And an economist outsider said the insiders are taking full advantage of that.
John Mauldin was in Washington over the inauguration weekend and had a chance through his connections to see what is going behind the scenes.
On his blog, he laid out ten lessons he learned.
His interest is the economy, not politics. But politics is inescapable when there is a change of regimes. He wrote:
I have met three types of people here in Washington DC. There are the Trump supporters, who seem to be wildly optimistic. On the other hand, as I look out my window here at the Capital Hilton, I see hundreds if not thousands of protesters walking by wearing little pink hats, and they are decidedly not happy. The third group is much smaller and consists of those who are actually aware of the amount of work that is going to have to be done and who recognize what a daunting task it will be.That's very sobering. Just because people missed the election does not make them the village idiots, unless that is what they do for a living. Think Larry Sabato and Nate Silver.
President Trump needs the help of the villagers who ain't idiots.
What President Trump seeks is the same thing Obama sought eight years ago -- only larger. Obama wanted to unleash the federal government, which was raring to go.
And Obama failed. Miserably.
Trump wants to rein it in, against its will.
I won't go into every point Mauldin made. Please read it, for it is a thoughtful post.
But his first point is both disturbing and comforting:
If you listen to the media you might have the impression that the Trump transition team is in complete disarray. Talking with leaders of the transition team certainly didn’t leave me with that impression. They have broken the transition process down into over 30 departments and have created a “landing document” for each department. The analogy they are using is that this process is like planning an invasion, and they are going to hand the landing document off to the “beachhead teams” who will then execute the plans.
I was briefly allowed to look at (without actually being able to read) the plan for one cabinet-level department. It appeared to be about 100 pages plus of serious detail as to exactly what executive orders would need to be removed and added, what personnel would have to be replaced (both appointees and regular staff), what policies would need to be changed, and so forth.
I was told that this level of planning was being done for every department. My impression is that there are a lot of people from various think tanks and others with experience in the presidential transition process who are involved in directing the plan for each department. That level of detailed planning doesn’t happen in less than two months. My guess is that some of that thinking has been going on for years, and now it can be implemented.
That being said, we know that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy; and it was instructive to sit with Bill Bennett, who talked about his experience in trying to reform the Department of Education under Reagan. They were still dealing with personnel and policy issues a year later, and this was when the department was much smaller than it is today. And that is just one department.
When I asked a key person how much of the overall plan would likely come to fruition, I got a rueful smile and a shrug. “If we even get half of this done in the first few years, that will be major reform.”The good news is Trump hit the ground running on November 9, and has been running since. But he will need a lot of help getting this done.
Republican congressional leaders believe time is on their side. They believe they can defuse him by delaying and stalling.
But if you are at the Heritage Foundation or Cato and Trump has bought and is pushing your pet project, are you really going to let Republicans do this to you?
And after Trump takes up your cause, won't you be inclined to take up his?
However, the task is daunting. Democrats own the Fourth Branch of government -- the bureaucracy -- and the noise of Fifth Columnists of the mainstream press distracts.
I will let you in on a little secret. I am completely content with his election, because it kept Clinton out and immediately halted the expansion of federal government, a Republican House put the brakes on in 2011.
That's the biscuit.
If we cut any of it back, that's is just gravy.
But most people want gravy on their biscuits. I hope President Trump serves that to them.
Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.
It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."
For an autographed copy, email me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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