Trump’s Nominees Don’t Like the Agencies They’ll Run? Good.

 

A steady complaint about Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, often coming from lifelong denizens of Mordor, is that many are openly hostile to the agencies they seek to lead. Rick Perry wanted to abolish the Department of Energy in 2012, but he was chosen to run it. Scott Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA; Trump picked him to take over the agency. Tom Price at HHS, Betsy DeVos at Education, Ryan Zinke at Interior … the list goes on and on.

In this week’s column for the Arizona Republic, I note how this skepticism toward DC is a feature, not a bug:

When confronted with a problem, Washington is overflowing with people who ask, “How can government fix this?” What the Beltway needs is more people who ask, “Why should government get involved at all?” Many of our problems are better solved by the American people themselves, usually gathered in non-profits, businesses and religious organizations.

Consumers suffered for decades with heavily regulated cab services providing lousy service at high prices. To address this problem, politicians could have created a multibillion-dollar, 1,500-page Affordable Cab Act, but thankfully Uber and Lyft came along on their own. And the less DC interferes with these problem-solvers, the better.

America’s endlessly expanding government needs to be reversed. And if the next administration’s nominees don’t enact a reasonable plan to reduce it, history shows it will collapse on its own, chaotic terms. As economist Herbert Stein said, “Trends that can’t continue, won’t.”

The silly comments are already rolling in, conflating limited government with no government, a popular canard of the left. After centuries of ugly unintended consequences, many voters still cling to their faith that so-called good intentions are more important than effective results.

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  1. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    After careful consideration, this is my conclusion:

    • #1
  2. Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    As a former NeverTrumper*, the one thing that has made me give him kudos – and almost like the guy – is the appointments.  They demonstrate guts and a real dedication to rolling back the ever-expanding feddle gummint.

    Mitt Romney is a man whose character outshines Trump’s in every way.  But could we have counted on him to make such gutsy appointments?  I don’t think so.

    *As commentators such as Andrew Klavan and Jonah Goldberg have pointed out, the concept of “NeverTrump” should cease to exist after the election, so all NeverTrumpers should be former NeverTrumpers, if we respect the country and its Constitution.  When Barack Obama was elected, I was disgusted, but I did not refuse to call him by his title, as Keith Olbermann proposes doing for Trump.  I did not say that he was “Not My President”.  I did not join any “Resistance”.  The behavior of people on the left who have such attitudes is shameful.

    • #2
  3. Dad Dog Member
    Dad Dog
    @DadDog

    I was a contingent Trumper: would only vote for him if necessary.  (I live in California, so you know how that turned out.)

    Nevertheless, I have been astounded (in a good way) at the clear difference between his words (running the gamut from disappointing to horrifying) and his deeds — as exemplified by these wonderfully iconoclastic Cabinet picks.

    • #3
  4. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Hell, while Johnny Dubya and Dad Dog are at the confessional,  I thought the Donald was a Hilliary plant until July 2016.  After convincing, I became an enthusiastic fan.

    His BEST pick so far is David Friedman as ambassador to Israel.  A man who (correctly) compares the Jacobins of the Upper West Side to concentration camp Capos; who speaks nonchalantly of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.

    Such integrity, such honesty, such a wonderful thing to see.  I am very, very optimistic.

    • #4
  5. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Trump’s Nominees Don’t Like the Agencies They’ll Run? Good.

    Agreed.  It’s the Ron Swanson theory of government.  I enthusiastically approve.

    • #5
  6. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I just hope they know the respective anatomies of the beasts they control to gut, or at least castrate them. Their respective one or two levels of appointments down (the people who know where the fat, the slackers, the dead weight are and have been waiting years to get rid of their leftist coworkers).

     

    • #6
  7. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    • #7
  8. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Dad Dog: I have been astounded (in a good way) at the clear difference between his words (running the gamut from disappointing to horrifying) and his deeds

    Actions speak louder than words: age-old wisdom as pertinent today as ever.

