President-elect Joe Biden has selected a flock of experienced, center-right nominees for top positions — progressive enough to reassure most Democrats and reasonable enough to impress conservative policy wonks.

Cecilia Rouse, Biden’s pick to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, drew raves from sensible conservatives. As Michael R. Strain of the American Enterprise Institute wrote: “Biden is wise to select a CEA chairman who will feel a sense of accountability to the economics profession. This will lead Rouse to take seriously the opinions of conservatives and progressives, Republicans and Democrats, sharpening her own views by exposing them to disagreement and by testing them against other economists. ... Economists who have to answer to peers after leaving the White House will be much less likely to go off the deep end.”

Another conservative from AEI, Desmond Lachman, sounded a similar note about Biden’s pick for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen. He maintains that “it is comforting to know that Joe Biden has gone with a highly respected and experienced economist with a well-deserved domestic and international reputation.” He adds: “It also is reassuring that Mr. Biden has chosen for this role one who has served before at the highest levels of government and at the Federal Reserve and who knows her way around Washington as well as around the corridors of power abroad.” Even the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), praised the pick.

For director of the Office of Management and Budget, Biden chose Neera Tanden, chief executive of the Center for American Progress and a veteran of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Obama White House. Tanden is known for standing firm against Medicare-for-all and advancing pro-work measures. As she wrote in June, this includes “[changing] our unemployment system to a reemployment system; we can do this by subsidizing employers who keep their employees attached to work as the economy has shut down.” She is a card-carrying member of the pro-capitalism wing of the party. “I see a debate about how to make capitalism work, not a mass adoption of socialism,” she told NPR in May 2019 as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) waged his battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Likewise, Biden’s foreign policy picks — including Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and Antony Blinken as secretary of state, both advocates of a traditional, mainstream foreign policy — were embraced by conservatives and liberals alike. As pro-NATO, pro-human-rights internationalists, these appointments align much more closely with the foreign policy framework of George H.W. Bush than of isolationists on the right and left. Foreign Policy magazine reported: “Blinken is seen by many in Democratic foreign-policy circles as a centrist, and his expected nomination to the country’s top diplomatic posts dashes hopes in the left wing of the Democratic Party that Biden would tap a more progressive candidate, such as Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy.” To be sure, they are far less likely to pursue hard-power solutions, but they are far more “conservative” than the feebleminded pro-Russia and pro-Kim Jong Un claptrap we got from President Trump.

None of this means that the Biden administration will shy away from progressive goals, such as strengthening Obamacare, expanding green energy or pushing for police and criminal justice reform. However, Biden’s campaign proposals and now his top personnel picks suggest he is miles from the “radical socialist” caricature that right-wingers used to tar their opponents. Perhaps that is why Republicans have been reduced to inane complaints that Biden’s choices are too well-educated or too mean to Republican senators or too active on Twitter. If they had any substantive grievances about Biden’s choices, you can bet you would have heard from them by now.

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