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June 24, 2021
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks as he addresses the media after a virtual meeting with the National Governors Association's executive committee at the Queen Theater on November 19, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Biden and his advisors continue the process of transitioning to the White House.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

This is a very dumb idea about Biden’s Cabinet

“Some Democrats have discussed the idea of Biden choosing a ‘sacrificial lamb’ for Republicans to take down, thus easing the passage of other nominees.

“That could give Republicans the opportunity to show they wield power, while simultaneously making Biden’s other nominees look more agreeable in a hyper-partisan environment.”

Axios downplayed this sort of “sacrificial lamb” scenario coming to pass because “a move like that isn’t [Biden’s] style.”

It is absolutely true that recent history suggests that at least one nominee by an incoming president won’t make it through the confirmation process. For Donald Trump it was Labor Secretary Andy Puzder. Barack Obama had Tom Daschle. George W. Bush had Linda Chavez. And on and on and on.

But the idea that Biden should intentionally pick someone who he knows is going to fail the confirmation process so Republicans can feel as though they accomplished something and move on to letting all of his other Cabinet picks through?

That notion relies on at least two totally faulty premises:

1) Biden could find someone willing to be the sacrificial lamb or would purposely pick someone who he and his vetting team knew wouldn’t make it.

2) Republicans would be entirely placated by bringing down a Biden Cabinet nominee and would placidly go about the business of confirming the rest of his choices.

Neither of those ideas are based in observed reality. Losing a Cabinet pick is, within the permanent political class, a big deal. It would slow Biden’s momentum in the early days of his presidency. It would incentivize Republicans to bring down other nominees. It would create chaos within Democratic ranks.

The idea, then, that Biden would or should throw some Cabinet chum into the water for Republicans to feed on is, in a word, idiotic.

The Point: File this one under “dumb ideas never to float to the media again.”