This would be a signal to skeptical progressives that Biden is serious about implementing a progressive agenda, it would also be a signal to the rest of the electorate that this is a team ready to govern on day 1. While many of the women on Biden’s short list are excellent choices in their own right, none come close to Warren’s expertise on financial regulations, implementing direct payments to consumers, and restructuring the economy around working families. Bouie cites all three as ‘exhibits’ in his case for Warren, using her 2016 role as a key policy adviser to the Clinton campaign.
Warren personally lobbied the Clinton transition team, spoke with the Clinton policy team ahead of her endorsement in June 2016, and had placed several allies among those responsible for staffing a second Clinton White House. Had Clinton won the election, Warren would have been among the most influential Democrats in the federal government, on account of her relentless focus on personnel.
This experience will be a vital asset to a President Biden:
Warren has never served in executive office. But she has a powerful grasp on the power of the bureaucracy, of the influence of federal agencies and the reach of their authority, of what you can do by organizing and wielding that power effectively. If empowered (much as Biden was under President Barack Obama) a Vice President Warren would be an invaluable asset in directing and implementing a New Deal-style program.
While many have talked her up as a Treasury Secretary, having her old job as CFPB Executive Director, or leading a new cabinet post or task force for the COVID Response, the best place for her to be is as Vice President. Every VP since Mondale has been treated as a ‘minister without portfolio’ who can aid the President on key priorities. In the case of Biden this was the Stimulus implementation as well as the Iraq withdrawal. For Warren it could be the science based response to fighting the Pandemic itself as well as the economic recovery agenda.
There are no doubt downsides. She was an uneven presidential candidate, she did not even in her home state in the primary, she botched her health care plan rollout and the DNA test. Yet, at the same time, she will take the same 2 x 4 to Trump-Pence that she previewed against Mike Bloomberg. She and Biden have both put the middle class front and center in their economic agenda. He is already adapting her policies as his own and calling her on a near daily basis for advice. This could be a powerful governing partnership, which could ultimately be smart politics too.