POLITICS · WORLD NEWS

Who wins Bidens transition_Femi Ehiabhi

In late 2008, during the transition from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, there was a mantra that took hold among Washington insiders: Obama won the election but Hillary won the transition.

The most loyal denizens of the Obama campaign — the people who were with him from Springfield to Grant Park — watched with deep trepidation as the Obama administration was staffed at the highest levels with the same Clintonites — including Hillary herself — they thought they had vanquished in the Democratic primaries the previous summer.

It is still early in the Biden transition. There are thousands of jobs to fill. But a similar sense of dread is starting to bubble up from veterans of the Biden campaign, particularly those who were there with the president-elect from the Philadelphia announcement speech to the Wilmington victory speech. The target of their ire? The Obama establishment, which has eclipsed the Clinton name as shorthand for yesterday’s Democratic Party.

“The Obama staffers are now cutting out the people who got Biden elected,” said a senior Biden official channeling the feelings of the old guard of the Biden campaign, who requested anonymity for the obvious reason. “None of these people found the courage to help the VP when he was running and now they are elevating their friends over the Biden people. It’s f—– up.”

Another Biden adviser who worked on the campaign echoed the point. “It is a very valid criticism,” the adviser said. “A lot of people are living in uncertainty.”

There are some caveats, both about the 2008 transition battle between the campaign and the transition and the 2020 sequel. Back then Obama was a member of the U.S. Senate, where he didn’t have a large staff on which to rely upon for government positions. He was also taking over the presidency in the middle of a raging economic crisis. It shouldn’t have been surprising that he would draw from a pool of talent that dominated the administration of the last Democratic president.

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