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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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Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden starts negotiating to raise capital gains tax rate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden wants to nearly double the capital gains tax paid by wealthy Americans, as first reported yesterday by Bloomberg and confirmed by Axios.

Counterintuitive: Biden's plan is better for private fund managers (hedge, PE, VC, etc.) than what he proposed during the campaign.

Scoop: Caitlyn Jenner makes it official for California governor

Caitlyn Jenner. Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Former Olympic decathlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has filed her initial paperwork to run for governor of California and will officially announce her bid later today, her campaign tells Axios.

The big picture: Jenner, a longtime Republican, is seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, hoping her celebrity status and name recognition can yield an upset in the nation's most populous state.