The New McCarthyism

Americans have long demonstrated a distrust of bureaucracy–generally seeing the growth of that managerial cohort as exclusively governmental, although it is typical of any large corporation or organization. More recently, MAGA Republicans have deepened the hostility to government workers by accusing civil servants of being a malevolent “deep state.”

That “deep state” of MAGA imagining is a cabal of anti-American “woke-ism,” dedicated to helping “those people” and restricting the God-given rights of the good White Christian men who are the only “real Americans.” Any government officials with the temerity to block one of Trump’s fever dreams is clearly a member of that “deep state.”

And according to Project 2025, the denizens of the “deep state” must be removed.

The public is gradually becoming aware of Project 2025, the detailed, thousand-page “transition plan” produced by a consortium of far-Right think tanks led by the Heritage Foundation. These culture warriors have (accurately) determined that their Presidential candidate– profoundly ignorant of government and rapidly losing touch with reality–would, if re-elected, be even more incapable of ushering in their desired changes than he was during his first term, so they have come together to provide a road-map.

That road map is filled with horrifying policy positions, a large number of which are (currently) unconstitutional. One of them, as described in the linked report from Talking Points Memo, takes aim at that hated “deep state.” (When I read it, it triggered a vision of Joseph McCarthy waving a paper and claiming he had the names of multiple Commies working for the government…)

The Heritage Foundation is funding the creation of a blacklist of federal government workers who MAGA loyalists claim might obstruct the Trump II agenda, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The work of compiling the list of names of some 100 government employees is being done by a Kentucky fellow named Tom Jones and his American Accountability Foundation. The work is being financed with the help of a $100,000 “Heritage Innovation Prize” from the Heritage Foundation, long a bastion of Reagan conservatism in DC but now fully in MAGA mode. Heritage announced the prize winner back in May, referring to “the presence of anti-American bad actors burrowed into the administrative state.”

In announcing the prize, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts touted it as effort to expose the “Deep State”:

“The weaponization of the federal government under President Joe Biden is only possible because of the deep state of entrenched Leftist bureaucrats in the White House and its agencies. I am proud to support the outstanding work of AAF in their fight to hold our government accountable and drain it of bad actors determined to undermine our constitutional republic and weaponize government against the American people, our economy, and our institutions.”

Notably, the plan is to publish the list online. A doxxing in the public square as it were, with all the obvious historical echoes, as the AP rightly notes:

The public list-making conjures for some the era of Joseph McCarthy, the senator who conducted grueling hearings into suspected communist sympathizers during the Cold War. The hearings were orchestrated by a top staffer, Roy Cohn, who became a confidant of a younger Trump.

As for the criteria used to determine who makes the list and how those criteria are applied, the AP provides this chilling methodology: “They’re relying in part on tips from his network of conservative contacts, including workers.”

Civil service protections are only one of the many, many elements of American government that would be jettisoned by Project 2025. If even a small number of the desired changes were to become law, America would be a profoundly different place–and far less hospitable to women, non-fundamentalist Christians and minorities.

As Congressman Jared Huffman explained,when he announced the creation of a Stop Project 2025 Task Force:

“Project 2025 is more than an idea, it’s a dystopian plot that’s already in motion to dismantle our democratic institutions, abolish checks and balances, chip away at church-state separation, and impose a far-right agenda that infringes on basic liberties and violates public will.

Project 2025 advocates placing all government workers– including employees of independent agencies like the Department of Justice– under direct presidential control, allowing the president to “efficiently” implement policies in a number of areas. Civil service employees would be replaced by “loyal” political appointees.

In other words, Separation of Powers would be replaced with a “streamlined” dictatorship.

So much for those silly Founders, and their devotion to “checks and balances”…Meanwhile, people upset with Biden’s debate performance want to replace him, a mere ten weeks before early voting starts.  They are mimicking Nero, who–you will recall– fiddled while Rome burned.


  1. After yesterday, I fear the sh*t has hit the fan. SCOTUS is out of the closet and it looks like there is no end to the damage they can inflict. Checks and balances are gone.

  2. “So much for those silly Founders, and their devotion to “checks and balances”…Meanwhile, people upset with Biden’s debate performance want to replace him, a mere ten weeks before early voting starts. They are mimicking Nero, who–you will recall– fiddled while Rome burned.”

