Imagine you have a job that requires concentration, such as being a pilot in Nepal or a staffer at the White House for our 45th president.
Turbulence is the least of your distractions.
It’s another Tuesday in Washington. To the hundreds of thousands of staffers who support tens of thousands of elected and appointed officials throughout our government, Tuesday is the first day of the three-day work week.
For the boss, that is. Thursday is fly-out day.
The staff week is seven days.
Even in the those prehistoric years before the iPhone and its imitators dominated our days, the work week never ended for the staffers. Sports seasons and all kinds of weather may come and go, but the work of the staffers is always present.
I’m told there are agency, congressional, and White House staffers who share a belief that 2018 is the year in which the runway will be cleared for the bipartisan take-off on a new policy to build more infrastructure.
The staff need something to hope for and to work on, if only to avoid the distraction of Donald J. Trump.
There it is, ladies and gentlemen, all we need to survive this year, and the next, and the one after that, is contained in the previous sentence. Tune out the loud noises clamoring out of the Oval Office. Concentrate on your work.
If I had never been a staffer myself, the logical first question would be, “What items are on the checklist for infrastructure?”
I might try to assemble a catalogue of all the serious problems with our current infrastructure. Nah, getting the content is easy.
The staffer knows that the only productive question in Washington begins with the word, “who?”
“Who is in charge of that issue?”
No one, yet. To the staffer’s ears, that’s a good answer. It means my boss has a shot at it.
Who runs the relevant congressional committees?
More good news.
Most of the people in charge of both sides of the aisle on the committees of jurisdiction are decent, well-staffed, and reasonable. As examples, South Dakota’s John Thune, Pennsylvania’s Bill Shuster, Delaware’s Tom Carper are all decent, well-staffed, and reasonable.
That’s the checklist for success. Put the decent, well-staffed, and reasonable people in charge.
Leave the genius in the stable.