A CONSPIRACY THEORY:
The Case of Mira Ricardel and The (Supposedly) About Face of the President
The First Lady demanded an official in the White House to be fired. Who is she?
It turned out she was just a deputy national security adviser, a relatively unknown official until now, in an administration that even second tier members are famous or infamous. I was puzzled. So, I called COUCH.
COUCH: What’s up?
ME: Just want to get your take on the firing of Mira Ricardel.
COUCH: It is indeed an interesting case. You are right that not many people heard of Ms. Ricardel until the First Lady demanded her firing. Many people in Washington who have worked with her agree that she is a tough bureaucratic player with a strong personality, a very smart woman. Her bio includes impressive assignments at the Departments of Defense and State. But she has never held a top job. Only second tier, obviously acting at someone else’s directing.
ME: That’s why I am surprised that she antagonized the First Lady and her office, as if she felt confident and safe doing so.
COUCH: She did not just antagonize the First Lady and her staff. It has been reported that she was the force behind the abolishment of the position of White House cybersecurity chief, the dismissal of another NSA staff. She blocked some nominees wanted by Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, because they were Democrats, meaning not Republican loyalists. She bullied people of lower rankings and butted heads with people above her. And she looks just like a grandmother dressed to go shopping for groceries.
ME: A difficult woman.
COUCH: She is zealous as if she has been sent on a mission.
ME: What do you mean?
COUCH: Remember the deep state that I told you about before?
ME: We do have not regular conversations a la “Tuesday with Morrie” type. But yes, I do remember your theory, or theories.
COUCH: Here are a few things worth noting: She is brilliant but has always been an underling to some other official. She is a daughter of immigrants from Croatia still speaking Croatian at home. I mention this because, as a rule, at least my rule, when you are new in something, you are more zealous than members who have been in that thing longer than you. You are more royal than the king and in this case, more conservative than the conservatives.
COUCH: I just state the rule without going into the “why”, that is for others.
So, she was a good recruit, or candidate, to follow instructions and faithfully execute them.
She claimed to be a Reagan conservative. Nowadays, there is no such denomination in the Republican politics (or at least the Reagan Conservatism has taken a back seat) and because she has proved to be a “republican loyalist”, my theory is that she was sent to the Trump administration to represent that zealous faction, the ultraright if you will. When she picked a fight against a cabinet member, several ranks above her, she had confidence. When she fought the First Lady and her office, she had confidence. Confidence does not happen in a vacuum, and in Washington politics, you are not confident just because you think you are right. You must have support from some quarter that you believe has power over, or at least powerful influence on the outcome of the dispute – in this case the power over, or influence on the White House.
ME: The ultraright deep state?
COUCH: Isn’t it obvious to you?
ME: Now, she is gone, the influence of the ultraright on the White House is waning?
COUCH: I doubt it. They are sophisticated and their operation is octopuslike. One cadre dismissed doesn’t mean the operation is crippled. I doubt that it would make even a tiny difference in their influence or power. But there have been some developments that I find peculiar.
ME: What developments?
COUCH: The president’s kind words for Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Gillum, the Democrats who have been demonized by him. He called Gillum “a cold-stone thief” whatever that means. But now, he is wooing them and by association the Democrats. He has offered help to Nancy Pelosi to become the next Speaker of the House. He highly praised Andrew Gillum. I just wonder what is going on?
ME: The president has been known for changing his positions all the time, more than any politician on the records. What is new about that?
COUCH: When you see a boy and a girl exchanging glances in a crowd, will they be lovers? Will they elope? You can’t know for sure. But one thing you know for sure is there is definitely something there, no matter how ethereal it may be.
The president could probably try to hedge his political future now that the Democrats own the House. Or, is the Republican wind, I wonder, blowing back to the right – Reagan Conservatism – away from the ultraright?
ME: Don’t give me false hope COUCH.
COUCH: We will see.
John P. Le Phong, Attorney at Law