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I’d call this a brain drain, but … y’know

A couple of months ago, media outlets compared the attrition rates between Kamala Harris’ office and the West Wing to report that the VP had a real retention problem. Today, The Hill reports that Joe Biden’s catching up:

The White House has faced a slew of departures recently, with several top officials announcing at once that they are moving on after 18 months in the administration during a time when President Biden’s job approval rating continues to sink amid consistently poor marks politically. …

One senior administration official acknowledged that many aides are “tapped out.”

“It’s been a long few years,” the official said. “The burnout is real. It might not be the ideal time to leave with everything going on, but it’s the right time.”

The official explained the early summer months are considered the best time to leave, before midterms season begins. “And then you’re really locked in,” they added.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and Amie Parnes claim that 18 months is typical for White House turnover, but that argument has a couple of issues. First off, we’re not at 18 months yet, and technically we haven’t gotten to 17 months until Monday. However, it’s more customary to stick around through at least the midterm cycle before looking for greener pastures, especially in White House jobs that usually hold more prestige than other staffer positions on Capitol Hill.

At least that’s better spin than Karine Jean-Pierre’s “not everyone is leaving” response two weeks ago.

In this case, it appears that Biden’s team is looking to escape before the stench of the midterms sticks to everyone inside the White House. And well they should, especially since that stench legitimately belongs to them as well as Biden himself. People who contributed to the Biden confidence-crisis cascade, or at least couldn’t talk Biden into taking rational steps to stanch it, are not going to be viewed as terribly compelling candidates for political and policy jobs.

There’s another problem with this churn at this particular point in time, too. Biden and Ron Klain have to fill these slots when they come open, and … who wants to come work in this trainwreck White House? Especially when Biden insists that he wants to stay the course on the same idiotic policies that created the confidence-crisis cascade, and that everyone should just “be confident” in his leadership?

Truthfully, plenty of people will still want to work in any White House, just for the prestigious resumé entry. But people who have the skills and intelligence to find work elsewhere will likely choose other options, as long as other options are available. Klain & Co will have to replace departing staff with second-tier candidates or rookies with so little experience that the difference would be negligible. That’s the same problem afflicting Harris in staffing issues as well, for different reasons. Harris is proving not just incompetent but apparently also miserable for the working environment. Biden’s just incompetent, but that’s not much of an improvement.

If Biden’s team is “tapped out” at the seventeen-month mark (or just shy of it), imagine what that will look like in Month 22, when Biden might preside over the worst midterm result for a president in well over a century. Not too many will “be confident” in Biden after the kind of shellacking that polls suggest is on its way … not even inside the West Wing.