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Are Members Of The Old Guard Sinking Biden's Presidency?

A President is only as good as the people he surrounds himself with.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a Cabinet Meeting at the White House on September 06, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden spoke on his administration's efforts to strengthen the economy. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

According to the New York Times, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who has often been dubbed the Prime Minister, called John Podesta to offer him a White House role.  

Podesta is the poster figure for what is wrong with America. In his 73 years, he has never held a private-sector role. His first job after law school, in 1976, was to serve in the Department of Justice. Since then, he has flawlessly moved between Congress, the Executive Branch, and Democratic political campaigns, perfecting Washington connections.

The Times fawns over Podesta's power-broker resume: he was the opposition research director for Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee; he served on Capitol Hill as a top aide to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont; and also to Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota when he served as Democratic minority leader. He was President Clinton's chief of staff during impeachment proceedings and President Obama's counselor during the second term, before taking over as Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.  

Podesta is an impressive power broker in the four other institutions that dominate the modern deep state: K-Street, think tanks, media, and academia.  

Teaming up with his brother Tony Podesta, he is highly active in political lobbying, with the world's largest corporations as clients, including Wal-Mart, Bank of America, B.P., and Lockheed Martin. The Podesta Group counts numerous foreign entities as its clients, including Russia's largest financial institution, Sberbank of Russia.

He founded and serves as Chairman of the Center for American Progress. This liberal think tank is the policy engine and recruiting arm for senior positions in Democratic administrations.  

After the failed 2016 campaign, he joined the Washington Post as a columnist. Finally, he serves on the faculty of Georgetown University.

John Podesta is just the latest political hack to join the Biden White House. Nearly every other cast member has spent a lifetime cultivating the corridors of Washington power, seamlessly moving from one to another.

Ron Klain himself served as a Congressional aide, a law clerk, and the Ebola Czar during the Obama administration.

Susan Rice first served in the Brookings Institution, then, in the Clinton administration, moved to the U.N. as ambassador during Obama's first term (remember Benghazi and her appearance on all five Sunday shows?) and as his national security adviser in his second term. Today, she is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and behind every failed policy of the Biden administration that has brought about record inflation and a wrong-track rating of over 70%.

Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, who served in senior foreign policy roles during the two Obama terms, also has no private sector job experience other than political consulting. He co-founded WestExec Advisors with former Obama alumni - Michèle Flournoy, Sergio Aguirre, and Nitin Chadda. And during the Trump administration, he employed other prominent Obama-Biden figures who were unemployed, including Lisa Monaco, Robert O. Work, Avril Haines, David S. Cohen, and Jen Psaki.

Jake Sullivan, another Washington swamp figure, has easily moved from serving in administrations to academia to political campaigns. As the brash National Security Adviser to President Biden now, he oversees the sending of weapons to the Ukrainian theater, and now, Taiwan. It is little wonder that the big military contractors like Boeing and Raytheon are pleased.

Trump's 2015 campaign was not just about illegal immigration and the wall. It was primarily about how foreign countries took advantage of the political swamp in Washington that led to decades of sub-optimal decisions that have enriched the power brokers at the expense of the ordinary voter. His "Drain the swamp!" lines often generated the best applause in his speeches.

Despite some business challenges, ordinary Americans see that former President Trump employed tens of thousands of people and contributed to private sector GDP. His most enduring appeal is that though he is enormously wealthy, he was never part of the swamp.

A report, by the Committee to Unleash the Economy, released in July, revealed that the top 68 officials in the Biden team, including the policymakers, have no experience whatsoever in the private sector.

An I&I/TIPP Poll conducted in July showed that confidence in the President’s men and women was dismally low among Americans. Fewer than fifty percent of survey respondents gave Biden's advisers a good grade in each category. Only 31% assigned a good grade to the economic team of advisers. The other areas, national security (36%), foreign policy (32%), climate (32%), and immigration (29%), also garnered good grades only from a few.

As the seasoned journalist Terry Jones pointed out in his column, “(sic) a stunning lack of confidence by the public in the quality of the administration's key policymakers and advisers, who at times have been faulted for being clueless, out of touch or just plain ignorant about the impacts their policy prescriptions have.”

Even accounting for political affiliation, the fact remains that a President is only as good as the people he surrounds himself with. With the President's approval rating at a record low and American discontent on the rise, a change in the old guard would likely benefit the President more than speeches slamming his opponents as a midterm strategy to attract voters.

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