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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

“If we even get half of this done in the first few years, that will be major reform.”

President Trump's election provides the very people who most opposed him -- conservative Washington think-tankers -- with their best opportunity ever to re-shape and downsize the federal government.

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.

To me.

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

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  1. "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."

    IapetusJanuary 20, 2017 at 9:41 PM

    Today is T-Day. It's like D-Day. Trump's army has landed on the beaches of the nation's capital and is attacking the defenses of the Obama Reich. We will be victorious. We will defeat the last holdouts of the Obama Party in their civil service bunkers. A new day is dawning with the liberation of America from the oppression of Obamaism.

  2. I like my grave thick and lumpy and it looks like President Trump is pouring it on thick and giving the D.C. establishment plenty of lumps. - Elric

    1. I like my grave empty. At least until I'm dead, please.

    2. Oops! Gravy. Crippled fingers and bad eyesight. - Elric

    3. I shouldn't pick on you like that, sorry.

  3. We are winning already. Just getting a decent SCOTUS pick and getting rid of Obamacare would be YUUUUGE.

    I have low expectations on the whole agenda, but if we get just a fraction of it I will be ecstatic. I promise you I will not get tired of winning.

  4. After the IRS (used as a weapon) gets through with the punitive audits by Summer, it should be dissolved in favor of the Fair Tax plan.

  5. Trump is not a man of mere words. He is not afraid to hit back and hard. So far a hand full of political hacks have felt the weight of his onslaught. Soon a few of the puppets in high positions in congress will find the hand that controls them a little uncomfortable.
    It's time to save the nation, but this is a big nation. Think in terms of an aircraft carrier, when you go from full steam reverse to full steam ahead, the ship continues going backwards unless it runs aground. We were dang near swamped back in November, and Barry crammed the controls past the stops to gain a little more for the losing party.
    As wit ha sudden change in direction on a ship, we will have moments of chaos, uncertainty, and a little comic relief.
    GOD, bless Trump and all those whom you have allowed to ascend to positions of power. Bless those who bless you and curse those who do not do your will.

    1. If you have the room to turn, the most desirable outcome is to not NEED to ring for all astern; and you do that by making the obstructionists the organizational equivalent of the shear pin.

  6. President Trump was not successful because he accepted completing only 50% of a project. He will be successful because not only is he capable but he has surrounded himself with successful accomplished people. Not one academic in his cabinet.

    I believe after 4 years his landslide in 2016 will pale in comparison to his re-election victory.

    1. Hear, hear!!! I think it'll be like Reagan 2.0----I remember how we all thought Reagan's 45-state victory in 1980 was big, but his 49-state win (and he almost won Minnesota, which would've left Mondull with only DC) made 1980 look ordinary.

  7. Good thing Trump works 12 hours a day while the enemies of America within Gruberment, hackademia, and the fakestream media are only used to working an hour or two per day.

    1. And his field generals aren't even in command yet. Just wait until they take over command of the troops. The time to strike is now. The place to strike is where they are not expecting it. I'd guess not much in the way of details will have to be cleared through the Trump White House, unlike the way the Obama administration probably operated. That makes it easier to wage a multi-front war that's difficult to defend against, as long as everyone is on the same page. The Dems will lawyer up, lawsuits will be filed. Trump must overwhelm them with maneuvers on all fronts. Let panic ensue.

  8. True, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

    That's why the wise man constructs his strategy, not so there is a path to victory, but so that ALL paths leads to victory.

    If the Left could abandon their spoilt two-year-old behavior, they might learn a thing or two; but they rather die than admit that Trump roadrunnered them.

    1. Excellent point on work ethic. Plus, he has better tactics
      Sun Tzu > Alinsky
      You really think the latter will matter in 2,500 years?

  9. The lamentations of the enemy's women, and the wailing of their media, is music to our ears.

    1. There's a rumor (which I just started: fake news) that Trump is changing his middle name from John to Tamujin, aka Genghis.

    2. The lamentations of the enemy's women, like the liberal woman and her gamma pw'd husband kicked off the plane. I love watching that video!

  10. Trump's first few days in the Oval Office remind me of the gun-slap scene in the Trinity movies.

  11. Washington is used to a certain pace. One big fight at a time so they can maneuver the forces and gauge the political winds.

    Trump is doing shock and awe - Blitzkrieg. I'm sure that the phones are ringing off the hook in Congressional offices. Already we see Ryan and Rubio beating hasty retreats from their weak tea opposition.

    Welcome to the big leagues guys.

  12. The Left will never beat Trump until they can admit to themselves that he's not an idiot.

  13. Ace at Ace of Spades, who was never a Trumpian is already crying that Trump is betraying us on overturning DACA (Dreamers). Holy Crap guys. He's been in office for FOUR DAYS.