They say a new president has a hundred days to make his mark, launch his key programs, set the Republic on course. And if he does not do it, it will four years of playing catch-up and getting bogged down in the swamp, the bureaucracies, the opposition, the lobbyists, the special interests, the malcontents, the foreign intrigues.
I say hooey to that. I am hoping in a few hours, after he has taken the oath of office, Donald Trump will walk among the people, his fellow Americans, listen to them, exchange a few words, banalities no less than profundities, maybe invite a few to the evening’s festivities and balls. He can take a walk around the Federal Triangle if he wants, weather permitting, and reflect upon what happens in those mighty buildings and what he thinks ought to happen, note for the difference, tell an aide to remind him later.
He and his charming and lovely wife will want to stop in on their new home, have a light lunch, check out the furniture, meet the staff, chat with friends and family. Then it will be time to change into evening clothes and partake of the evening’s fun. But on the stroke on midnight, my hope is that President Trump will ask the music to stop for a moment and say:
“Friends and fellow Americans, patriots all, I’m delighted to see you enjoying yourselves, thus expressing confidence in our great country’s great future. Dance into the morning. Breakfast will be served at dawn. Go home and get some rest.
“That’s what I plan to do. I’m leaving now, Melania and I are catching a flight. Everything’s cool now, so we’re off to chill out a little in Bermuda. Play some golf, tennis, enjoy the brisk air, collect our thoughts. A few aides, who I’m sure will have a lot of files and such for me to study. But not to worry, I’m not going to overdo it.
“Let’s all sit back, read a lot, think a lot, talk, listen. On the way back, I’m going to overfly Washington — go to the place on the Rio Grande where we start building the wall. I want to be there, take a shovel and get it going. I’ve told all my top people that when I’m back in town, oh, about six weeks, I want their nuts and bolts plans. They’ve all got their briefs: where we go, how much it costs, how we do it and with whom.
“And America, once again, is on the way. Thanks for coming — see you all later.”
After the excitement of the campaign, why rush headlong into the briar patch? What’s the hurry? Donald Trump is in the catbird seat; maybe he should enjoy it as long as possible, make sure everybody’s at his post and ready to — why, to serve the Republic.
While he takes the eagle’s view of things, away from the noise and distraction of the capital, the key men and women of the new administration can fill out their staffs, get their ducks in order. They can have a standing order to attrit any job that really does not do anything useful, hire no one who is not really needed, make no budget requests for boondoggles. Instead, they can ask what is this or that alleged federal responsibility. If it is genuine, ask if the person currently in charge, no matter who put him there, is doing it well; if he is, move to the next task.
Because that is the other thing about these alleged “hundred days”: the new men are supposed to fill up what in Washington is called the plum book, some four thousand, count ’em, political hires in the main policy areas. But are they needed? Maybe, just abridge the plum book. By about half. By two thirds. Who needs four thousand new chicken without heads lost in the Federal Triangle looking for ways of being nuisances?
A “hundred days” of frenetic activism will do what? Lay the groundwork for yet another zillion dollars in national debt? Launch more lunatic efforts to be the world’s savior? Rouse up fresh discord at home?
The administration’s enemies will say these were a hundred days of madness and its friends will say these were a hundred days of glory. And hardworking Americans will ponder how their public servants once again pulled a fast one and set up four more years of failure and waste.
Instead, chill out, keep it cool. Come back from Bermuda, get reports as requested. The wall? Check. Tax simplification? Check. Universal health insurance without crippling the world’s most fantastic medical system? Check. Rebuild our military might, including 600-ship Navy? Check. First press conference since January 20: Ladies and gentlemen of the media — we’re cool. Go do your jobs, we’re doing ours.
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