    SCOTUS has had their last word; will it mean the end of our beginning or the beginning of our end.

    As for me; I will wear my FUCK TRUMP tee shirt on my walk through my Trump infested neighborhood today. Taking advantage while I still have freedom of speech.

  3. Forgot to add I will be wearing my sunflower bucket hat to support U.S. military aid to Ukraine!

  4. Any questions about declaring martial law? Any questions about declaring a clear and present danger? What is happening has happened before. And permissiveness has run rampant. Everything and anything is permissible. If everything is permissible, it doesn’t take long for the rot to start. It’s okay to live in an alternate reality, hey! Why not! President Wilson played footsie with the KKK, and had even screened birth of a Nation at the White House. And thought it was excellent.

    What’s coming is not going to be pleasant. It might seem pleasant for some, just as fascism seemed to be the way around putting up with others not like you. JB is a decent fellow. But kumbaya is definitely not going to get anything done. Except maybe a knife in the back. Look, even Barack Obama noticed the issue and commented on it concerning his former VP. If you look at the tail of the tape, the person who was VP then and the person who is POTUS now, are not the same folks.

    Clinging to a system is like a remora that attaches itself to a shark. They eat good because the shark eats good, and there are plenty of scraps. Until, the orca rips the liver out of the shark. Now, you have remora swimming all over the place with no direction and about to be dinner for other predators.

    In politics, there are sharks, there are remoras, and there are orcas. What seems to be the best to attach yourself to? Remora’s do not attach themselves to orcas because orcas are mammals and they’ll eat the remora. So which political party represents any one of the three mentioned here? Which party would rip your liver out? And who would be the remora? We all live on the scraps government decides to let float down to the bottom. Whether the shark or the orca eats the remora, the others will suck up the scraps of their comrade! Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    There better be a plan of action, because, we’re all fixin to get ett, either whole or in pieces! Whichever is the party in charge, when the decision is made take over, are going to eat the whole enchilada! And there will be no scraps, except what the party decides. And to get those scraps, what would you be willing to do?

  5. At this point, my hope is that Judge Chutkan starts holding evidentiary hearings, making everything that Jack Smith has public. SCOTUS might not have issued the decision, if they weren’t sure that the current occupant of the office wouldn’t take advantage of the ruling. Turn the tables on them.

    God help us if Orange Jesus is re-elected!

  6. Deep State? It’s part of the plan to destroy the Constitution. Look at how the Trump acolytes perfectly parallel Hitler’s Nazi party operatives. Stephen Miller = Joseph Goebbels. Steve Bannon = Martin Bormann. Do you need any MORE evidence? Listen to what they say they’re going to do. What else should send chills up your spine?

    Then there is SCOTUS. Republicans have finally gotten all their moles in place on the courts – thanks to the idiocy of Mitch McConnell, et. al.

  7. it may not end with just gov employees. why end there. suppose the voice of many and the blog of a few gets put on a commie list? will the new deep state decide a free voice against their views become a insurgency against this new turd it cant be called a goverment,(ill ask here what it would be called).. is social media a new witch list, and how far will the heritage found go? the ignorance behind trumps face is opposite ,nothing like the heritage foundations,and its minions of other networks becoming a reich chancellery.will they send us maybe not to a death camps (private enslavement camps,for profit)but to slavery to who ever decided our democracy wasnt theirs. this is akin to a insurgency, a take over by another now political party,the heritage foundation. coup, call it what you want, its taking over our goverment by outside forces. the fact is money has become power, and this isnt a cheap trick. these fools keep saying reagans dream this and that. as to give creadence to their movement. its not giving them shit. reagans dream was not a communist/nazi style pustch. all in all, hes dead and stinking. ..we can be thankful we seen the past,read it,studied it and be damn if were to live it again. here we have a past president who without a doubt caused the nations first real on the capital insurgency. he leads the coup to take over the goverment at any cost. now since this is a law style blog, where in the hell can we charge these traitors with treason? and how do we disbar the many who mangle words to kill a democracy?

  8. The administrative bureaucracy is not the deep state. If anything, it is the checks and balances against the oligarchy, which is why Charles Koch wants it gone. He can’t make enough money with all these regulations due to “junk science.”

