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Memories of Living in the ‘Deep State’

Recent talk about the “deep state,” with its suggestion of machinations being carried out by stealthy federal administrators, brings to mind my life in a Washington suburb in the late 1980s.

From 1986 until we moved to Pennsylvania in 1990, my family and I resided in a part of Bethesda bordering on Rockville (or was it a part of Rockville bordering on Bethesda?).

From there I commuted every day to work as senior editor of The World and I, a gargantuan monthly put out by the Washington Times Corporation that eventually folded. Being in Washington was not an entirely negative experience. Most of my colleagues and the authors whom we paid to write for us were decent sorts. And I made some friendships that have survived until the present day. But there were other things that I found intolerable about living near our nation’s capital, for example, the commute each way through twenty miles of traffic and the generally sterile Washington environment. I was certainly not exaggerating when in the autobiographical part of my recent anthology of essays [1], Revisions and Dissents, I stated that for me, living in a Washington suburb was “a foretaste of Hell.” After being there for a few weeks, I came to the conclusion that someone who enjoyed life in Washington “must be either a political junkie or someone who is being paid huge wads of money for stress-laden time.”

Most of the restaurants I frequented or agreed to meet people at were appallingly overpriced and usually served mediocre food. They reminded me of Woody Allen’s quip [2] about two disgruntled, elderly Jewish ladies at a Catskill hotel. One complained, “This food is terrible.” The other observed: “I know and such small portions!” There may be exceptions to this general impression, but during my years in Washington, I rarely dined in a pleasant, moderately priced restaurant. And let me express another gripe: In New York, Boston, San Francisco, and even Chicago and Philadelphia, one encounters lots of artsy types or at least interesting eccentrics, but in D.C., most of those who filled the Metro and other places where Washingtonians (assuming such humans exist) congregate, were depressingly uninteresting. They worked mostly in public administration, or were lobbyists.

 Each time I plunged into a Metro train, I found myself surrounded by administrators on their way to work in their “official clothing,” which consisted of dull-looking sports jackets and equally faded trousers. These commuters were usually self-importantly preoccupied with their briefcases. While on the train, I welcomed the tourists who dropped in from the American hinterlands. These visitors brought if nothing else sartorial variation and inquisitive faces. The District closed down after work hours, and although there were some signs of nocturnal life around Dupont Circle on weekends, what there was of urban activity, seemed mostly correlated to the operation of Congress and the myriad government offices. The observation that I heard repeatedly that “Washington is a company town, and the company is the federal government” was unfortunately all too true.

From all reports, the “company town” has developed a more interesting nightlife, particularly for the under-thirty crowd, than what I found there in the 1980s. But from my travels to Washington since I moved away in the late 1980s, it seems that its social and cultural appeal is much less than what is available in other major American cities and certainly in at least a half dozen European capitals.

It is entirely possible that some of my readers may have a much more positive impression of Washington and its environs. They may find that what for me amounted to a human desert to be a warm, charming society featuring excellent cuisine and perpetually stimulating company. I won’t deny that human tastes and experiences differ, but on the basis of living in the Washington burbs for five years, I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a less congenial living space. And that’s even without factoring in the summer humidity and the Monsoon season, which started sometime in August and which left the ground floor of our ridiculously overpriced split-level flooded with dirty, fetid water.

But I still haven’t explained what I disliked most about my Washington suburban domicile, which ran off a congested onetime country road with the misleadingly bucolic name of Tuckerman Lane. The worst part of this residential experience were my neighbors, who with few exceptions, identified themselves with this sentence: “I work for our government.” Those who uttered this were stiff and arrogant and almost always pronounced themselves for the “Left,” or for whatever was fashionably leftist at the time. Of course I did know some “Reagan conservatives” who worked for the feds. Most of them were amiable hypocrites, who claimed to be collecting salaries as government bureaucrats because they were trying to “end the era of big government.” These “conservative” administrators were often living in bad faith, but were certainly not power-hungry. They just didn’t level about why they stayed in Washington, and they were enamored of what they imagined was the social prestige that their presence there brought. Their interests, however, were rather modest, and they seemed ecstatic when someone noticed them in a cushy armchair at the Cosmos Club or in a prominent place among the attendees at a Heritage lecture. Such social successes may have outweighed for them all the discomfort of living in a humid swamp among their political enemies.

