Move an embassy, drill baby drill, or repeal Obamacare? How the GOP candidates plan to spend their first day in office.

My attention was struck by this tweet today from Newt Gingrich: "My first day in office, I will move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's chosen place, Jerusalem."

Putting aside the wisdom of that decision, is this symbolic gesture really the best use of the president's first day in office during a time of recession and war? I doubt that would even be the first thing on Benjamin Netanyahu's wish list for the new president.

Not to worry though, Gingrich has other plans for his first day -- and he's even taking suggestions on his website. In addition to the Jerusalem move, Gingrich will sign executive orders to "eliminate the thirty-nine White House "Czar" positions created during the current administration," reinstate the ""Mexico City Policy," to prohibit the funding of international NGOs that provide abortions (which is also what George W. Bush did on his first day) and "Restore conscience clause protections for Healthcare Workers."

These all seem like somewhat niche issues. But still, not a bad day's work.

Here's how the other candidates are planning to spend Jan. 21, 2013:

Michele Bachmann also says she'll use her first 24-hours to move the embassy to Jerusalem. (History suggests this will not happen.)   

Rick Perry's going to repeal Obama's healthcare law on his first day, and he's even picked out the sharpie he's going to do it with. 

Ron Paul says he'd start with foreign policy by "bringing the troops home so they can spend their money here instead of overseas.'

Jon Huntsman's got a busy day planned for himself, with "three immediate steps" on energy policy including clarifying rules to allow offshore drilling and fracking, opening the U.S. fuel network to alternative energy, and eliminating "every subsidy for energy companies."

But no candidate in the race has as ambitious a plan to hit the ground running as Mitt Romney, who has five bills and five executive orders planned for day one,  including eliminating energy regulations, implementing the free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, labeling China a currency manipulator, and giving states waivers to opt out of Obamacare.

In case you don't remember, on Obama's first day, he froze White House salaries, unveiled new ethics rules, appointed George Mitchell as Mideast peace negotiator, and issued an executive order closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. (The last two didn't work out so well.)



Gorbachev's long journey to anti-Putinism

As has been widely reported today, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has called for a re-vote in Russia's parliamentary elections, saying, "The country's leaders must admit there were numerous falsifications and rigging and the results do not reflect the people's will."

The country's leaders are unlikely to take this call all the seriously, given Gorbachev's much-diminished stature in Russian politics. But it's interesting to trace the trajectory of Gorbachev's attitude toward Russia's ruling tandem.

When Putin first came to power, the former leader praised him effusively, saying in 2001, "What he has been able to do over the past year inspires me." He was not so kind to Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin, of whom he reflected that in retrospect he should have sent him "to some banana republic" when he had the chance in 1991. 

Gorbachev was mostly supportive of Putin throughout his first presidency, though there were early signs of a break in 2006 when he bought a stake in Novaya Gazeta, Russia's leading independent newspaper, which has been highly critical of the Kremlin and often seen its reporters targeted for harassment as a result. 

Nonetheless, Gorbachev continued to praise Putin in 2007, crediting him with having "pulled Russia out of chaos." The next year, he criticized opposition groups for holding anti-government demonstrations that woud only "complicate the situation in the country and push for instability."

In 2007, Gorbachev tried to have it both ways, praising Putin but criticizing his party and the political system he helped shape. 

"I am on Putin's side. I do not hold high respect toward the State Duma [the lower house of parliament]. But I think Putin has rendered great service to Russia," Gorbachev told a news conference in Moscow. ... "I dislike this party, it is not a people's party," the ex-Soviet leader said.

Gorbachev also criticized the jailing of chessmaster and Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov. 

In 2008, after former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was disqualified from presidential elections, eliminating virtually the only credible opposition alternative to Dmitry Medvedev, Gorbachev called for electoral reforms, saying,  “Something is wrong with our elections, and our electoral system needs a major adjustment.”

The criticism of United Russia got even stronger in 2009, when Gorvachev called it "a party of bureaucrats and the worst version of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union."

While he once shied away from criticizing Putin directly, Gorbachev showed no such reservations by 2010:

“He thinks that democracy stands in his way,” Mr. Gorbachev said.

“I am afraid that they have been saddled with this idea that this unmanageable country needs authoritarianism,” Mr. Gorbachev said, referring to Mr. Putin and his close ally, President Dmitri A. Medvedev. “They think they cannot do without it.”

Of course, given that 20 percent of Russians feel actively hostile toward Gorbachev, 47 percent of Russians "don't care about him at all," and only 5 percent admire him, it's easy to wonder how much his late-in-life reinvention as a dissident has to do with realizing that his main constituency is now outside his home country.