    The MAGA nuts use pictures of landmarks in the 20s and then today showing the ocean at the same level to prove that climate change is a hoax. I provided a link to a NOAA study on climate change, and they couldn’t understand why I believed in some scientists instead of my own eyes. LOL

    When I show them an AP article debunking their pictured meme, they say you can’t trust the news media. I guess you can trust Fox, Beck, Bannon, and Alex. In addition, there are thousands of podcasts for right-wingers who frighten the hell out of listeners and sell plans to build a bunker in their backyard.

    I explained that the ocean has high and low tides, so pictures don’t consider these. They tell me to FO.

    Whoever thinks we will educate this level of stupidity is delusional and naive. And remember, JB’s goal was to work with these yahoos, dragging Washington further to the right. JB abandoned the entire left wing to make deals with Mike Johnson and the GOP; instead of revolting against JB, the left-wing acquiesced by supporting JB. Even AOC said to vote for JB even though he is committing genocide, sending billions to Ukraine, and starting a war against China, and most likely in the Middle East against Lebanon, Yemen, and Iran.

    Project 2025 requires a closer look, especially if it comes from the Heritage Foundation. Charles Koch keeps that foundation afloat, so P2025 would be a wish list for Koch and ALEC. Just a reminder, Obama’s “progressive” ACA (Obamacare) came directly from the Heritage Foundation. Obama had the majority in the Senate and House and didn’t even try to approve a more progressive health plan.

    The puppets in Washington work for the same oligarchy, including the Israeli PACs.

  9. “That “deep state” of MAGA imagining is a cabal of anti-American “woke-ism,” dedicated to helping “those people” and restricting the God-given rights of the good White Christian men who are the only “real Americans.” Any government officials with the temerity to block one of Trump’s fever dreams is clearly a member of that “deep state.””

    This is so succinctly stated I had to repeat it here.

    Magaminds apparently cannot grasp that Trump is a dictator. That’s all he knows and all he does. Or maybe they do, and that’s what they want: absolute power.

    During his previous term, he got the Supreme Court to agree with that concept. He reduced them to a clerical function, just checking the work of others and avoiding all responsibility to the country.

    He has the House acting like his minions now.

    Now, his next goal is to replace God.

  10. Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrette are doing an excellent job of fulfilling Project 25’s desires. They are probably members of the Heritage Foundation and most likely attend secret meetings with members of their C-Suite. These six creatures have created the Supreme Bullshit Court!

  11. Yes chatman needs to move, and quickly, and JB needs to take some reasonable advantage of the wide berth SCOTUS has just given him.
    This is the kind of time when I wish Karma were a real thing, McConnell as a dung beetle would be lovely!

  12. The way to beat this is with a new DEM ticket. We need a younger, healthier set of strong fierce courageous leaders to show those “sometimes voters” that real CHANGE is needed. And that ticket has to pull no punches about what is at stake and what they intend to do about it. How about Mitch Landrieu for President (in deep red Louisiana he took down all the Confederate monuments in New Orleans) and Gretchen “boss lady” for VP? No DC trail; no “coastal elites”, just main street folks from our real country.

  13. Trump need not be president, though that would fulfill hs grand desire. It may be enough if he is in control of the Supreme court and one or both Houses of the congress. We have seen and are seeing the mayhem he is practicing on our democracy with his current control of the House and the Supreme Court, and just imagaine if he were to be awarded a grand sweep of the political landscape!

    To do? Vote, and bring Uncle Harold and Aunt Mary with you.

  14. Per HCR: These decisions are a legal coup. The President gets licensed to do what s/he wants, then after the fact, the SCOTUS has empowered themselves as the arbiter of what is within her/his official functions. Of course, the action is done long before and its consequences may likely be irreversible.
    We don’t have a single king. We have 6, acting with the financial and political backing of billionaires from around the world, feeding the greed, ego and hubris of these treasonous people.
    Loyalty oaths, religious litmus tests? What next? Tattoos to insure we identify those of us with suspect ideas?

