As I write this, it hasn't even been 24 hours since Joe Biden's Democratic National Convention keynote speech accepting his party's nomination for the presidency. We still have a weeklong Republican National Convention ahead of us, and then there are still months to go before Election Day itself. Despite the fact that, politically speaking, there's a lifetime between now and when polls open across the country, those in the former vice president's camp has reportedly already begun to weigh the various personalities and qualifications necessary to create a theoretical Biden Cabinet.
According to Politico, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and former Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken are all part of the team offering their input as to who the former veep should pick for his as-of-now entirely speculative Cabinet.
While Biden's choice of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his VP pick may have signaled that his would be a decidedly moderate administration, Democratic officials who spoke with Politico suggested that as president, Biden's Cabinet picks would be chosen more for their ability to execute, rather than their particular ideological bent — a prospect that seems to bear out, given the composition of the nascent transition team itself. In addition to the decidedly centrist figures like Summers, for whom the progressive movement has an intense antipathy, the group also reportedly includes senior advisers to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal's (Wash.) chief of staff Gautam Raghavan.
Among the names reportedly being considered for Cabinet slots by Biden's team are progressive stalwarts like Warren and California Rep. Karen Bass, who had recently been a dark horse progressive choice for the VP slot that eventually went to Harris. Pete Buttigieg, the decidedly corporate former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is also in the mix, allegedly for either veterans affairs secretary or ambassador to the United Nations — two positions that seem exponentially larger in both scale and responsibility than his previous experience administering a city of just over 100,000 residents.
The challenge — and arguably the reason for the focus on administrative prowess rather than ideology — is that if Biden were to win the presidency, his immediate focus would be on triaging the effects of the past administration, transition head and former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman explained to Politico.
"Between COVID-19, what Trump’s done, and the economy, this is going to be a totally different transition because of that," Kaufman explained. "It’s just going to be very, very difficult."
With that in mind, the fact that Biden's team is seemingly looking at Cabinet picks with months to go before Election Day should be taken as a sign that, if he wins, Biden plans to hit the ground running full speed ahead.