Wednesday, December 9, 2020

How Biden and Trump differ in nominations for cabinet posts

I’ve been tracking Biden’s nominations for various posts in his administration. It’s an amazing, although not altogether suprising, list characterized by competence and experience. In contrast, recall Trump’s habit of installing loyalists (aka royalists?) who do considerable damage to the agencies and departments they are supposed to lead. I propose two simple formulae to explain the Biden vs. Trump differences.

Trump: For a given agency X, pick as its leader someone who is fiercely antiX. Then sit back and watch the carnage. That is the X/AntiX formula.

Biden: For a given agency X, pick as its leader someone who is fiercely ProX. Then sit back and watch the agency flourish. That is the X/ProX formula.

For background, here is an example of Trump’s appointment strategy (edited for brevity). BLM appointment follows Trumpian antigovernment bias.

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reports on how a Trump pick to oversee federal lands opposes federal land ownership.

When it comes to personnel decisions in the Trump administration, there’s an alarmingly long list of officials who never should’ve been chosen for their position. Some are wholly unqualified, some are radical ideologues and partisans, and some are both.

But it’s against this backdrop that we see a special subset category: administration officials who fundamentally oppose the mission of the department they were asked to lead.

The BLM choice is an example of Scriber’s X/AntiX formula for Trump administration hires

Pendley will] join an administration that’s featured a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau led by someone who doesn’t believe there should be a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an Education secretary openly hostile toward public schools, an EPA administrator who’s repeatedly fought against the EPA, an Energy secretary who’s called for the elimination of the Department of Energy, and an opponent of Medicaid expansion who was put in charge of overseeing Medicaid expansion.

In a post back in December 2016 I asked you to “Think of these associations. Perry –> Energy. DeVos –> Education. Sessions –> Justice. Price –> HHS. Zinke –> Interior. Carson–> HUD. Pruitt –> EPA. Now add Mulvaney –> OMB…” Those were offered as evidence for my formula describing (explaining?) Trump’s choices of agency heads. Each of these cases is an instance of the X/AntiX formula. For a given agency X, pick as its leader someone who is fiercely antiX. Then sit back and watch the carnage.

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