  15. The monied and positioned power brokers behind Trump do indeed want absolute power, and if that means taking down our constitutional form of government to get it, then that is what they will do… what they ARE doing. But what they want is not what the MAGA voters behind them want. All those voters wants is a change in the outcomes of the present government as those outcomes APPEAR to affect them personally.
    Those voters have been groomed by the right wing media to see themselves as victims who must rise up to get back to some imagined America of the 1950s where housing and cars were cheap and pay was good: an America where the wife stayed home and did as was told. And don’t talk about Black America of the 1950s because if they could get that back they would.
    All of those days are behind us now, and the only way to recreate them is through a dictatorship. Toward that end these MAGA voters refuse to see that their leaders are moving them and us in that direction now. Will they wake up in time to keep their freedom? Or will they blindly follow their own ignorance and greed into an abyss?

  16. Said today in the Boston Globe:

    If the Democratic Party were a publicly traded company, the mishandling of the presidential nomination process by its board of directors — the Democratic National Committee — would likely have sparked a revolt by investors. Here’s how an activist investor might respond.

    To: Jaime Harrison, chair, Democratic National Committee

    Joe Biden has always been a fighter. But it’s time to stop fighting.
    The Biden we saw on Thursday night is not capable of being president for another four years
    After a brutal debate, Democrats stick by Biden — for now
    Re: Thanks for nothing

    A lifelong Democrat, I’ve voted for each and every one of our party’s presidential nominees since 1980 — sometimes enthusiastically, other times not. I think I’ve pulled the lever for exactly one Republican in an election at any level: Bill Weld, for governor of Massachusetts. And he might as well have been one of us. (Even the Globe endorsed him in 1990.)

    But my loyalty — and the loyalty of millions of Democrats like me — is being sorely tested by the failure of you and the rest of the DNC leadership to hold President Biden to his implicit campaign pledge to serve one term.

    “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Biden said in 2020 while campaigning in Detroit with Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.”

    Many voters backed Biden four years ago not because he was their favorite Democrat in the primaries. We did so because he looked like the best bet to beat Donald Trump.

    His game plan was clear: win, return some sense of normalcy to a country exhausted by COVID and Trump, then step aside for that new generation of leaders when the next election came around.

    OK, Biden never said the words “one term only.” But c’mon, Jaime, that’s what we all understood to be the deal when we jumped on the bandwagon. It was the concession Biden knew was necessary to win over voters deeply uneasy about handing the White House to the oldest person ever.

    The Democratic Party isn’t a company, but you are in the business of winning elections. Biden is the CEO, so I get it: he has a lot of power.

    But I see you and the other DNC leaders as board members. Your responsibility — your fiduciary duty, if you will — is to protect the interests of all Democrats, not just the president’s.

    You failed miserably. If this were a company, an activist investor would launch a proxy fight to replace you all.

    The past three years were the time to develop a succession plan. To give the party’s younger stars the green light to build national profiles. To confront the hard truth that the vice president probably isn’t POTUS material.

    And, most important, it was the time to persuade the soon-to-be-octogenarian CEO that a younger, more energetic candidate would offer an even stronger alternative to Trump.

    Instead, you went along with the high-risk decision by Biden to try to cheat time. You ignored millions of Americans who complained he was too old for the office. Ezra Klein of The New York Times summed it up nicely on Sunday, writing that the party is “giving the American people an option they do not want and then threatening them with the end of democracy if they do not take it.”

    It’s an awfully cynical way to treat customers/voters.

    The high price of your recklessness was made painfully apparent by the debate debacle. Biden cemented everyone’s worst fears about his ability to campaign effectively — and run the country if reelected.

    Now the party has two options, neither appealing. You can stick with a severely wounded candidate and pray enough voters just can’t go with Trump. Or you and others can try to convince Biden that after doing an admirable job, his crowning service to the country would be to bow out.

    I’m disappointed that Biden chose to run again. I’m mad as hell that you, the Democratic establishment, stood by and let it happen.

    Win or lose in November, you should all resign.

  17. Capturing “the narrative” with catch phrases has been one of the GOP’s talents, with the “deep state” being one of them, simplifying what is complex in order to create an image that it can knock down. The GOP and its “groupees,” at all levels, have done the same, with titles that promise and mislead, indicating America will be saved by, say, “Americans for Prosperity,” etc…. Understanding the reason, not to mention the need, for a bureaucracy, as Sheila points out, in any large organization or institution is a no-brainer except, of course, for those who choose to give it a name that allows for its demonization.

