(KEY OFF) resident (KEYWORD) Carter has the resources of the U.S. Treasury - and a couple of thousand dedicated loyalists in key federal spots - to help in his uphill battle against TWE (The Washington Establishment).
The TWE IS, depending on who does the defining, most of the press, or perhaps uncooperative members of Congress. Sometimes it includes labor leaders, sometimes business leaders. But it always, always, includes everybody's favorite whipping person: The Bureaucracy.
Nationally, the TWE probably ranks below incest and only slightly above poison ivy or arson on the list of things Americans deplore and fear.
Like nearly all his predecessors, Carter has decided that the good things he wants to do for America are being blocked or bent out of shape by TWE. This, he thinks, is largely responsible for our national lack of self-confidence, which in turn contributes mightily to inflation, recession and the high price of unleaded gasoline.
In the past TWE has been blamed for starting wars, causing unemployment, wrecking the stock market, destroying the quality of life and causing baldness.
This is not to say that presidents who campaign against TWE are wrong. But it does get tedious for people lumped into it. Criticism of the establishment reminds one of the cynical police inspector in the movie "Casablanca," who, after hearing of a crime, advises his men to "round up the usual suspects."
The point of all this is that if you are a bureaucraft - wheather a State Department career policy-maker or a Social Security claims clerk in Podunk - you are one of the usual suspects. And the roundup has begun.
Presidents who run against the establishment, and particularly the bureaucracy, try to look like Davids up against crafty, dirty-fighting Goliaths. That isn't necessarily so.
The power of the bureaucracy to make or break a president is greatly overrated. If it were really that tough, presidents would stroke it and try to buy it rather than criticize it at every opportunity.
In fact, in terms of clout, presidents - especially those with prospects of reelection - have a lot of things going for them in their battle against the government they head.
Presidents can demand television coverage and draw 30 million viewers. The "loyal opposition" in its equal-time rebuttal is lucky to get the same audience that will sit still through a four-hour "quality" show without sex, violence or commercials, which allow time for kitchen or bathroom visits.
Presidents also can use the tremendous public relations apparatus of the federal establishment. It is an operation so big that nobody can put a value on it or estimate the number of people, typewriters, press releases or dollars it represents.
In charge of this massive PR program - despite the rebellious or churlish drones in the bureaucracy - are several thousands political appointees who owe their jobs to the president or his designees. Those officials, mostly concentrated in Washington and 10 other major cities, are now being rated in terms of quality, enthusiasm and loyalty via White House report cards.
Those officials have access to unlimited travel funds and media outlets; which make them a formidable opponent even for the establishment's 2 million career federal workers.
In addition to career employes who are supposed to do what they are told by political appointees, the White House has the following midlevel and top-level political aides who work directly for the president:
Agriculture Department, 136; Commerce, 200; Energy, 181; Interior, 124; Labor, 121; State, 99; Treasury, 72; Defense, 224; Housing and Urban Development, 161; Health, Education and Welfare, 219; Justice, 148; Transportation, 118. All other agencies, 1,005.
Considering their strategic placement, loyalty to the president and unlimited resources, that group represents an awful lot of Davids to go up against the bureaucratic Goliaths who work for them.