But their leftist counterparts, who physically surrounded me “at home,” were far more unsettling. They were out of touch with most Americans but imagined they understood what was best for all of us. Although their salaries have undoubtedly gone up substantially since 1986 or 1987, I doubt most of these neighbors earned more than modest incomes when I lived near them, even with both spouses working. Most of their houses were bungalows and located in developments or sub-developments, but what these neighbors lacked in emoluments, they made up in chutzpah. Just as our Deplorables rightly suspect, these “public servants” loathed gun owners, religious Christians, and the residents of fly-over country. Their fellow-citizen were there to be “regulated,” and these experts hoped to make all economic transactions rational and humane.

In all the time I spent in their midst, I never perceived any of these neighbors sitting on a front porch. One usually had to reach them by phone or by leaving messages on an intercom system.  They did manage to produce offspring, about 1.5 per couple, but one rarely espied their young, unless they were being taken to an “activity.” Needless to say, these “activities” always involved interacting with others of the same social background. Except for a sprinkling of Koreans, I never discerned members of other races participating in these “activities,” when I took my own children to them. But the obvious racial and social self-segregation of these neighbors did not prevent them from loudly lamenting the low-class white bigots, whom they intended to re-educate.    

What I concluded from these encounters and from my sojourn in the Washington suburbs is that the deep state has true loyalists. I once lived among them, even if the ones I knew were often near the lower end of the administrative pecking order. Unlike the Reagan appointees of my acquaintance (except for the neoconservatives), these were serious people and jealous of their right to regulate our lives. They were not just filling office space or trying to get their friends to notice them hanging around the Cosmos or Metropolitan Club. They lived for power as a form of self-validation and were willing to put up with all sorts of annoyances in order to exercise it.

Their contemporary equivalents hate and fear Trump and have every reason to bring him down. And that’s not because these “public servants” are outraged by his social vulgarity. They’re afraid Trump might mean business about “draining the swamp,” and they’re understandably irritated that he rules by executive order and through cabinet secretaries who are not in harmony with the permanent government. Because of their network of support, extending to the major media, leftist and neoconservative publicists, and major educational institutions, the deep state holds a very good hand.

If I were a betting man, I’d wager on this crowd remaining around and conspiring in Washington long after The Donald returned to Trump Tower.

Paul Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for twenty-five years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale PhD. He writes for many websites and scholarly journals and is the author of thirteen books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents. His books have been translated into multiple languages and seem to enjoy special success in Eastern Europe.

39 Comments (Open | Close)

39 Comments To "Memories of Living in the ‘Deep State’"

#1 Comment By Nelson On August 10, 2017 @ 1:01 am

But there were other things that I found intolerable about living near our nation’s capital, for example, the commute each way through twenty miles of traffic and the generally sterile Washington environment.

Man, I wish more conservatives would criticize the car culture of suburbia. Out here in Arizona it seems that if you’re not in favor of endless sprawl and complain about needing a car to get anywhere then conservatives (which is to say most of the citizens of this state) will view you as a deplorable Commie.

#2 Comment By William Burns On August 10, 2017 @ 7:10 am

All of this may be true, but one would be interested in an article from one of Paul Gottfried’s suburban neighbors about what they thought about him.

#3 Comment By Daniel C On August 10, 2017 @ 9:13 am

I don’t think this author actually knows what the deep state is. Its members certainly don’t live in Bethesda, they live in NoVa. I believe that what the author describes is know as a “bureaucrat”.

#4 Comment By midtown On August 10, 2017 @ 9:36 am

My time in the DC areas was a bit later than yours, but I rather liked DC. You are correct that it is filled with liberals — I had to keep my head down about politics. The traffic was awful, too. But there were many interesting things to do and interesting restaurants to eat at, and there was a decent conservative presence (in Virginia — why would you ever live in MD?)

