Moscow Mitch McConnell is twisting his pretend mustache and rubbing his hands together in preparation for how he's going to block everything presumed President Joe Biden wants to accomplish. And reportedly, Biden is considering "limiting its prospective Cabinet nominees to those who Mitch McConnell can live with, according to people familiar with the matter." That's Axios reporting, so all the grains of salt.
They have a source "close to McConnell" who tells them that "a Republican Senate would work with Biden on centrist nominees but no 'radical progressives' or ones who are controversial with conservatives." The source adds: "It's going to be armed camps." It's not just Axios. CNBC reporter Eamon Javers confirms from a source in touch with Biden's transition team says "the transition will have to re-evaluate the names it has in mind for Senate confirmed positions. May have to send more moderate figures who can get through. Wall Street will like that." So Biden is definitely hearing that message. That doesn't mean he has to heed it. If he wants to save the nation, he will ignore it and bulldoze through with the progressive team he promised the millions of people who've worked and voted for him.
McConnell is, of course, capable of anything. Including bringing back a 60-vote threshold for all nominations. He is capable of refusing to consider any Supreme Court nominees from Biden. He's done it before. He'll happily do it again. So that means that Biden has to fight. Trump, bless him, showed how.
That's the way to do it. Just have acting secretaries for as long as he wants them. He can use the Vacancy Act to create a cabinet with people who will fulfill his campaign promises to fix current crises and set a better course. Starting out cowed by McConnell, or somehow thinking that appeasing him will make him more likely to bend and work with the administration, is a fool's errand. McConnell was fine with Trump's unitary executive? Shove that back down his throat.
Biden can deploy the dozens of executive actions available to him on Day One. Things that would be massively popular, like lowering drug prices and cancelling student debt. Doing those massively popular things, all of which he will have the legitimate power to do, will set McConnell and the Republicans back with the public. Biden needs to take the lesson from the Obama/Biden 2009 stimulus to heart. It wasn't big enough. It didn't do enough to save people’s livelihoods. It didn't save millions from foreclosures. It left a lot of people still vulnerable and angry. He can't do that again. That and the fact that he needs to go very, very big to save the economy in this pandemic.