President-elect Donald Trump looks more and more like he's preparing an invasion force to change Washington as we know it. But wars need battles and, more specifically, battle plans. So where and how is the Trump army going to strike first? Here's a two word road map: "Personal responsibility."
With every new cabinet appointment, tweet, interview, and speech on his victory tour, Trump is doubling down on putting together a team and pursuing policies that slay Washington's bipartisan sacred cows. That's right, I said "bipartisan." You might think American politics are hopelessly divided along partisan lines, but Trump keeps proving that to be untrue because of the bipartisan angry responses to so many of his transition period moves and comments.
Critics from both sides of the aisle have bashed aspects of Trump's very personal negotiations with Carrier to keep American jobs in the U.S. They responded with public concern and alarm to Trump's comments about breaking the "One China" policy and the longtime practice of presidents getting daily intelligence briefings.
There's been push back on his Twitter attacks on the pricey contracts for Air Force One and now the F-35 stealth fighter. Oh and just in case none of these anti-Washington positions and comments are convincing enough, remember that Trump's wife Melania and youngest son Barron aren't even going to move into the White House. At least not right away. That too has drawn some criticism from all sides.
But history buffs might still be scoffing at the idea of a true insurgent presidency because just about every winning presidential candidate since at least Jimmy Carter has portrayed themselves as an outsider and run a campaign against Washington. Why should anyone think Trump will turn out all that different from say, Ronald Reagan, who for all his anti-Washington rhetoric still left the federal government bigger than how he found it, and had an administration mostly made up of established Republican Washington insiders?
The answer is easily found by scrutinizing his cabinet choices. To fight a real across the Rubicon-like takeover of Washington by a belligerent outsider, Trump needs cabinet members who have an actual track record of belligerence. And so many of Trump's cabinet picks have a lot of that when it comes to the agencies they're slated to take over. With that belligerence comes the inevitable ax that will cut the government's involvement in our personal decisions and put the onus back on us.