As for the weather, well, I grew up near a literal humid swamp. DC was practically a high plains desert by my estimation. My first Memorial Day there, the high temp was in the 50s, and everyone wore sweatshirts to the picnic. That isn’t a humid swamp.

#5 Comment By SteveM On August 10, 2017 @ 9:39 am

Professor Gottfried describes only half of the Leviathan. A parallel universe that is the Security State occupies the other side of the Potomac in Northern Virginia. HHS and EPA Liberals live in Tacoma Park, Security State Conservatives live in McLean.

And the Security State sub-culture is just as self-absorbed and self-reinforcing. The magic phrase in Security State Washington that confers instant respectability is not “I work for our government.” it’s “I’m retired military.” which probably means now a government contractor greased into a job at a DoD program office via the perpetual revolving door of soft corruption suffused throughout the Security State apparatus. And collectively wasting BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars doing mindless PowerPoint engineering in support of gamed studies and analysis.

And re: “If I were a betting man, I’d wager on this crowd remaining around and conspiring in Washington long after The Donald returned to Trump Tower.”

Agree. And about Security State Washington on the opposite side of the Potomac, I’d wager even more…

#6 Comment By local On August 10, 2017 @ 10:18 am

Apparently writing for a newspaper for 5 years back in the 80s makes one an expert on all things DC? Gimme a break.

#7 Comment By Cash On August 10, 2017 @ 10:29 am

Paul, all I need to know about you is you worked for the World and I. A propaganda magazine with the dimensions of a big city phone book. Nobody read it and I always wondered what its writers and editors thought they were doing. (For readers who aren’t familiar, World and I looks like an 800-page glossy magazine produced by the North Koreans or East Germans.)

So what were you doing working for World and I? That’s far more interesting than your ho-hum observations about Washington in the Reagan years. The pay had to have been fantastic — why else work there?

#8 Comment By Hypnos On August 10, 2017 @ 10:36 am

30 years on, Washington DC now has:

* One of the best ethnic food scenes in the US

* More diversity you can shake a stick at

* A burgeoning tech sector

The immediate suburbs are definitely liberal, but I can assure you they are much less smug than elsewhere on the East Coast or in California.

#9 Comment By FL Transplant On August 10, 2017 @ 10:47 am

I also lived in the DC metro area in the 80s (as well as the 70s, 90, and 00s).

This guy disses DC and lives in E-Town? The E-Town that makes DC of the 80s the world’s most cosmopolitan, vibrant, lively city by comparison? Dude, I know E-Town–it ain’t even close to DC, even the DC of the 80s.

Look, it the guy wants to throw down on DC, be my guest. But he should really avoid drivel like this. And shame on him if he wasn’t able to take advantage of the Kennedy Center (did he ever even consider attending any functions there?), the Smithsonian and other museums, hit any of the clubs, visit any taverns, do anything other than commute to and from the suburban home and neighborhood he hated. From the way he describes his life he may as well have lived in Crystal City or Rosslyn, spent his life either at work or hiding in his high-rise apartment, and complained about how dismal his time in DC was.

I’ve got news for the good professor–when you live in the suburbs you find suburban living. Suburban living doesn’t highly prize the lifestyle he obviously was looking for. Not in DC, not in Atlanta, not in Chicago or Dallas/Fort Worth or Orange County or Phoenix or any other metro area in the nation.

Actually, his article reads like he desperately wanted to live in one of those European socialist paradises–Rome, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin…those cities full of life 24/7.

At least his dismissal of DC helps explain why The Washington Times folded as a local paper and has been reduced to an on-line screed–with that attitude towards the area it purported to serve no wonder no one actually read the rag that did nothing but trash the locals it was “informing”.

#10 Comment By Winston On August 10, 2017 @ 10:54 am

D.C. in the 80’s was a dull company town full of smug, striving liberals…

whereas D.C. in the 90’s was a dull company town full of smug, striving liberals…

whereas D.C. in the 00’s was a dull company town full of smug, striving liberals…

whereas D.C. in the 10’s is a dull company town full of smug, striving liberals…

2016 DC Presidential Election Vote

Clinton 90.5%
Trump 4.1%

#11 Comment By Slugger On August 10, 2017 @ 10:59 am

Low to mid level bureaucrats commute to work wearing dull clothes and carrying briefcases are a foretaste of Hell? Dante had me expecting something more dramatic.

