Nov 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's dull-by-design plan

Biden
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The most remarkable part of President-elect Biden’s campaign and early picks for positions of true power is the unremarkable — and predictable — nature of his big moves. 

Why it matters: Biden is obsessed with bringing stability and conventional sanity back to governance. "He is approaching this — in part — like an experienced mechanic intent on repairing something that's been badly broken," said one source familiar with the president-elect's thinking.

The picks — including Tony Blinken for secretary of state, which leaked last night and is to be announced tomorrow — fit with Biden's penchant for sticking to comfort foods when it comes to people, policies and political techniques. 

  • "He knows everybody. But these are the people he really knows, and he's going with 'em," a former Obama-Biden official told Axios.
  • The official said: "Biden wants process. Trump was the anti-process guy. Their idea is that process is their friend."

The big picture: All modern White Houses are oligarchies — authentic power is held by just a few. So pay closest attention to the chosen few who are inserted into the real inner circle.

Blinken was national security adviser to Biden when he was V.P., before becoming President Obama's principal deputy national security adviser, then deputy secretary of state.

Other longtime Biden hands on the new White House team:

  • Senior adviser Mike Donilon has been an adviser and consultant to Biden since 1981.
  • Chief of staff Ron Klain, who first worked for Sen. Joe Biden in the late '80s, was later Biden's chief of staff as vice president, then White House Ebola response coordinator.
  • Cathy Russell, the White House director of presidential personnel, worked on Biden's 1988 presidential campaign and was chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden in the White House, before becoming U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State during the Obama Administration.
  • Counselor Steve Ricchetti went to work for Biden in the White House in 2012.
  • Jake Sullivan, a longtime Biden and Hillary Clinton adviser, is expected to be named national security adviser.
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