    • #8
  9. DudleyDoright49 Coolidge
    DudleyDoright49
    @DudleyDoright49

    @John Gabriel: America’s endlessly expanding government needs to be reversed.

    The Convention of States is the best, perhaps the only way our government will be permanently reduced in size and scope.  We all need to get behind this effort.

    • #9
  10. Black Russian Lives Matter With 2 Parts Vodka And 5 Parts Kahlua Member
    Black Russian Lives Matter With 2 Parts Vodka And 5 Parts Kahlua
    @Pseudodionysius

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    dudleydoright49:@John Gabriel: America’s endlessly expanding government needs to be reversed.

    The Convention of States is the best, perhaps the only way our government will be permanently reduced in size and scope. We all need to get behind this effort.

    If we can’t convince people to do it through the channels already available to us, we won’t be able to do it through a convention of the states.

    Which reminds me, I hope President Trump will get Big Bird off of welfare.  If we can’t take baby steps like that, we won’t be able to take big steps, either.

    • #11
  12. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Do not underestimate the federal bureaucracy’s ability ans willingness to burrow in, undermine, leak, embarrass and destroy appointed leadership they don’t like.  Trump and the GOP Congress better be prepared for PATCO-like showdowns even to the point of eliminating large chucks of disobedient agencies.  Heads on pikes lining Key Bridge and Memorial Bridge for the federal employee commuters to see each day might be a promising start.

    Case study is Ann Gorsuch, Reagan’s EPA director.  Out of her depth as a manager, she was outmaneuvered by staff and unable to implement regulatory rollback.  She was rolled by special interests, ratted out by staff to Democrats in Congress, set up and wholly ill-equipped to fight with oversight committees leading to an embarrassing refusal and final defeat about turning over documents.  Supreme competence, mastery of administrative law and ethical purity are minimum pre-reqs for GOP appointees who expect to achieve anything.

    Nobody other than his immediate fellow political appointees and personal staff will have Scott Pruitt’s back.  He will spend a great deal of time dealing with half-truths leaked to and not fact-checked by the Washington Post.  I do not envy him.

    For a funny and highly realistic fictional portrayal of how hard it is to kill anything in DC, I highly recommend Jim Geraghty’s The Weed Agency.

     

    • #12
  13. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It can be done but if the new administration does things like hiring freezes they’ll fail.  Each new Department head needs to be given a simple instruction, give me a list of 20% cuts, 30% cuts and 50% or more, with clear delineation of what will cease to be done, what passed on to the states etc. or submit their resignations.  Each new Secretary and agency head gives the same instruction to his subordinates with a caveat, if your cuts only reduce popular programs or are simply across the board with no sense of priorities and reorganization, then submit your resignation.   It is easier to eliminate whole offices and agencies than to fire individuals.  Hiring freezes leave Obama appointees in place, do not include any reorganization or setting new priorities.  If we start to hear about hiring freezes we know it’s all phony, not serious.   There is no Department that would not be improved by 20% cut so to actually affect change the cuts must be more.  The objective isn’t to save money, but to drain the swamp.  Indeed it will be expensive at first because we will have to have programs to help employees prepare themselves for new employment, there will be annual and sick leave that will have to be paid.

    • #13
  14. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Old Bathos:Do not underestimate the federal bureaucracy’s ability ans willingness to burrow in, undermine, leak, embarrass and destroy appointed leadership they don’t like. Trump and the GOP Congress better be prepared for PATCO-like showdowns even to the point of eliminating large chucks of disobedient agencies. Heads on pikes lining Key Bridge and Memorial Bridge for the federal employee commuters to see each day might be a promising start.

    Case study is Ann Gorsuch, Reagan’s EPA director. Out of her depth as a manager, she was outmaneuvered by staff and unable to implement regulatory rollback. She was rolled by special interests, ratted out by staff to Democrats in Congress, set up and wholly ill-equipped to fight with oversight committees leading to an embarrassing refusal and final defeat about turning over documents. Supreme competence, mastery of administrative law and ethical purity are minimum pre-reqs for GOP appointees who expect to achieve anything.