#12 Comment By Krzysztof Hołubicki On August 10, 2017 @ 11:03 am

Excellent description of DC environment.
I often listen to Robert D. Steele, ex-CIA, who was a candidate for the Reform Party’s nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election and is a co-founder of #UNRIG project now. He frequently explains what the Deep State is and what is not cos he worked for the Deep State. So according to him “DS is not unelected bureaucrats of two-party tyranny. It is actually the Rothschilds, the Vatican, the city of London, Wall Street bankers who work for the Rothschilds.”
the source of the quote is this interview (1:30 min): [3]

#13 Comment By Gary Keith Chesterton On August 10, 2017 @ 11:20 am

I grew up in DC and lived there from 1962 until I moved to Miami Beach last fall. I still have my town house on Capitol Hill, right across the street from the RNC. I love my home town, and I’ll tell you that the arts scene alone is much better than you think.

#14 Comment By Will Saunders On August 10, 2017 @ 11:24 am

A lot of opinion and very little fact.

#15 Comment By sglover On August 10, 2017 @ 11:26 am

If Gottfried had ever been interested in anything beyond shoring up his own prejudices, he might have noticed that the DC area also hosts a variety of scientific and cultural enterprises that will be remembered long, long after the Rev. Moon’s publishing adventures are forgotten. Goddard Space Flight Center, Dumbarton Oaks, a little thing called the Smithsonian Institution — has Gottfried ever heard of any of these? I’m pretty sure that even 30-40 years ago they were around, and open to the public.

I wonder if Gottfried is even vaguely aware that what really goosed the growth of the DC metro area was the sainted Reagan. As other comments mention, the closest thing to the real Deep State is over in Northern Virginia. Places like Crystal City sprouted on a bed of Reagan-era Pentagon money.

I guess Gottfried’s nattering grudges are just another installment of TAC’s ongoing Cranky Old Guys Vent series. If it weren’t for Larison, TAC wouldn’t be worth a visit.

#16 Comment By Paul Clayton, aka Van Ripplewink On August 10, 2017 @ 11:48 am

Very interesting piece, Dr. Gottfried. I especially like this; it speaks volumes, “I work for our government.” You get the sense that the ‘our’ doesn’t include you and I, but only them of the ‘deep state.’ Also, your closing comment about the ‘managerial state’ being around and conspiring (against ‘the people’) long after Trump returns to private life… you may be right. But I prefer to believe, as Murray Rothbard evidently did — as you tell us in Encounters — that, “once the scales have been lifted from their (the peoples’) eyes, they would choose liberty over big-government.” Not being a complete Pollyanna, I know all the people will not, however, I’m wagering that enough of them will, for by then many will clearly see liberty slipping away and the battle will be on.

#17 Comment By Will Rogers On August 10, 2017 @ 1:04 pm

Gee, someone who worked for a Moon owned Washington Times publication creeped out by people appearing to be liberals. Seems like a lot of irony there.
I think an education in the deep state and who benefits from it is in order for Mr. Gottfried.

#18 Comment By Room 237 On August 10, 2017 @ 1:20 pm

I lived in DC from 1994 to 2000. My feeling is that for all the pearl clutching from my fellow conservatives, the “Deep State” is far more “Yes Minister” than “Men in Black”.

The food scene was a bot better when I was there as gentrification began in earnest in the District. Though my favorite place always was the red sauce “Cafe Italia” in Arlington.

#19 Comment By sglover On August 10, 2017 @ 1:36 pm

Krzysztof Hołubicki says:

“DS is not unelected bureaucrats of two-party tyranny. It is actually the Rothschilds, the Vatican, the city of London, Wall Street bankers who work for the Rothschilds.”

Uh-huh. You left out the Masons. But you seem to be the kind of reader TAC is determined to cultivate.

