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Transition to Trump: Donald Trump’s cabinet is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving

With only six days remaining until Christmas, many Americans are no doubt in a panic wondering how to find the best gifts for their loved ones and friends to put under the tree. No worries -- in his daily transition actions, Donald Trump is providing “gifts” to all of us in the form of capable people who will reform our hopelessly corrupt and dysfunctional government.

For weeks the media hemmed and hawed on every new Trump transition leak regarding his cabinet with the Donald Trump Christmassoap opera surrounding the Secretary of State’s post probably garnering the most attention.

With the size and power of the modern federal government, every Trump cabinet appointment is crucial and it’s important to get the right people in all the positions.

Though it’s not as headline-grabbing as some of his cabinet posts have been, Trump filled the position of White House budget director with another dedicated principled conservative over the weekend – a “gift” that will keep on giving.

Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner reports, “President-elect Trump selected South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be his first budget director Saturday morning, a nomination which would put a staunch fiscal conservative in charge of managing the federal budget and the logistics of government affairs.

“’We are going to do great things for the American people with Mick Mulvaney leading the Office of Management and Budget,’ Trump said in a statement. ‘Right now we are nearly $20 trillion in debt, but Mick is a very high-energy leader with deep convictions for how to responsibly manage our nation's finances and save our country from drowning in red ink. With Mick at the head of OMB, my administration is going to make smart choices about America's budget, bring new accountability to our federal government, and renew the American taxpayer's trust in how their money is spent.’”

For his part, Mulvaney said it was a “great honor” to be appointed Director of the OMB. We can only hope he realizes what he’s getting into.

Mulvaney’s credentials are indeed impressive. He co-founded the ant-establishment House Freedom Caucus and is generally regarded as one of the more fiscally conservative members of Congress. Mulvaney did draw some ire for comments he made in 2014 concerning immigration reform and the possibility of legalizing some immigrants, but it should prove no hindrance to his receiving confirmation support from conservative groups as a whole.

Simply put, there aren’t many who question Mulvaney’s fiscal bona fides. And as part of the group that fought for the ouster of the feckless John Boehner as Speaker of the House, Mulvaney has criticized all types of federal spending – including for the military.

Ben Weyl and Alex Isenstadt of Politico report, “Unlike some Republicans, he has pushed to slash spending on both domestic and defense programs since he was elected to the House in 2010 — in contrast with Trump, who has called for boosting the Pentagon's budget and building up the military. If chosen to lead OMB, Mulvaney will play a crucial role in shaping Trump's early agenda, including through drafting the president's first budget.

“Approval of major regulations also goes through the budget office, which would make Mulvaney a key figure in GOP efforts to pare back President Barack Obama’s federal regulations.”

Most conservatives agree the military needs to be strengthened after eight years of cuts, neglect and politically correct social experimentation under the Obama administration. But many also believe military expenditures, like the entirety of the federal budget, need a thorough once-over to see where significant savings can be achieved.

There should be many such opportunities with Mulvaney in charge.

Trump himself seems to agree the military needs some trimming, tweeting the other day, “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

Mulvaney and Trump appear to recognize that blindly dumping money into the military doesn’t necessarily produce a stronger national defense. Finally, there’s a Republican administration that seems to have its thought processes in the right frame of mind.

Though having Mulvaney oversee Trump’s budget won’t exactly be conveyed as a “gift” in most American households this year, the end result could very well be a federal government that gets back to spending our money wisely.

Even #NeverTrumper Erick Erickson is excited about the pick. Erickson wrote at The Resurgent, “Mulvaney has been a passionate tax reformer during his time in Congress. Grow the economy and our nation’s budget issues become solvable. The type of sluggish, low-growth economy that Barack Obama has given us makes the budget picture grim. Conservatives can be confident Mulvaney would be the strongest pro-growth OMB director America has had in decades.

“Mick understands the budget from his years of service on the Budget Committee, has never shied away from a fight, and has a passion for the inner workings of government that would make him the ideal OMB director.”

It’s something everyone should be merry about.

Trump’s cabinet and judiciary signal a return to constitutional originalism

Another man who swore he wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump has changed his tune and is giving the president-elect’s cabinet praise.

No, it’s not Bill Clinton, but commentator Charles Krauthammer’s word arguably carries a lot more sway with folks who would be inclined to support conservative and Republican efforts to repel the Obama agenda. Now even Krauthammer is saying good things about Trump.

Eddie Scarry of the Washington Examiner reports, “Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer, a frequent critic of Donald Trump, said the choices he's made so far to fill out his Cabinet represent a more constitutional approach to governing.

“In an op-ed published Thursday night, Krauthammer said that Democrats and liberals criticizing Trump's nominees for his Cabinet — including Rick Perry for the Energy Department, Rex Tillerson for State and Betsy DeVos at Education — are under delusions that the Constitution dictates what each department is supposed to do.”

Krauthammer was basically asserting there is no constitutional roadmap indicating how federal agencies are supposed to execute their duties and there’s nothing wrong with undoing the Obama administration’s volumes full of harmful regulations that Trump’s new team appears primed and ready to do.

For sure, basic constitutionalism appears to be making a comeback under Trump’s supervision, though admittedly his inauguration is still a month away. But one thing seems obvious even today – that Trump and his transition team understand that individuals and businesses should determine their own destinies with as little intervention from government as possible.

It is also likely the federal courts will have a similar orientation after Trump remakes the judiciary in his own image. He should be able to accomplish a lot fairly quickly.

