By Judd Gregg - 12-12-16 06:00 AM EST
With the exception of a few late-night tweets that suggest he is sometimes visited by hobgoblins in the hours of darkness that take over his phone, the actions and appointments of President-elect Trump have been strong and decisive.
This is especially true regarding the people with whom he is choosing to surround himself in the White House and in his cabinet.
Reince Priebus is an exceptional choice for chief of staff.
This is a tough job and its impact on the presidency is immense. A chief of staff is obviously the gatekeeper, but he is also the fixer.
When problems arise, as they always do - especially with Congress - it is the chief of staff's job to go up to the Hill, stroke egos and settle the seas.
This requires a person who is calm, smart and who knows how to work with people. Everyone knows the chief of staff has the power, but it is important that he does not act as if he knows this too.
Reince Priebus was made for this job. He is respected by everyone in the Republican Party and especially by his fellow Wisconsinite, Speaker Paul Ryan.
Jeff Session as attorney general is also a great choice. He has the talent and depth to do this job right. Unfortunately the job of attorney general became essentially a political position under President Obama. This is not healthy.
The attorney general needs to be able to counsel the president but also stand up to him if he believes the course being followed is inappropriate.
Jeff Sessions has always been that type of person. In the Senate, he is a leader of strong opinions. But he also understands how to be team player.
Under Sessions, the attorney general's office will move from being an arm of the White House political operation to being the best law firm in town. He will give it direction, firmness and fairness.
One of the sleeper appointments that the president-elect has made is his choice for secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos did not get a great deal of attention when her name was announced.
If you want to "make America great again," one of the first places to start is our educational system. Under the Obama administration, educational initiatives have been hamstrung by the power of the teachers' unions and by political correctness on steroids.
DeVos has a long and exceptional track record of pushing for strong, effective educational reforms that give kids a shot at success.
This is a playing field littered with the destroyed dreams of kids who were stuck in the dysfunctional system promoted and underwritten by the elitist left and their union allies. The opportunities to improve the way kids are educated in our country are literally limitless but the forces that resist such improvement are exceptionally strong.
DeVos understands this. She has fought wars against the status quo and its keepers, the teachers' union leadership. She will be a new broom, sweeping in great ideas.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), may be the most important and influential appointment the president-elect makes in terms of domestic policy. Healthcare is where the action is.
ObamaCare is an unhealed, self-inflicted wound on our nation's healthcare system, on our people's ability to get good health insurance, and on our fiscal deficit.
Its core will be repealed and replaced. But how it is replaced will determine not only the quality and availability of health care for most Americans but also the fiscal solvency of the federal government.
Price, himself a doctor, gets this. He realizes that healthcare delivery cannot be managed by single brush strokes from Washington. Its quality, cost and manner of delivery are constantly mutating.
Washington's role is inevitably large, especially since Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' care make up such a large part of the pie. But real change is going to come from the folks on the frontline not from the folks in the HHS headquarters. Leading HHS is a job of extraordinary complexity, but if there is a person who can do it well, it is Dr. Tom Price.
In addition to these folks, the other people that President-elect Trump is appointing, such as his designees for the departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Defense, all have similar traits. (Safeguarding civilian leadership of the Pentagon is a significant issue, however.)
They are strong, independent, knowledgeable talents who are not about to simply nod their heads in agreement with the president. They will stand up for their values and they will get results.
In her book "Team of Rivals," which is focused on President Lincoln, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin showed that a president can dramatically improve his effectiveness by having very different but very strong people around him.
The group that President-elect Trump is gathering is not in a true sense a team of rivals. But it is the type of group that can help a great deal in making his presidency a success.
Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.