Paul Clayton, aka Van Ripplewink says:

I especially like this; it speaks volumes, “I work for our government.” You get the sense that the ‘our’ doesn’t include you and I, but only them of the ‘deep state.’

Yeah and it might speak even more volumes if even one person had actually said it, ever. I’ve lived inside the Beltway (**gasp!!**) for more than 20 years now. I have never heard Gottfried’s weird phrase. Ask a fed where he works, and he’ll reply “I work at Commerce” or “I work at NIST” or “I work at the FDA”. Just as, when I lived in Detroit, autoworkers would say, “I work for GM” or “I work at the Rouge plant” or “I work at the Chrysler Jefferson plant”. Never, “I work in our automotive sector”.

Any civil servant who did say “I work for our government” was yanking Gottfried’s chain. But like any good Rev. Moon employee, Gottfried apparently can’t tell when he’s being put on.

#20 Comment By Crprod On August 10, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

I would agree with sglover, particularly the final paragraph although sometimes there are links to other sites that are interesting.

#21 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On August 10, 2017 @ 2:50 pm

Professor Gottfied, don’t you think the deep state has an underlying philosophy or quasi-philosophy, and that the most likely holder of that job is Straussianism? I wonder about that, and I’m looking for Carnes Lord’s *The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know Now* to see if there are any echoes in it off any sort of deep state philosophy.

This is pure speculation on my part. It remains to be seen whether there is anything to the link between the nefarious deep state and the nefarious–indeed nihilistic–left coast Straussians.

#22 Comment By Old West On August 10, 2017 @ 3:48 pm

I can’t comment on DC itself, but aspersions cast on “The World and I” are unfair, in my opinion. I got a few free issues (as a starving student, I was too poor to afford a subscription), and found the content to be quite good, with a lot of depth. Granted, with decades of seasoning under my belt, I might not be as impressed now, but I thought it was a good publication — one could do a lot worse, both then and now. I also thought the giant format was an interesting experiment.

#23 Comment By A thinker and proactive doer On August 10, 2017 @ 4:57 pm

This is very keen observation about Washington:
They were out of touch with most Americans but imagined they understood what was best for all of us.

And helps one understand how disparate the liberal media (Clinton supporters) were from the pulse of “Middle America” but really any place outside of the major metropolises on the east and west coasts.

#24 Comment By Dale On August 10, 2017 @ 6:23 pm

Wow. The author sounds like one unhappy person.

#25 Comment By Alan On August 10, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

Outstanding article! Pure gold! Thank you!

#26 Comment By Alan On August 10, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

Nelson, living in AZ myself, the other side of the coin is this: In my town, it’s great to see a city bus running on Sat or Sun, with not one person on board. There’s an outstanding use of taxpayer money.

#27 Comment By Treehugger On August 11, 2017 @ 3:55 am

So you swooped into someplace new for a few years and deem yourself an expert — or at least hold quite a high regard for your own opinion on the matter. Sorry to hear folks weren’t sitting on their porches or performing a musical or tap dancing or swinging under an elm, or in any case catering to your delight. The treachery.

“from my travels to Washington since I moved away in the late 1980s, it seems that its social and cultural appeal is much less than what is available in other major American cities and certainly in at least a half dozen European capitals.”

Mmmmmm, must be nice, really. That bloated, tenured, cultured, curated, coddled bubble of existence.

Did I mention totally lacking in self awareness? And scuse me, what are you in charge of exactly? Nothing? Really glad for that.

Me, I’ll take my bureaucrats riding the subway in the heat or the cold, wearing dull suits and old uncomfortable shoes and being all-too-serious about their jobs and eating grocery-bought meals at home.

#28 Comment By Dying On August 11, 2017 @ 9:28 am

I “live” in the DC area. Although, I would agree that DC now has many interesting attractions, restaurants, etc. any card-carrying conservative type should be taken aback by the undue affluence. Almost everything interesting in the DC area is ultimately bought and paid for by the stolen loot of enslaved private sector workers and self-perpetuating debt-slavery imposed on the unborn generations.

