens who elected representatives having the unmitigated gall to question their judgments.

Strzokism is the fruit of Progressivism, an agenda-driven movement to degrade democracy to the point of extinction, leaving a shell of appearance for elected buffoons to parade across the political landscape while the real decisions of government are made by others and are mostly beyond their control. All a good Strzokist requires is the regular passage of omnibus spending measures by elected nonentities whose aspirations should be confined to political thespianism.

What can ordinary citizens do about this state of affairs? Prospects are not encouraging. Perhaps the most that any of us can really expect from our elected leaders is for them occasionally to act on our behalf as defense attorneys before a government — perish the thought — dominated by Strzokists.

Those who expect more should be reminded of Sir Arnold’s answer to Sir Humphrey’s question about the campaign for freedom of information: “Sorry, I can’t talk about that.”

There are 14 comments.

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  1. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Big government has Stzroks like feedlots have bovine excrement, except that for feedlots the growth of that part of the operation is a linear function directly proportional to the number of cows. For government, the growth curve for the accumulation of Sztroks is exponential.

    • #1
    • July 20, 2018, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Unsk Member

    Marvin, a fine and thoughtful commentary. I can only hope that more of our fellow citizens would read your commentary or something like it and reflect about what is happening to our country.

    • #2
    • July 20, 2018, at 9:17 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Trump is doing more to undo it than ever. If only the right was United.

    • #3
    • July 20, 2018, at 9:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Bob Wainwright Member

    He may be arrogant and all that, but there’s no specific reason to think he lied during his testimony. None of his texts were in themselves evidence of crimes. His We’ll stop it text could very well have meant what he said it did. Or it may have meant that the collusion investigation would pay off soon and the American people would see it and Trump would have no chance of being elected. If it had meant something illegal, that would be pretty stupid to text it. Also, why not leak to the media that Trump was under suspicion and hurt his chances in the election? He apparently never did that either. So we need to more or less forget about Strzok the same way the media needs to forget about collusion unless some real evidence shows up.

    • #4
    • July 20, 2018, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. barbara lydick Inactive

    Marvin Folkertsma:

    …one is left with a distillation of his mindset: arrogance, invulnerability, unaccountability, condescension, and above all, contempt for citizens who elected representatives having the unmitigated gall to question their judgments.

    Strzokism is the fruit of Progressivism, an agenda-driven movement to degrade democracy to the point of extinction, leaving a shell of appearance for elected buffoons to parade across the political landscape while the real decisions of government are made by others and are mostly beyond their control.

    This display was hubris on stilts. Bryan Stevens was right. “If only the Right was United.” !!

    Marvin Folkertsma: “But while Mack-the-Knife’s pages eviscerate naïve sentiments about political motives and The Federalist’s words exude constitutional wisdom, neither approaches the most delightfully comprehensible treatment of politics ever created, and it is barely a generation old: the British political sitcom, “Yes, Prime Minister” (and before that, “Yes, Minister”).”

    Sometime later, the two were written as books – actually, “diaries” that resulted from Bernard Woolley being interviewed at a rest home where he then resided. It was his explanatory comments that added so much to the “diaries”; they were hilarious.

    I ran across the first one at the airport in Hong Kong and was nearly escorted from the plane mid flight for laughing so hard. Actually, this one and Yes, Prime Minister were not available in the States until several years later. They followed the TV series word for word, but with the addition of Bernard Woolley’s spot-on comments.

    • #5
    • July 20, 2018, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Old Bathos Moderator

    I am a recovering lobbyist-lawyer. I have lived in DC since I was a child. I was the paperboy for the powerful and famous in Georgetown and privy to the details of major DC scandals as an attorney. Not everyone in the biz is pro-swamp but the forces that perpetuate it are palpable:

    1. Size and complexity of the federal government. No President has been able to penetrate and fully control the bureaucracy in the last 80 years. And unless rolled back with aggressive use of the purse strings, it will not respond to popular will or interests.
    2. An entitlement mentality has emerged among those in positions of influence such that people with the right academic records and contact-driven work experience feel the country owes them a satisfying, lucrative position rather than that they owe the country a duty of service. That was not always the case.
    3. White-collar professionals outside of DC, detached from manufacturing or the demanding reality of meeting a payroll strongly identify with the myth that society is best served by foregoing representative democracy and private action in favor of rule by technocrats. Such people form the true political base that supports the swamp and they are formidable by virtue of their dominant role in key institutions.

    The single most important political development that needs to take place is to sever African-American, Asian and Hispanic voters from identity politics so they can discover their natural affinity with other victims of governance malpractice perpetrated by an undeserving, underperforming, vastly over-compensated elite. When it dawns on us that creative voluntary, private and local initiatives can provide the best outcomes, the American Revolution can enter a wonderful new phase.

    • #6
    • July 20, 2018, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  7. Stad Thatcher

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The single most important political development that needs to take place is to sever African-American, Asian and Hispanic voters from identity politics so they can discover their natural affinity with other victims of governance malpractice perpetrated by an undeserving, underperforming, vastly over-compensated elite. When it dawns on us that creative voluntary, private and local initiatives can provide the best outcomes, the American Revolution can enter a wonderful new phase.

    I love what you say here. I hope the rank and file minorities you mention can see the ethnic elites the Dems run for office who “Look like me!” are nothing more than pawns to keep the party of slavery in power.

    People like Strzok are the problem. If anything should make citizens feel ashamed to be American, it should be toads like him in government rather than the Constitution . . .

    • #7
    • July 20, 2018, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. I Walton Member

    I’ve grown to love Strzok, his testimony was priceless, the cheering section glorious. Which of Trumps operatives set it all up?