  18. For those trying to define the year where MAGA makes sense, you need to understand the history of Charles Koch and his daddy. The years would be from the early to the late 1930s when FDR became POTUS and instituted the New Deal over several years.

    If you look at what happened in the New Deal, FDR created and expanded the administrative state – agencies charged with holding the oligarchy accountable. FDR had socialists/communists in one ear and the oligarchy in the other. The rumor is he told the oligarchs that you either allow me to cut this deal or I’ll let the communists in the labor union take down the goose who lays the golden eggs – capitalism. The oligarchs agreed, obviously, but it cost them profits, and they paid higher taxes, and regulations were imposed.

    Koch’s daddy’s business lost a lot of money, so Charles and David Koch spent their whole life trying to eliminate the programs created by the New Deal. I haven’t researched P2025 yet, but this is most likely the culmination of Koch’s life works.,U.S.%20from%20the%20Great%20Depression.

  19. Is a poor debate performance the sole criterion by which Biden is to be judged fit for office, or are we to consider the most dominant presidential performance since FDR to be considered as well, especially with a House sold out to Trump on such matters as the Senate passage of a migration solution that was turned down by the House on admittedly political grounds! Age over experience? I have been voting for Democratic presidents since Truman. Perhaps we should reserve our vitriol for Republicans and their leader who prefer dictatorship over democracy.

  20. Given the examples cited by the Supreme Court as actions that would be covered by immunity, Richard Nixon would have been immune from prosecution and not have needed a pardon. Under the current environment, Nixon would undoubtedly have served out his term.

    Note that the decision is also not saying the actions of the president aren’t necessarily illegal, just that the president is immune from prosecution for them.

    It’s been a particularly bad week for the USA. And, by extension, the world.

  21. Gerald,
    Unfortunately, due to deliberate (and mostly ignored by a Democratic party splintered into factions) civic education and critical thinking have been long gone in our public education. The result is that few folks under 50 know or understand “the most dominant presidential performance since FDR”. They are overwhelmed with fear, screen drugs and the incessant optics of prices. It is not as though most will vote GOP. They just won’t vote at all. They are sick of “politics” and , supported by the “if it bleeds, it leads” media and don’t think a vote means anything. They don’t remember Hitler or have any real idea what that was all about.

  22. When going into a debate if you’re taking meds for a cold (antihistamines) they tend to slow you down. I’m saying that from my experience as RN. On the other hand, the opponent seemed to be hyped up, I wonder what he was on?
    HCR noted that SCOTUS immunity decision is a legal coup and it’s clear that the majority of the court is the trump court. It’s also a booby trap for Biden since only SCOTUS decides what’s an official act.
    HCR also said the press isn’t going to help us, every story has turned into sensationalism to capture more of an audience.
    Maga is an extremist minority that threatens the majority of Americans and our rule of law, and it’s going to take the majority to vote them out.

  23. Imagine for a minute Trump is re-elected. Now, if for some reason, our country would need a Nuremberg Court trial to review the evidence of the lawless atrocities and vengeance acts a Trump 2nd term would manifest (they, in fact, confess their motives in public and print), a Nuremberg Court WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The Supreme Court has declared that NO President will see the inside of a court room… EVER.
    As a veteran I ask, what does that do to “taking an Oath” to “defend and protect our Constitution”??? Quite frankly, that oath was made meaningless by SCOTUS yesterday. Those “laws” we honored to protect and defend have literally been replaced, pushed aside and put away. My head and heart are STILL shaking today. How many of our men and women DIED, needlessly it seems, to keep alive an “idea” of freedom and equality under LAW that is now the sole possession of one person: The President??? I use to say, “always remember January 6th, 2021.” Well folks, “always remember July 1, 2024.”

  24. In evaluating the performance of Trump versus Biden in their recent “exchange of
    views” I think a case can be made that the performance of Trump with his insane braggadocico (vain boasting) and failure to engage in any of the real issues facing the country represents a better look at who should resign from his apparent likelihood to be the Republican candidate for president, or with the help of the Supreme Court, for Dictator.

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