Five months ago, Washington was struck by a bright orange political nuclear weapon. As the mushroom cloud and debris are beginning to clear, we can see which cockroaches survived the blast.
Early last month, ProPublica obtained a list of political appointees deployed across government by the Trump Administration to serve as his eyes and ears in key federal agencies. On that list: none other than former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. Apparently The Donald needed an expert on selfies and the Mannequin Challenge.
After resigning her post on the last day of the Obama presidency as a supposed Democrat loyalist, and after a ridiculously overwrought “season of goodbye” culminating in a slobbery embarrassment of time-thieving theatrics on her [alleged] last day in the Pentagon, James apparently just hauled her defense contractor rolodex to a different office and went to work for Donald Trump.
So much for resting on principle.
What would drive this Clinton loyalist to surreptitiously stay on in a Trump government? No one really knows.
Could be as a lifelong zampolit, she doesn’t know how to do anything else. Could be she’s unemployable after her dreadful performance in a leadership role, having left the Air Force materially destroyed and morally toxified … at its smallest size and lowest state of readiness in history. Her chief legacy is a pilot shortage that is putting national defense at risk.
Could be she just wants to work as little as possible while raking in a six-figure salary, which she’s now doing as a member of the non-career Senior Executive Service.
Despite her utter and complete ineptitude at the controls of an Air Force now teetering on the edge of institutional failure after four years of her InChargeShip … James has been given a senior post in the DoD where she:
“…[provides] observations, lessons learned, and/or recommendations for future senior leaders in DoD.”
This, according to a defense press agent who reluctantly and carefully yielded after two business days of stalling and vagary. We’ve endured circular referrals and insurance salesman-esque responses just to get this useless acknowledgement of something we already knew. Deeply disappointing coming from a Mattis DoD, and a signal that he has allowed James’ trademark deceptiveness to taint his senior staff.
The proposition itself is laughable fodder for the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse police. She’s qualified to advise on nothing of substance. She knows how to bullshit a mass audience at a mediocre level, but that’s not substantive. She might be qualified to advise on social experimentation, having incessantly pursued it throughout her SecAF tenure.
As for James’s former airmen, they deserve an apology for (a) giving her the benefit of the doubt four years ago and (b) actually believing she was on her way out and daring to celebrate it. In the video below, we see her basking in the semi-forced exaltation of those airmen under the false pretense that she is leaving the Pentagon for the last time.
At least when Nixon got on the helicopter, he didn’t land on the other side of the White House and go back inside.
After four years of neglecting or openly betraying the interests of the DoD rank and file, this cut-rate commissar has been rewarded with the opportunity to continue that neglect and betrayal at taxpayer expense. But the most ironic and eyebrow-raising element of this chicanery is that after refusing to serve a single day in the Trump Administration, she’s now serving at Trump’s pleasure. This is something James’s political benefactors can’t be happy about, which likely explains the DoD foot-dragging in response to Bright Mountain’s media queries. It gave her time to make her apologies.
As for those who believed Trump was genuinely interested in a season of change in national defense, let this be a lesson to you. Politics exists in a zone of moral and principle oblivion. Nothing makes sense, nothing is explained, and once you have political approval (or leverage), failure leads to promotion.
The queen is dead, long live the queen.