Is the "deep state" conspiring to ruin President Donald Trump? Was it behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

Next obvious question: what on earth is the "deep state" anyway?

I'm not sure we have an answer for that last one, any more than we can confidently respond to the first two. Various dictionaries and political journals usually define the "deep state" differently or deny it exists at all. Conspiracy theorists love it, though.

If I can try to summarize, the "deep state" involves anonymous government officials and others working to destroy someone, either literally or figuratively. Those who aspire to be "deep state" investigators believe officials like President Lyndon Johnson plotted the Kennedy murder. They, apparently, think insiders at the White House are determined to destroy the legacy and popularity of President Donald Trump with lies.

On the latter, there is much to support the theory. In every governmental position I have served, longtime employees tended to ignore my directions because they knew they would still be there when I was gone. As a supervisor, I had no job protection. Usually, they were either unionized or public employees who knew they were virtually untouchable.

Trump, as every president, inherited many, many holdovers. It would be impossible to dismiss all the Obama loyalists. If he did, for example, who would know where the light switches were at the White House? Additionally, "deep staters" in the media can perpetuate misinformation that Trump is under investigation when he clearly is not.

There are some theories held by "deep staters" that are probably true. But then there are those in the group who even cling to the old theory that man never walked on the moon. Be careful any time a conspiracy theorist grabs your ear.

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I hope you're sitting down. Good.

Friends say former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is contemplating a run for Third District congressman in 2018.

A top official when Tomblin was governor said, "We (his supporters) tell him he just looks better and smarter every day" (the current governor and legislature wrangle over a state budget)."

I love Earl Ray Tomblin. I think he is one of the finest men ever to hold public office. But no, he doesn't look "better and smarter every day." Those who understand the budget process know he recently left office with the state in horrible financial condition (though mostly not his fault) and his only solution for budget deficits was to borrow from the "rainy day fund" until it is depleted.

Congress? Earl Ray Tomblin? Terrible idea, Governor.

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Delegate Justin Marcum's decision to pre-file for State Senate in the 6th District set off another wave of potential candidates for his house seat from the 20th District. The Mingo Democrat will likely challenge current Republican Sen. Mark Maynard in the fall of 2018.

Meanwhile, former Mingo County Commissioner Ronnie Blankenship, who challenged Marcum in the 2016 primary, says he is interested in running again. And another former Mingo commissioner, John Mark Hubbard, is being urged by supporters to run for the House. Other names have already been mentioned as well.

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Supporters of State Senate President Mitch Carmichael ballyhooed his recent layoff by Frontier Communications as proof the senator votes his conscience regardless of outcome (Carmichael did support a bill that Frontier opposed). However, others at the statehouse insist Carmichael was already poised to take employment with a firm whose legislation he promoted during the past session before the termination. And what does anyone make of Carmichael not placing his own finance chair, Putnam County's senator and Huntington native Mike Hall, on the budget conference committee?

Your comments, unfounded gossip and relationships with the "deep state" are always welcome.

Ron Gregory is a former Glenville mayor, Kanawha County administrator and assistant mayor of Charleston who has covered state politics for more than 40 years. Reach him at 304-533-5185 or ronjgregory@gmail.com.