Well, paramedics just revived my heart:
Trump aides are organizing what one Republican close to the campaign calls the First Day Project. “Trump spends several hours signing papers—and erases the Obama Presidency,” he said. Stephen Moore, an official campaign adviser who is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, explained, “We want to identify maybe twenty-five executive orders that Trump could sign literally the first day in office.” The idea is inspired by Reagan’s first week in the White House, in which he took steps to deregulate energy prices, as he had promised during his campaign. Trump’s transition team is identifying executive orders issued by Obama, which can be undone. “That’s a problem I don’t think the left really understood about executive orders,” Moore said. “If you govern by executive orders, then the next President can come in and overturn them.”
That is partly exaggeration; rescinding an order that is beyond the “rulemaking” stage can take a year or more. But signing executive orders starts the process, and Trump’s advisers are weighing several options for the First Day Project: He can renounce the Paris Agreement on greenhouse-gas emissions, much as George W. Bush, in 2002, “unsigned” American support for the International Criminal Court. He can re-start exploration of the Keystone pipeline, suspend the Syrian refugee program, and direct the Commerce Department to bring trade cases against China. Or, to loosen restrictions on gun purchases, he can relax background checks.
Trump has relied heavily on the ideas of seasoned combatants. Newt Gingrich, who, as House Speaker in the nineties, pioneered many of the tactics that have come to define partisan warfare, is now a Trump adviser. Gingrich told me that he is urging Trump to give priority to an obscure but contentious conservative issue—ending lifetime tenure for federal employees. This would also galvanize Republicans and help mend rifts in the Party after a bitter election.
“Getting permission to fire corrupt, incompetent, and dishonest workers—that’s the absolute showdown,” Gingrich said. He assumes that federal employees’ unions would resist, thus producing, in his words, an “ongoing war” similar to the conflict that engulfed Madison, Wisconsin, in 2011, when Governor Scott Walker moved to limit public-sector employees’ collective-bargaining rights. After five months of protests, and a failed effort to recall the Governor and members of the state senate, Walker largely prevailed. Gingrich predicts that that chaotic dynamic can be brought to Washington. “You have to end the civil-service permanent employment,” he said. “You start changing that and the public-employee unions will just come unglued.”
These excerpts are from Evan Osnos’ delightful combination of reporting and speculation: what would Donald A. Trump do on the first day of office? Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown will get phone calls.
My Sanders-leaning friends, in whose ranks I once served, shake their heads and say, with unusual certainty, that Donald Trump won’t be able to do half the things he’s promised. Which is mathematically untrue. As Osnos points out in his article, even a failed president like Jimmy Carter got seventy percent of his program through the Congress or by executive order. The Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board, OSHA – imagine hacks worse than Michael Brown because they would be dedicated to destroying the agencies they were appointed to head.