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August 23, 2008

Biden People
Posted by Moira Whelan

Ditto what Shawn said about Biden, but I wanted to toss out one thing for consideration…

I, like others, have been impressed with his mastery of the broad range of national security issues and his early identification of emerging challenges. He knows how various factors fit together and his judgment is for the most part, excellent.

But what has impressed me most, for years, is his staff. He knows how to pick ‘em, and that’s no small thing. Brilliant people come and go in DC, but rarely do they also have the ability to pick quality staff the way Biden does. His folks always are among the brightest from a policy standpoint, but also possess a sophisticated political acumen. It’s a rare but valuable combination. I’ve had the privilege of working for, and with, many of these folks, and count them among my friends. I’ve always gotten the sense that their boss respected them for their abilities and listened to their ideas rather then them simply having to implement his. They were encouraged to push hard and dig deep on issues. They were challenged by Biden, but in a good way. The Boss reads, talks to experts, and asks questions. He challenges his staff and calls them to the carpet. Why? Because the most important thing is to get the answer right and to be honest about the challenges we face.

As a result of having a staff that is so good, Biden is almost never behind the curve of policy developments. He’s proactive, not reactive.That’s a huge strategic advantage, and as a result, becoming a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a badge of validation among foreign policy folks. Further than that, you’ll hear from many foreign policy experts how closely they work with Biden. They’re not making it up. Biden counts on a broad range of people to get the job done right. Many, many people feel they have influence on his approach and as a result when the final product is announced, they feel invested, but the view is all Biden, and usually better. Biden collects the best. Simple as that.

This translates in a big way to an executive branch position. If Obama-Biden is the winning ticket, lots of people will be brought in to reverse the reckless policies of the past 7 years and put America on the right track. With such a small window of time and so much to do, picking the right people is critical. Biden recognizes talent, and has learned how to pick people with sound policy judgment but who can also navigate the interagency, and the multiple political roadblocks thrown in the path of even the purest of intentions. This could be his greatest contribution to an Obama administration.

If Obama-Biden takes command on January 20, it will be with the most talented people available to implement what needs to be done, not just the people who campaigned well.

Congrats to all my Biden pals, and good luck to you.


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This particular puff piece is long on generalities and short on specifics.

The best and the brightest -- where have we heard that before. With all this bright help, Biden has been a "proactive" champion of war in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the misguided "war on terror." He has advocated breaking up Iraq, which is kind of like the Iraqis advocating breaking up Delaware. Brilliant. So much for "his mastery of the broad range of national security issues." But I suppose that in a land of midgets "The Boss" stands out.

Given this, Biden has been good on Iran and perhaps he can get Obama to back off his military ambitions in Pakistan, although that would require a lessening of his past belligerency. Perhaps his bright staff can help him.

"If Obama-Biden takes command on January 20, it will be with the most talented people available to implement what needs to be done, not just the people who campaigned well."

Get off the pipe.

Reidar Visser
"Change the Iraqis Can Believe In? Why Obama–Biden Could Mean More of the Same (Or Maybe Something Worse)"

Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

The Biden people are good, but the Obama staff may be even better. While Tony Blinken and Brian McKeon, in particular, are outstanding, there are a few gasbags on the SFRC Democratic staff .... let's not get carried away here.

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