The place is packed with under 30 somethings trapped in student-loan debt purgatory. The amount of STDs among this generation is staggering and for better or worse, they generally are avoiding marriage and children. Many of these people are technically intelligent, but are dutiful products of the violence-backed edicts emitted from the hellish Department of Brainwashi…I mean Education. The ones that last here will be vengeful hate-filled sociopaths bent on destroying anyone who does not worship at the altar of ever-increasing state power. These are the ones that generally have children. Do the math.

DC is a dark and disturbing place with many unsolved murders. The mountain of un-avenged corpses is rivaled only by the horror shows of other Liberal enclaves across this strangling nation. The most disturbing thing is that no one cares. Even the families of the dead seem unconcerned with finding justice. If this place doesn’t kill you, it will kill what’s left of your soul, it seems.

For what it’s worth, I’m dying of cancer so there is nowhere for me to go. My life is over and it’s a shame I couldn’t escape the orbit of this hell-hole. If you are young, whatever you do, do not move to DC. Forget majoring in political science, women’s studies, and underwater basket weaving, which will force you to metaphorically, or actually, suck the phallus of the Federal Government in order to survive. Prostitution is better for you then the fate that awaits you here.

#29 Comment By Joe Phelan On August 11, 2017 @ 11:56 am

During the period in the eighties, the National Gallery of Art was led by J. Carter Brown, a showman who tried to “out-blockbuster the Metropolitan in New York. So he brought us “Treasures Houses of Great Britain”, “Impressionist to Early Modern Paintings from the USSR: Works from the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad, and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow”, “The Age of Correggio and the Caracci”, “Goya”, “The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent”, “Michelangelo: Draftsman/Architect”, “Gauguin”, “The Art of Paulo Veronese”, “Titian: Prince of Painters”, “Matisse: Early Years in Nice”, “Antony Van Dyke”. I could go on but you get the idea.

#30 Comment By Seek On August 11, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

Professor Gottfried is right about the nature of power. All too often, it serves as self-validation for those who wield it. I would extend that principle, however, to well beyond the State. It holds true in corporations, unions, sports teams, musical groups, philanthropies and marriages. Everyone from Aristotle to Tom Wolfe to Oliver Stone has recognized this.

Power — it’s not just a Washington thing.

#31 Comment By Phil Giraldi On August 11, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

sglover – I hear the phrase “I work for the government” frequently and have heard it consistently for the forty plus years I have been living on-and-off in the capitol region. If you are in Virginia it generally means CIA and in Maryland NSA.

#32 Comment By Kurt Gayle On August 11, 2017 @ 3:09 pm

If you’re not interested in Washington climate and weather, don’t bother to read the rest of this comment.

Paul Gottfried wrote: “From 1986 until we moved to Pennsylvania in 1990, my family and I resided in a part of Bethesda bordering on Rockville… I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a less congenial living space. And that’s even without factoring in the summer humidity and the Monsoon season, which started sometime in August and which left the ground floor of our ridiculously overpriced split-level flooded with dirty, fetid water.”

“midtown” responded (9:36 a.m.): “My time in the DC areas was a bit later than yours, but I rather liked DC…As for the weather, well, I grew up near a literal humid swamp. DC was practically a high plains desert by my estimation. My first Memorial Day there, the high temp was in the 50s, and everyone wore sweatshirts to the picnic. That isn’t a humid swamp.”

I beg to differ, “midtown.” Washington DC is indeed a humid swamp. Your very exceptional Memorial Day experience of a “high temp in the 50s” may refer to either-or-both Memorial Day May 25, 1992 or Memorial Day May 27, 1996. On both of those Memorial days the high temperature in Washington (Reagan National Airport) reached only 57 degrees. Another exceptionally cool Memorial Day in Washington saw a high of only 64 degrees on May 29, 2000.

But the historical average high/low temperatures for Washington Memorial Days range from 78/59 for May 25th to 80/61 for May 31st.

When we look at overall weather data for Washington summers, we find historical average high/low temperatures for July: 88/71 and for August: 87/70.

