Vermont’s Bernie Sanders continues to be a bit miffed that President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t recognized the value of the nation’s progressive movement. It he had, his proposed cabinet choices would reflect it. They don’t.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” he made the point that the progressives make up between 35 percent and 40 percent of the Democratic coalition, which means that of the 15 cabinet positions at least five should reflect that demographic.
Early on, Mr. Sanders was in the running for one of those positions — Secretary of Labor — and he expressed a clear interest in the position, perhaps thinking, with good reason, that his showing in the presidential primary was evidence of his national following. There was a point — following his primary win in Nevada and before North Carolina — where he wore the label of front-runner and had the pundits asking whether anyone could stop him.
Doesn’t Mr. Biden remember? Mr. Sanders is asking.
He does. It’s just that he doesn’t want what Mr. Sanders is selling. He won the Democratic presidential primary because he is a centrist Democrat and through his 48 years has learned that the work gets done in the middle, not on the fringes. And that’s just for starters.
Mr. Sanders is no longer on Mr. Biden’s short list because he attracts the same thunderbolts from the right that Donald Trump attracts from the left. There’s no upside for Mr. Biden to have Mr. Sanders in his cabinet; upside means being able to work both sides of the congressional aisle when pertinent legislation is in play. Mr. Sanders only works one side of the aisle, and then with middling results.
Mr. Biden has nearly completed his choices to fill his cabinet and without exception, they are in the political middle, deeply experienced, and widely respected. There are no super stars, people who seek attention and people who would, by their nature, place themselves at the center of attention. There are no Hillary Clintons.
That’s by choice. Mr. Biden doesn’t need the nuisance that comes with high-priced egos. There is a good chance that any conversation about Mr. Biden choosing Mr. Sanders would include questions about being able to work with him, and if Mr. Sanders would be able and willing to push down his own beliefs in deference to Mr. Biden’s.
Any Vermonter could answer that question with ease.
It wouldn’t happen.
When is the last time Mr. Sanders has been anything other than his own boss? When is the last time he chose to be silent when someone in the room said something he thought was wrong?
He’s comfortable where he is, doing what he’s always done. He will remain an agitator; a role he’s uniquely qualified to hold. Meanwhile, Mr. Biden will continue with his centrist ways. He’s got a country to run.
by Emerson Lynn