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December 30, 2016

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That is one very slender reed you've got there, prof.

Yeah. My ringing endorsement boils down to:

"He won't break anything and maybe who knows there's-a-cool-plan-right-there-sounds-good-he-knows-how-to-do-it but this is the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SO WHY AM I EVEN WRITING THIS ..."

But still. "Won't break anything" would have been awesome to hear at DOJ or EPA or HHS, no? Low bars become high! So, yay Rick Perry!

I'm cautiously optimistic about Mattis, if the President doesn't fire him. Relations between the Pentagon and White House could be less dysfunctional and much needed fiscal reform would have a champion. My main worry is that Mattis gets fired for excessive candor and for attacking the Pentagon's entrenched civilian hierarchy.

Ironically Section 216 has come under fire from the GOP because the Arkansas delegation is upset about a long-distance transmission line being built across the state to supply Oklahoma's wind energy to Tennessee. It's a perverse reversal of the Keystone or Dakota Access rhetoric, in which Republicans talk about local control, lack of permanent jobs or economic impact in the right of way.

(head, desk)

Mattis, however, has an actual legal problem with his appointment; he'll need a waiver because not enough time has passed since his military retirement. The Republicans will probably rubber-stamp it, but some Democrats are planning to make an issue of it, over the principle of civilian control of government.

Matt, the waiver requires 8 Democratic votes. I don't expect that to be difficult unless something controversial arises. I expect Senate Democrats to focus their aim on Sessions, Carson and Tillerson. They may even derail Carson or Tillerson as each combines a lack of qualifications with genuine vulnerabilities.

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