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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.

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.