Congressional Staffers Would Rather Share Opinions Than Perform Duties

While it is no secret that there is division among the Democratic party, the rift is now being seen at the heart of the party: President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign staff. More and more staffers are sharing their discontent with the administration, but not directly.

Earlier this month, 17 staffers working on Biden’s reelection campaign signed an anonymous letter demanding the president call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The letter stated that Biden’s response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza was “antithetical” to the values of the Democratic party, which has resulted in “droves” of volunteers quitting.

One anonymous staffer told Politico that they send anonymous letters to the president out of respect. It seems if they truly respected Biden, these staffers would not have to hide behind anonymity. Instead, it sounds like they know they could lose their jobs by criticizing their boss.

The behavior displayed by these staffers is something that has never been seen before in politics but has been seen in other fields lately. For some reason, younger generations have the misconception that if their opinions clash with their employer, they can demand that everyone else change instead of walking away.

“There’s this whole, ‘You’re not the boss of me’ attitude now. ‘I might work for you but I have my own views,’” said Democratic strategist James Carville, who worked for former President Bill Clinton as a top campaign strategist. “If you said you didn’t like some of President Clinton’s policies, the idea that you would go public with that would be insane; just wouldn’t do that. It wouldn’t even cross your mind.”

In the past, Congressional staffers who disagreed with their bosses would quit and then discuss their opposing views publicly. Paul Begala, a staffer who worked with Carville during the Clinton presidency, said that the job comes with responsibility and sacrifice.

“The bargain a staffer strikes has always been this: You get to influence the decisions of the most powerful government in the history of the world,” said Begala. “In exchange for that influence, you agree to back the final decision even if it goes against your advice. If confronted with a decision that crosses one’s ethical, moral, social, political lines, the choice is clear: Shut up and support it, or resign.”

Today’s staffers clearly do not possess the same ethical codes that staffers had in past presidencies. During the George W. Bush presidency, many staffers disagreed with the administration’s policies. Instead of writing anonymous letters, they resigned from their positions and then addressed the disagreements once they were no longer employed.
At the end of the day, these staffers agreed to do a job, knowing that there would be times when disagreements would arise. Instead of submitting anonymous letters, it would be more productive for them to work their way into a political office.

Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) started off as chief of staff to former Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), before taking over his job. While chief of staff, Britt never told Shelby how to do his job.

“At the end of the day, your boss’ name is the one that’s on the door,” said Britt.