In reclaiming a more traditional version of the presidency, Biden is using his mandate to confront the political forces that led to Trump’s rise that still provide more than 73 million votes for the president, albeit on a lost cause.
His restoration in Washington is not without risks, and it really goes against Trump’s mix of nihilistic conservatism that is likely to dictate Republican strategy even after he leaves the Oval Office.
Biden said, “Let’s start working to heal and unite America and the world.”
Its recruits, many of whom are under protection, are the antithesis of the authoritarian, anti-science “America First” White House philosophy, style and behavior driven by conspiracy theories and personality cult.
Biden’s domestic policy, health, and economic teams, which are expected to be revealed after Thanksgiving, are likely to share the same mix of experience and knowledge after gaining the attention of the president-elect who has more years of his watch in Washington than any modern predecessor.
“The goal of our administration is to unite again. We cannot continue this fierce political dialogue. It must end,” Biden said.
His main point is: the American people, after witnessing the chaos, nepotism and anti-intellectualism in government amid a pandemic that has claimed the lives of a quarter of a million of their own citizens, and while the United States has turned its back on its friends abroad, now they only want people who know what they’re doing and not make a big fuss while doing it. . The highlights of each Tuesday’s candidate from Thomas Greenfield, who is black, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas, who is of Spanish descent, mark a singular departure from Trump in character, background, and qualifications.
Pluralism, diplomacy, quiet competence, scholarly rigor, inclusiveness, collegiality among senior officials, respect for civil servants, the intelligence community and the welcoming of immigrants.
Attacking allies, populism, nationalism, White House absenteeism, authoritarian coding, kissing cabinet meetings, political hacking running spy agencies, and belittling politically inappropriate threats – like killer viruses are over.
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landreau believes Biden’s nominees reflect the man who chose them.
“The president-elect has been demonstrating and modeling presidential behavior,” Landrieu told CNN reporter Brooke Baldwin.
“He’s just trying to show the people of America what it looks like when you have a balanced, stable, thoughtful and experienced president,” he said.
The president-elect will likely adopt this character again when he delivers a speech of thanks to the American people from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday.
America is completely different
The sharp turn America will take on Inauguration Day on January 20 reflects the draconian choice that voters had on November 3 – and which was made clearer only further during Trump’s subsequent attempt to steal the election. It also underscores the resilience of the American political system that has the inherent ability to confront the excesses of its leaders, and often produce presidents unlike their predecessors.
Four years ago, Trump won the election after a campaign in which he pledged to destroy the political and economic establishment in Washington. His presidency has torn apart the institutions of federal power and elite consensus on economic, domestic, immigration and foreign policy.
In many ways, by placing his trust in the hands of veteran Washington as Blinken and the nominee for National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Biden is rebuilding that administrative nation. Perhaps the president-elect himself is a more established, experienced, and traditional figure than former Secretary of State and longtime Senator John Kerry, who will act as the presidential climate envoy and is exactly the kind of global citizen that Bannon and his fellow travelers were. condemn.
Biden makes no secret of his belief that more government is a good thing. In a statement released on Monday after the Trump administration finally agreed to start the transition, his team pledged to gain a full understanding of “Trump’s efforts to empty government agencies.”
Many of Biden’s national security candidates on Monday were keen to praise the invisible servants of government who keep running the country but were treated like an enemy during the Trump years.
Thomas Greenfield said: “My fellow diplomats and civil servants around the world. I want to tell you, America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back.” Haines spoke publicly to members of the secret society who were often on Trump’s list of goals.
“The work you do, often under the harshest conditions imaginable, is indispensable,” Haines said. Many candidates have offered loyalty to the American ideal, the Congress, the American public, and democracy. While they all praised Biden, there was little in the way of the exaggerated praise and expressions of personal loyalty Trump demands from his subordinates. Haines told her new boss that she would tell him bad news that he did not like to hear, in yet another tacit criticism of the Trump administration.
A different breed of officials
The impression of professionalism and competence the group offered was in contrast to the backward employees Trump relied on, who were in many cases ineligible for the great roles of the state but who thrived by prioritizing loyalty to the president.
Not all of Trump’s initial selections for cabinet were of the same mold. The likes of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats were experienced and experts in their fields. But their attempts to play the role Biden expected of his appointment were frustrated when they were constantly undermined by Trump who saw his government as the exclusive service of his personal needs. And these officials, dubbed “the big ones” in the press, often spend their time controlling the worst of a president’s volatile motives.
Biden’s approach is tailored to the circumstances in which he takes office. With the Covid-19 virus spiraling out of control, it will confront a nation in dire need of an organized strategy to roll out a vaccine that can restore normality. Just not being Trump and signing again the Paris climate agreement will give him immediate victories on the world stage.
But in the long run, the test of his presidency will be whether his vision of quiet and deliberate leadership can pacify a nation whose politics resemble a wild jungle, where his opponents did not wait until his victory in the election to try to delegitimize him and where there is no longer a common version of the truth.
After all, President Barack Obama once tried to engage his opponents with facts and logic within the traditions of the American system of government. It didn’t get him far with the Republican opponents, whose political presence was aimed at thwarting everything he was proposing.
If things get worse, Biden will face allegations that the return of the administrative state has caused a disaster, which will feed Trump if he runs again in 2024 and the candidates hoping not to get a chance.
Abroad, Biden must demonstrate whether an allied indulgence, a methodical policy process and the hard work of dialogue can constrain the world of rising American competitors who have rocked the crumbling global order in which he grew up. Experience and foreign policy expertise in successive administrations has never resolved some of the thorniest issues – such as North Korea’s nuclear endeavor.
One reason Trump won four years ago is because many Americans believed that the globalization instincts of a generation of Washington elites caused their jobs to travel abroad and the wars in which their children were sent to fight.
“Biden’s cabinet choices have gone to Ivy League schools, have strong CVs, attend all the right conferences and will be courteous and organized in caring for America’s decline,” Rubio wrote on Twitter. “I support American greatness. I have no interest in returning to the normal situation that made us dependent on China.”
His tweet, which overlooked the fact that many Trump officials also went to Ivy League schools, summed up the duel between Biden’s traditional leadership in the White House at home and abroad, and the populism Trump mocked.