That’s a line out of the advice a former White House chief has already offered the Obama administration.

This campaign for president began the day after the ‘06 mid-terms. The preparation of the new president has begun the day after his election.

On the shoulders of a 47-year-old first-term senator,
with the power of inspiration yet no real executive experience, now
falls the responsibility of prosecuting two wars, protecting the nation
from terrorist threat and stitching back together a shredded economy.

Given the depth of these issues, Mr. Obama has little choice but to
“put your arm around chaos,” in the words of Leon E. Panetta, the
former White House chief of staff who has been advising his transition
team.

“You better damn well do the tough stuff up front, because if you
think you can delay the tough decisions and tiptoe past the graveyard,
you’re in for a lot of trouble,” Mr. Panetta said. “Make the decisions
that involve pain and sacrifice up front.”

Pain and sacrifice for whom?

The politics of assembling a stimulus package in this
netherworld between administrations could be difficult to overcome as
he tries to balance pent-up demand from now-victorious Democrats eager
to use their power of the purse with the reality that Mr. Bush still
holds the veto pen for 77 more days. In the end, Democrats said, Mr.
Obama and Congressional leaders would pare their spending plans if they
could not get Mr. Bush and Senate Republicans to agree, then come back
in January when they have unfettered control.

Unfettered control may mean pain and sacrifice for whoever the power brokers decide to target.

Here are some clues:

Democrats in Congress plan to use their election gains
to push for an economic stimulus measure, expanded health-care for
children and funding for stem-cell research — and then follow
President-elect Barack Obama’s lead…

The business community is bracing for changes. Bruce Josten,
executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the top
concern for his group is possible passage of the Employee Free Choice
Act, which makes it easier to form unions in workplaces.

Another sacrifice will be the additional lives of unborn babies loss if the (mis-named) ‘Freedom of Choice Act’ is enacted, too.

Meanwhile, analysts said some of the Democrat-backed
ideas that failed to make it into this year’s $700 billion financial
bailout legislation are likely to be revived.

How will they pay for that?

A plan to boost taxes on managers of hedge funds and private-equity firms could re-emerge, analysts said…

Doesn’t look like any tip-toeing going on yet, and no reason to believe there will be any, given the first signs.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....