The Question to Ask: Who’ll Pull Biden’s Strings?
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, (R) speaks to the media, flanked by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., after meeting with the White House Chief of Staff and the US Treasury Secretary on coronavirus relief at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 7, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Guessing who would be closest to Joe Biden if he wins the presidency is the latest parlor game being played in and beyond Washington.
Fed by encouraging poll numbers, and by the liberal establishment’s quenchless thirst to replace a force they can neither fathom nor control, names of key Bidenistas are being bandied about for wielding the keys to that potential kingdom.
This insiders’ “Game of Thrones” is now honing in on campaign advisors and party VIPs considered closest to the Biden brood.
They include Steve Richetti (former Chief of Staff and Bill Clinton veteran); Anita Dunn (the ex-Obama communications powerhouse who’s married to former Obama counsel Robert Bauer); political uber-meister Mike Donilon (he and his siblings family have served in premier roles within the Clinton-Obama-Biden axis); and sister Valerie Biden Owens (she’s managed every campaign in her brother’s career).
Each are all good bets to continue playing might mighty roles in Joe Biden’s life as a part of his administration.
Add to this core a circle of pols who, by dint of position alone, could propel (or dispel) any Democratic Party presidential wannabe.
Start with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, add a few political forces like Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former-South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, then sprinkle in every one of Biden’s soon-to-be also-rans in his vice presidential derby (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Stacey Abrams, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., et al.) and you can claim you’ve identified the in-crowd, the ones who will have Joe Biden’s attention.
Yes. And no.
Yes, together with Jill Biden, they will be seen as front line luminaries with front page appeal.
No, because they alone will not determine the success of “lunch bucket Joe” as much as five others, a “fearsome five” who may bear no public title but will wield outsized influence.
These five forces of nature:
—President Barack Obama (with a big assist from Michelle). Time has not dulled his ability to move the hearts and minds of the party faithful, and he can do more than any other American to legitimize his former vide president as a ruler in his own right. Obama’s reticence about giving Biden his endorsement early on will further fuel Barack’s stature as a vital validator moving forward.
—U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. (AOC), the firebrand of the fired-up, will push that leftward move even harder without reservation or compromise.
With little regard for convention, and absolutely no regard for whose toes she breaks along the way, AOC will declare her $93-trillion “Green New Deal” all but non-negotiable; you’re in or you’re not. Joe Biden will be bullied to play ball here, and he will, in line with the popular bromide you keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
—Former Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro may have failed to score the nomination, but he did become a champion of decriminalizing illegal immigration in defense of those who cross the border willfully and wantonly. With the growing influence of Hispanics in American politics (and for Democrat prospects) Castro will be a force to be reckoned with.
—Black Lives Matter (BLM) This movement, which at times has proved more than a match for the calamitous COVID-19 pandemic, is Biden’s greatest dream and worst nightmare. While central to his electoral fortunes, BLM is in no mood to negotiate away protest-fueled mandates like defunding the police or reparations for all.
We saw what happened recently to the Democratic mayors of Minneapolis and Portland when they appealed for some semblance of balance; now imagine Joe Biden trying to straddle the same line.
These five players share one thing in common; they want to forge a transformational tilt to the left that will not only impact our economy, health, security, and domestic tranquility but the nature of the social contract that holds us together.
Whether or not Joe Biden intends for that to happen, it’s already clear it won’t be his call.
The horse will already be out of the barn — and at a full gallop.
Adam Goodman is a national Republican media strategist and columnist. He is a partner at Ballard Partners in Washington D.C. He is also the first Edward R. Murrow Senior Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. Follow him on Twitter @adamgoodman3. Read Adam Goodman’s Reports — More Here.
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