Burgess Everett of Politico reports, “The Senate GOP confirmed just 20 lifetime judicial appointments to district and appeals courts in its two years in the majority, the lowest number by far in the past 28 years, according to a Congressional Research Service report obtained by POLITICO. That means that President-elect Trump will have major sway over the courts next year, starting with the Supreme Court and going all the way down to the district level.

“The Senate left town last week with 99 judicial vacancies covering district and appeals courts, as well as the current Supreme Court opening. There are 52 Obama nominations to those courts pending, with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland the most prominent nominee still waiting for action.”

At this point Merrick Garland’s confirmation is about as likely to survive as a snowball in hades. But it’s not exactly as though Obama and the Democrats didn’t realize their nominees had very little chance to be pushed through the system. Mitch McConnell made it very clear from the outset that the Supreme Court vacancy and other judicial appointments would have to wait until 2017 when the new president would be taking over.

Instead of recognizing reality the Democrats tried to make a political issue out of Garland in this year’s presidential election and it didn’t work. The fact that much of Trump’s support stemmed from people who were concerned about the direction of the Supreme Court indicates the Democrats’ strategy not only didn’t succeed, it backfired.

Similar to the way Krauthammer discussed Trump’s cabinet members, the new president’s judicial appointees will change the course of the federal courts. Constitutional originalism will be back in vogue and the job of legislating will go back to Congress and the state legislatures to perform.

Judges won’t be making law. Hallelujah.

Everett’s article indicates there are currently 38 “judicial emergencies” which would seem to be the highest priorities for the new administration. Like with Trump’s cabinet appointments, the 60-vote Senate filibuster threshold won’t apply to nominations below the Supreme Court level, so many of these vacancies should be filled rather quickly.

Let’s just say the Senate is going to be rather busy in the coming months trying to unclog the jam created by Obama and the Democrats during the outgoing president’s second term. When the government starts functioning again in the way it was intended, it will be a relief to all of us.

Electoral College will make it official today, Donald J. Trump was elected president

In a political year where nothing has come easy it should come as no surprise that today’s Electoral College vote is being given a lot of attention – by law enforcement.

Whereas the electors casting their official preferences for president is usually considered a formality, there’s some worry that the forces of the left won’t allow any such “normalcy” to be associated with the final votes making Donald J. Trump president.

Kyle Cheney of Politico reports, “The nation’s 538 presidential electors have been thrust into the political foreground like never before in American history. In the aftermath of a uniquely polarizing presidential contest, the once-anonymous electors are squarely in the spotlight, targeted by death threats, harassing phone calls and reams of hate mail. One Texas Republican elector said he’s been bombarded with more than 200,000 emails…

“There have been ad campaigns targeting electors and op-eds assailing their role. One Democratic member of Congress has called to delay the vote for president while an investigation of Russian involvement in the election is underway. Two others have pleaded with electors to consider Russia’s role when deciding how to vote. Progressive groups are preparing protests across the country at sites where electors will meet to cast their ballots. Personal contact information for many electors has been posted publicly — and it’s been used to bury them with massive email campaigns.”

A sane person would assume the public tantrum by the disgruntled Democrats is just a bunch of sound and fury, but with the utter desperation still felt by many on the left, safety of the voting members of the Electoral College – at least the Republican electors – has to be considered a major concern.

The Politico story featured quotes from a handful of Republican electors still very much committed to voting for Trump even if they don’t agree with his personality or his policies. I have to believe nearly all the GOP electors feel the same way. After all, even if the near impossible happened and 37 electors failed to vote for Trump the election would then just shift to the House of Representatives where the president-elect is sure to be constitutionally approved.

This isn’t 2000 all over again where the election droned on through weeks of uncertainty. Not even close.

But nonetheless, the leftists will try to stop the Electoral College today.

Despite all the noise, Trump’s conciliatory tone over the past month has managed to win over some of his former enemies. Anna Giaritelli of the Washington Examiner reports Mitt Romney wrote in a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake City Tribune, “My political journey was surely not so bizarre as the 2016 campaign. That said, let me offer this personal perspective. I was indeed very critical of Donald Trump during his campaign. But now he has been elected president and accordingly, if I could have helped shape foreign policy to protect the country I love, I would have been more than willing to do so.

“I was more than a little surprised that the president-elect reached out to me to potentially serve as secretary of state of the United States…”

Romney said he hoped Trump would continue to welcome alternative views and critics.

I don’t see that as being a problem; Trump seems to enjoy it. But during his final “thank you” rally (in Mobile, Alabama) on Saturday, Trump was all about expressing gratitude to some of those who made his victory possible.

Nancy Cook of Politico reports, “Trump spent the majority of his more than hourlong speech reliving the days leading up to the election. ‘I could give you a beautiful, rhetorical glowing speech, and we could all fall asleep together,’ he said.

“Instead, he opted to tell the crowd the story of how American institutions, from the media to pollsters, incorrectly doubted his candidacy.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions attended the event and Trump called him up on stage. He did the same with campaign manager turned senior advisor Kellyanne Conway.

Trump’s endured some criticism for taking a “victory lap” with campaign-like rallies in states that were keys to his victory. But why shouldn’t Trump be proud of what he and his team have accomplished? And it’s not like the people are getting sick of seeing him. Thousands turned out in the rain in Alabama to attend his final rally.

The hard work of governing lies ahead. Today is the day Donald Trump is officially elected. A good day for America.

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