    • #8
    • July 20, 2018, at 2:49 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Strzok at times seemed about five seconds away at the hearing from channeling Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men” and telling one or more of his Republican questioners that they were damned right that he ordered the Code Red, and then defy them to do anything about it. But the interesting their to contrast and compare from that theatrical performance is the one Lisa Page gave behind closed doors a few days later, and which was spoken of far more favorably by GOP committee members.

    In at least the text messages that have been released, Page came off as the more hardcore ideologue than Strzok, and it was only a few days prior to his testimony that she was refusing to meet with the House committee. So the sudden turnaround from that has some speculating that she may have flipped on her former lover, and is willing to testify that when Strzok said “We’ll stop him,” he meant “We’ll stop him,” without any sort of newspeak convoluted hidden meaning to it. But for that to happen, you’d have to assume a lawyer like Page would believe she was facing some serious charges if she didn’t cooperate, and then you come back to what else does she or others know that might be in the second IG report Michael Horowitz is preparing, on problems within the FBI on the Russia collusion investigation (and if she knows more damaging stuff is coming down the pike, why would Strzok think he could brazen it out in front of the committee, other than betting on the Democrats winning the House in November and the clock running out on the investigation? Doesn’t seem to all add up at the moment, but it might a few months from now).

    • #9
    • July 20, 2018, at 3:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I am a recovering lobbyist-lawyer. I have lived in DC since I was a child. I was the paperboy for the powerful and famous in Georgetown and privy to the details of major DC scandals as an attorney. Not everyone in the biz is pro-swamp but the forces that perpetuate it are palpable:

    1. Size and complexity of the federal government. No President has been able to penetrate and fully control the bureaucracy in the last 80 years. And unless rolled back with aggressive use of the purse strings, it will not respond to popular will or interests.
    2. An entitlement mentality has emerged among those in positions of influence such that people with the right academic records and contact-driven work experience feel the country owes them a satisfying, lucrative position rather than that they owe the country a duty of service. That was not always the case.
    3. White-collar professionals outside of DC, detached from manufacturing or the demanding reality of meeting a payroll strongly identify with the myth that society is best served by foregoing representative democracy and private action in favor of rule by technocrats. Such people form the true political base that supports the swamp and they are formidable by virtue of their dominant role in key institutions.

    The single most important political development that needs to take place is to sever African-American, Asian and Hispanic voters from identity politics so they can discover their natural affinity with other victims of governance malpractice perpetrated by an undeserving, underperforming, vastly over-compensated elite. When it dawns on us that creative voluntary, private and local initiatives can provide the best outcomes, the American Revolution can enter a wonderful new phase.

    This is the best thing I’ve read on Ricochet in quite some time.

    • #10
    • July 21, 2018, at 5:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    So the sudden turnaround from that has some speculating that she may have flipped on her former lover

    You could be right. I’ll bet they told her what life would be like as “The Sweetheart of Cell Block C” . . .

    • #11
    • July 21, 2018, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. blood thirsty neocon Inactive

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):

    He may be arrogant and all that, but there’s no specific reason to think he lied during his testimony. None of his texts were in themselves evidence of crimes. His We’ll stop it text could very well have meant what he said it did. Or it may have meant that the collusion investigation would pay off soon and the American people would see it and Trump would have no chance of being elected. If it had meant something illegal, that would be pretty stupid to text it. Also, why not leak to the media that Trump was under suspicion and hurt his chances in the election? He apparently never did that either. So we need to more or less forget about Strzok the same way the media needs to forget about collusion unless some real evidence shows up.

    Lisa Page contradicts the bolded part. Of course, she supposedly said so in closed session, so they’re not at liberty to talk about that.

    • #12
    • July 21, 2018, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Duke-On-Watts MD Coolidge

    Marvin Folkertsma:

    “Does he really think,” Swecker asked, “we are so gullible that we would buy his absurd claim that his ‘we’ll stop it’ text meant all of us—the American people—would act to stop Trump from becoming president?” The answer to this question is, yes, of course, he believes that. And so do many other denizens of the swamp.

    He doesn’t believe we are that gullible – on the contrary, he knows we all see it for the lie it is and that’s it’s appeal for him. Just as when Putin lies blatantly about assassinations of journalists and dissidents, Strzok telling those lies under oath with no consequences is a status symbol. It’s advertisement of his power, and connections, and “sophistication” that he can rely on the Democrats and media and DoJ to cover for him and enable him. He is reminding the world (and himself) that he’s an elite, and the smartest guy in the room.

    There are plenty of big private sector legal jobs, and plenty of Lisa Pages, out there. Strzok is just selling his brand.

    • #13
    • July 21, 2018, at 6:43 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Mrs. Ink Member

    I have never seen a grown man, straight or gay, with so little control of his face and demeanor as Peter Strzok. It was the weirdest exhibition I have ever seen, by some one who was sober. Every time he opened his mouth, the creep-o-meter hit the red zone. Even when making the most anodyne statements, he looked like a pervert.

    He was purportedly in the military-did he not learn about “keeping your bearing”? Was that just naked arrogance? Rage?

    Also, Lisa Page, what on earth were you thinking? It must have been like sleeping with a monitor lizard.

    As for the Republicans being humiliated, it was all a show, and they knew what they were getting, because they had interviewed him in closed sessions. I yield to no one in my low opinion of Congress, but I think that Republicans wanted Strzok on television, so that every one could see for themselves what creep he is, and they also knew that the Dems would show their usual asininity. And it was a fine opportunity for speechifying. Most of them are running for reelection, and while they are not good for much, most of them are pretty good at getting reelected.

    • #14
    • July 22, 2018, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes

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