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The Transition: Joe Biden and the ‘dare to be dull’ approach to governing

Political Theater, Episode 162

Construction of the viewing stands for the 2021 inauguration continues at the White House as seen from the Washington Monument on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.
Construction of the viewing stands for the 2021 inauguration continues at the White House as seen from the Washington Monument on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The first full official day of the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration featured President-elect Joe Biden introducing several of his Cabinet picks in Wilmington, Delaware, a group of veteran hands that epitomizes what could be called his “dare to be dull” approach to governing.

Biden might be taking a page from the playbook of President Barack “No Drama” Obama, but the magnitude of the challenges Biden will face — a raging pandemic, millions of unemployed workers and an emboldened Republican Party — will create drama of their own. It’s just that Biden’s way of dealing with it will be defined by fewer tweets and conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, there are changes afoot in Congress as well. We won’t know who is in the majority in the Senate until runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5, but we do know this: After coming under withering criticism for how she handled being the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein will relinquish that role, opening up the position to someone who can take a different approach in what could be an eventful time in the next Congress. CQ Roll Call senior writer Todd Ruger and I discussed this move.

Speaking of the next Congress, January will bring a lot of ceremonial rituals surrounding new members and a new legislative session. But thanks to the pandemic, we can expect things to play out very differently than previous years. Senior writer Lindsey McPherson has been reporting on what we could see.

Show Notes:

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