The president-elect is somewhat between a rock and a hard place with his selections for cabinet positions and other West Wing roles. On the one hand he faces a very hostile White House that has been stonewalling co-operation on the transition, then a restive progressive wing in his own party who want young like minded appointees, then he has to satisfy the voters who brung him to the dance, and finally find qualified personnel who can be approved in a Senate run by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell…if Georgia goes sour.
So far it seems that Mr. Biden is taking the easy road which makes a certain amount of sense. Given the environment in the West Wing, he’s going to need skilled hands who know were the keys are kept, where their office is, and how the phone system works. A team that he trusts and who can all hit the ground running. Being Joe, this seems like the practical approach I am sure.
But then the squeals start in the party that there are too many oldsters being recycled. And too many Obama cronies in too similar roles. And I don’t totally disagree…except my earlier point that he really needs seasoned professionals from day one. There isn’t time for on the job training.
And that easy middle of the road approach also fits well with the campaign rhetoric to be the president for all Americans…
And there is a lot of pressure on who his Attorney General is going to be. Certainly a person of color…someone with civil rights experience…someone who is forceful in prosecutions…and someone who can restore the integrity and independence of the Department of Justice. My first choice would be Kamala Harris, but I understand that she is gainfully employed elsewhere. This is going to be a tough pick…and will probably please no one…right, left, progressive, or middle.
Or you can go BIG! And nominate every progressive favorite and every young and upcoming party star. And give them the trial by fire experience they all want and will all eventually need to secure future roles in national government. But we’ve already heard the sanctimonious wails from Senator Ted Cruz, Majority Leader McConnell, etal.
So if the Democrats don’t have a majority in the Senate after January 5th, expect the Republicans to hold up every single appointment from the easy way or the big way…no matter what.
It would actually be nice if the Joe Biden transition team knew who is going to control the Senate. If the Republicans were assured the majority, you go and make the BIG picks for your cabinet and let them obstruct every damn one and make their obstructionism an issue. And you hammer away at that and eventually bring in your veterans and force the Senate to confirm your more ‘rational’ choices.
Right now, the Biden team is playing the middle out of necessity…they need experience…they need people who have already been approved once or twice before…and because the president-elect is going into a crisis environment not knowing where his friends are going to be.