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Joe Biden’s Surprises

Notwithstanding a few head-scratchers among his cabinet and staffing picks, Joe Biden is being hailed as a paragon of conventionality after years of chaos and discord. But given his initial momentum out of the gate, Biden is already on track to effect radical change – and his team is actually competent enough to do it.

WASHINGTON, DC – Joe Biden knows enough about the US presidency to understand that the first few weeks are the easiest and most pleasant. There inevitably will be setbacks and crises, particularly for a president who took office amidst a raging pandemic, economic collapse, and a climate crisis near to a tipping point.  

In the early weeks a new president can accomplish a lot through executive orders, reversing previous administration policies and signaling a commitment to certain values without interference from Congress. Biden can use the powers of his office unilaterally to push his first priority: controlling the pandemic.

The new president also has a pretty free hand in naming his cabinet. When he first announced his choices to fill many top advisory and cabinet positions, many observers worried that Biden was turning to yesterday’s names to handle today’s most demanding jobs. Biden is gambling on experience as his key to success.

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