Washingtonians have their own favourite lore about Washington summers and my own favourite was recounted by Sarah Zielinski at Smithsonian.com back in 2010:

“On the night of August 24, 1814, British troops led by Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn marched on Washington, D.C. and set fire to most of the city….The British didn’t stay long, though; their occupation lasted just 26 hours. What happened? Current Washingtonians will recognize this scenario, as we’ve had a wild summer [2010] of heavy heat and damaging storms. But August 25, 1814 was even worse. The day of the invasion had been hot, 100 degrees. With much of the city aflame the next day, British soldiers kept moving through, lighting more fires. They didn’t notice the darkening skies, the thunder and lightning. City residents knew a bad storm was on its way and quickly took shelter. The British, though, had no idea how bad a D.C. storm could get. The clouds began to swirl and the winds kicked up. A tornado formed in the center of the city and headed straight for the British on Capitol Hill. The twister ripped buildings from their foundations and trees up by the roots. British cannons were tossed around by the winds. Several British troops were killed by falling structures and flying debris. The rain continued for two hours, dousing the flames. The British decided it was time to leave.”

My wife is a Waco girl and on occasion she posts (for my benefit) a small sign that reads “Don’t mess with Texas!”

I would recommend to the uninitiated that they “Don’t mess with Washington summers!”

#33 Comment By William On August 11, 2017 @ 10:39 pm

Let me get this straight: you decide three weeks in that you despise where you live, and then wonder why your neighbors are not banging down your door to spend time with you? You dismiss whole populations based upon your observations of them on the Metro, and then excoriate THEM as being close-minded and “out of touch with most Americans”? Ha! You complain that DC had no artists (despite having one of the largest theater communities in the United States) or interesting people, having apparently come to this scientific conclusion because you saw no one wearing a beret.

You didn’t live in or near DC- you saw an 80s B-movie about DC, and offer a caricature as if it were first-hand testimonial.

In a moment of quiet repose, Mr. Gottfried, you may come to understand that the problem is not liberals or the world around you; the problem is you in that world.

#34 Comment By KevinS On August 12, 2017 @ 8:56 am

UGH! From supposedly bad restaurants and long commutes to “the deep state.” What is the point of this self-absorbed and pretentious drivel? This essay tells me a lot more about Professor Gottfried than DC or his neighbors in Bethesda. If I lived on his block, I’d probably prefer he interacted with me over the intercom as well.

#35 Comment By Barry On August 12, 2017 @ 8:57 am

“And re: “If I were a betting man, I’d wager on this crowd remaining around and conspiring in Washington long after The Donald returned to Trump Tower.””

Some people have a problem with the fact that the US government is larger than their party, and more permanent.

Somebody once pointed out that for the right, ‘deep state’ means ‘rule of law’ and ‘constitutional government’.

#36 Comment By Jim Bovard On August 12, 2017 @ 10:09 pm

Rockville has not become any more bucolic since you left. The school system is imploding, the traffic is far worse, & Mont. Co. is the only DC area jurisdiction to actually lose net jobs since 2001.

#37 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 13, 2017 @ 5:53 pm

“Yeah and it might speak even more volumes if even one person had actually said it, ever. I’ve lived inside the Beltway (**gasp!!**) for more than 20 years now.”

But he is not talking inside the beltway. He is talking about an environment which exists outside of work. Even I have to admit that my commentary about work is not the same in the work environment as outside of it.

#38 Comment By Jon S On August 15, 2017 @ 1:42 am

Grew up on Tuckerman in the 80s. Never heard of the Gottfried guy. Needless to say it doesn’t seem like he got out much.

Lived in MD, MT, NM, and CA. Loved MT but it was the most red, and unfriendly.

And btw there is no “monsoon” season in Maryland. It’s just called rain.

#39 Comment By Mike On August 15, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

You didn’t like your neighbors or your perception* of their attitudes to their jobs, so therefore deep state?

*Which have been both initially biased and inevitably warped by time and your personal feelings about that time on your life.

Are all the people capable of writing an opinion piece supported by reasoning or (heaven forbid) evidence on vacation this week?