(Readers: Please note the blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog, how the characters are constructed and about the author.)

Scene: Conversation resumes after coffee refills. POTUS had called Jordan for advice how to get Congress working together again.  Before the break, Jordan and POTUS discussed the approach to the presidency taken by Harry S. Truman. Beginning of conversation.

POTUS: “Jordan, you back on the line?”

coffee-cupJordan: “Yes, sir.  Coffee cup refilled and ready.”

POTUS: “We were talking about using addressing infrastructure issues as a way to get Congress to start working together.  How do we get started?”

Jordan: “First, as general manager, you’ll need to lead the effort.”

POTUS: “OK.  What’s the best way to frame the problem and the solution?”

Jordan: “The problem…to me anyway…is the US needs to bring existing infrastructure up to world standards, and preferably the US should become the world standard.  Why?  We need infrastructure to maintain jobs and create new jobs.”

021214_1242_24Resultsof1.gifPOTUS: “You said existing infrastructure.  You talking about rebuilding existing infrastructure?  Why not build new infrastructure?”

Jordan:  “If we rebuild existing infrastructure, I think we reduce the fight about taking away productive land or cutting down trees and then paving over with concrete.  Lots of resistance to taking that approach…and I happen to agree.  Rebuilding reduces the carbon footprint from these projects.”

POTUS: “But doesn’t rebuilding cost more?  Republicans will scream the projects are wasting taxpayer dollars.”

Jordan: “Here’s where you need to frame the cost in holistic terms rather than allowing critics to look at the cost of only one component.”

POTUS: “Tell me more of what you mean.”

1-road-constructionJordan: “I agree that say building a road over existing farmland is cheaper if one considers only the actual cost of construction.  But let’s look at the whole picture.”

POTUS: “You mean what is the cost of taking productive farm land out of production…forever.”

Jordan: “Yes, and what are we going to do with the old road?  If we leave it, there is no immediate cost but the road will need repair over time.”

POTUS: “What about the additional disruption to the environment and wildlife with the new road.  Such disruption occurred when the original road was built.  A new road is effectively doubling the negative impact on the environment.  Now I see what you mean by holistic approach.”

Jordan: “I know we are not supposed to mix religion and politics but there are numerous citations in the bible about being a good steward of the environment.  I Bible Genericwouldn’t be as blatant as some Republicans are but referencing Genesis now and then might help the argument.”

POTUS: “At least make the conservative Republicans think before resisting.  So you really believe much of the infrastructure can be rebuilt cost effectively?”

Jordan: “Here’s another angle.  People are going to whine that rebuilding is going to cause congestion and disrupt their lives.  So rather than apologize about the disruption, frame the disruption as an indicator of economic development, job Delayscreation.  Now everyone affected by the disruption is contributing to economic growth and helping reduce the carbon footprint.”

POTUS: “I like this approach.  So where do we start with one of these programs?”

Jordan: “Most successful projects I’ve been involved with have a pilot program.”

POTUS: “Smooth out the inevitable kinks.”

Jordan: “Exactly.  If I were you, I would start infrastructure rebuilding in places that have been hit hardest by either bad policy coming out of Washington or inaction by Washington.”

POTUS: “Such as?”

Jordan: “Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee.  All have been hard hit by poor economic policy, including tax policy that encourages companies to relocate mmichiganelsewhere in the US and even worse, relocate outside the US.  The tax policy has benefited company executives and hurt the workers and these cities.”

POTUS: “People are going to resist rebuilding those cities.  Many will claim the cities are at fault, not Washington, and therefore the cities deserve to die on the vine.”

Jordan: “Pardon me for being rude, but Mr. President if you want to act like HST (Harry S. Truman) then do so and quit being concerned about what people think.  The buck stops in your office.”

POTUS: “No pardon necessary, Jordan.  Your comment is spot on.  And, yes, the buck does stop in the Oval Office.  I or whomever is president, needs to lead and do what’s Harry Truman's The Buck Stops Here Signright…and quit worrying about the polls.”

Jordan: “You and I know that some people will criticize you no matter what.  If you take the lead and act more like a general manager trying to build a team, the group that criticizes will become smaller and smaller.”

POTUS: “OK, Jordan, I got it.  Even if I don’t benefit personally, the next POTUS and the ones thereafter will.”

Jordan: “Mr. President, I think we have the start of a wonderful relationship between the White House and the public.  And the country will be much better off.”

Jordan: “I agree.  And, Jordan, thanks.”