    Nobody other than his immediate fellow political appointees and personal staff will have Scott Pruitt’s back. He will spend a great deal of time dealing with half-truths leaked to and not fact-checked by the Washington Post. I do not envy him.

    For a funny and highly realistic fictional portrayal of how hard it is to kill anything in DC, I highly recommend Jim Geraghty’s The Weed Agency.

    I have a feeling if there’s any funny business, Trump will get out the bullhorn and embarrass the antagonizers.

    • #14
  15. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Front Seat Cat: I have a feeling if there’s any funny business, Trump will get out the bullhorn and embarrass the antagonizers.

    Inshah’allah.

    • #15
  16. barbara lydick Member
    barbara lydick
    @barbaralydick

    Our completely unbiased local paper (according to the OpEd editor) today printed Nick Anderson’s (Hearst Papers) cartoon.

    Energy Secretary Nominees – with three panels complete with caricatures.

    2009, Steven Chu, Qualifications: Nobel Prize in Physics

    2013, Ernest Moniz, Qualifications: Professor of Physics, MIT

    2016, Rick Perry, Qualifications: “Oops”

    “Oops”? “Oops”?    Sir Jon of Gabriel is absolutely correct – the skepticism in Mordor is a feature, not a bug.  But the pearl-clutching Left cannot see past their own (non-science) agendas.  Polish up that bullhorn, Mr. Trump!

     

     

    • #16
  17. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    barbara lydick:Our completely unbiased local paper (according to the OpEd editor) today printed Nick Anderson’s (Hearst Papers) cartoon.

    Energy Secretary Nominees – with three panels complete with caricatures.

    2009, Steven Chu, Qualifications: Nobel Prize in Physics

    2013, Ernest Moniz, Qualifications: Professor of Physics, MIT

    2016, Rick Perry, Qualifications: “Oops”

    “Oops”? “Oops”? Sir Jon of Gabriel is absolutely correct – the skepticism in Mordor is a feature, not a bug. But the pearl-clutching Left cannot see past their own (non-science) agendas. Polish up that bullhorn, Mr. Trump!

    Rick Perry was governor of the world’s 12th largest economy for 14 years. He easily has more executive experience than anyone who has held that role before.

    • #17
  18. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    The test for all will be when it comes to how effective they can control and, when needed, purge, the bureaucracy in these agencies.  Of course, since the agencies are staffed with Democrats, expect a deluge of news stories about the corrupt Republicans destroying the regulators who are just trying to protect the people.  I predict the first test will be in the Justice Department, where I hope one of AG Sessions first moves will be to purge the Civil Rights Division, which was stocked by Eric Holder with more than 100 ideologically radicals lawyers who do not believe the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to all Americans (the Inspector General of the DOJ issued a report criticizing Holder for this, and as well as his turning down well-qualified but non-radical lawyers – a report which got no publicity in mainline media).  When it happens the screams of racism in the WaPo and NY Times will be deafening.

    • #18
  19. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Tom Price at HUD

    Did I miss something?

    • #19
  20. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Bob Thompson:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Tom Price at HUD

    Did I miss something?

    View comment in context.

    Ugh… I messed up. Fixed!

    • #20
  21. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    Count me among the “thrilled” by all of these appointments. I hope they manage to gain some control over their departments. Then they can reduce the number of bureaucrats and their bloated budgets. I don’t expect much so a 10% reduction would satisfy me.

     

     

    • #21
  22. DudleyDoright49 Coolidge
    DudleyDoright49
    @DudleyDoright49

    @ Reticulator: If we can’t convince people to do it through the channels already available to us, we won’t be able to do it through a convention of the states.

    I love the give up attitude.

    • #22
  23. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    dudleydoright49:@ Reticulator: If we can’t convince people to do it through the channels already available to us, we won’t be able to do it through a convention of the states.

    I love the give up attitude.

    View comment in context.

    I don’t love the give up attitude,  which is why we need to put an end to this Convention of the States nonsense, which is escapist fantasy, and get to work on the grownup business of cutting the budget.

    • #23

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