advice from a fake consultant

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Action, Or, To Hit The Ground Running, Act First, Then Legislate

A successful Administration, first thing in the door, creates the image of action, which can then lead to a successful legislative agenda.

That’s the crux of my advice to Obama, should he be the winner.

Now for the specifics.

I have assumed for the sake of this discussion that Obama has won, that the Democrats have increased their majority in the House…but they have not reached 60 in the Senate—or that if they do, one will be Lieberman.

Obama has two legislative priorities that have to precede his policy agenda. First, he has to get his nominations approved. Next, he has to realign the budget proposal he will inherit from the Bush Administration to reflect his own priorities.

If he “transitions” quickly, he can go to the incoming Congressional (presumptive) leadership for negotiations during the transition with Cabinet nominations—and he might even be able to offer some Budget priorities during that time. (If he is smart, he will also begin the vetting process for at least one new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.)

None of this will appear to be “action” for much of the “nonpolitical” public, despite how important it will be for the incoming Administration…except for the announcement of Cabinet positions.

The first two to three months of the legislative calendar for the incoming Congress will be occupied with these tasks—and during those first months an Obama Administration will be, most likely, setting up for the first introduction of legislative proposals.

In the meantime, the Administration can act without waiting for legislation through the Executive Order.

The Administration could, for example, direct the department of Justice to end the use of “National Security Letters” as a substitute for search warrants simply by issuing an Executive Order.

They could immediately end rendition activities the same way.

The Administration could also order the Department of Defense to try all Guantanamo detainees through the military Court-Martial process rather than by Military Commission.

A series of Orders could be issued directing Executive Branch agencies to comply fully with the Freedom of Information Act.

A reconsideration of how “secrets” are classified (and how non-classified information is somehow in need of “protection”) could quickly be conducted.

And on and on…but to wrap it up, while you’re negotiating over the first legislation, you can undo a lot of damage by Executive Order, you can do it at your own pace, and during that same time Cabinet appointments are being confirmed—and as the positive “buzz” grows, you prepare to introduce the first piece of legislation that the Republicans will try to block.


jmb said...

Now don't be counting those chickens before they are hatched. You are making me nervous. Save this until Guy Fawkes Day.

fake consultant said...

i actually wrote this at the request of the "uppity wisconsin" website, who is preparing an "obama's way forward" section...and as of this moment, it appears the other writers at the site have taken your admonition to heart.

that said, the deadline for the project is the 3rd, so there will either have to be a bit of rule-breaking...or i'll be looking awfully lonely over there.

jmb said...

It looks like they are hopping on board now so you are not swinging in the wind by yourself. Breathe a little easier but still don't count those chickens.

I spoke to a friend who is in Florida with her mother who is ill but she is flying back to NY tomorrow to vote for Obama and then going back to Florida. That is indeed dedication.