Friday, January 20, 2017

- How "Hard" Is Washington Anyway?

Our man Derb has been lecturing all of us collectively and me in particular on the virtues of cynicism, so this may seem like a bit of heresy. (Look away now John.) But as the Trump daytime inaugural festivities are finishing up, I'd like to offer one optimistic idea as one of the wide possible range of outcomes for his Presidency.

We are endlessly told that it's very difficult to get things done in Washington. Some of that is due to a distributed decision making process where there are lots of people involved and all have to be consulted. But we're told that it's also more difficult after the decision has been made, to execute ideas in Washington too.

Well suppose it isn't really as hard as they say after all, it's just that the people we've had doing it aren't very good at it? Suppose it's actually much easier to execute so long as you don't worry about appeasing any of the entrenched interests? Suppose all it really took was someone who knows how to run an organization?

Donald Trump made his bones in one of the most corrupt and deeply intrusive cities in the world. All that is not mandatory in New York City, is forbidden. But even dealing with that ghastly, intrusive and domineering city government where every two bit ward heeler and union hack has his hand out, he's still managed to get things done ahead of schedule and under budget. Suppose all we really needed was a guy to go to Washington beholden to no one and prepared to fire 1 out of every 2 Federal employees if they are obstructionist in even the smallest way, and presto chango - things really can get done in Washington after all?

I believe things like this can be done if you're ruthless enough about it. Anyone can be motivated with either a carrot, a stick, or both. For a temp job like President, if it were me I'd be far more inclined to use the stick, because the animosity you breed with it won't really have much of a cost.

If "The Donald" goes in there with a chainsaw, surrounded by people determined to kick ass and ready to toss the first person who doesn't ask "how high" the second he says "jump", I can definitely see big things coming from this Presidency. He will never turn Washington into a well oiled machine. It's not designed to work very efficiently, and an efficient government in the hands of a liberal actually frightens me a little because they hate white heterosexual men so much. But I strongly suspect that there is so much room for improvement, that it may be possible for him to make it seem like a well oiled machine in comparison to 'normal'. The press will hate it every second of it course. The press is all about advocating a reward for laziness wherever and whenever they can. But I would take that as a very good sign. The more I read hyperbolic vitriol steaming up at me from the editorial section of the NYTimes and Washington Post, the more confidence I'll have that blood is flowing in the bureaucracy, and Donald is doing the right thing.

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