Presenting...the Hundred-Days Tapes: Robert Reich

The first in a series of raw audio interviews inside Joe Biden's big tent

This one is for all of you who always write me asking for the audio version of my interviews!

“He is a politician in the best sense of the word,” Robert Reich, the former labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, told me when I spoke to him for my Atlantic report on the variety of factions and viewpoints inside President Biden’s big tent.

“That is,” Reich, a progressive economist and author, went on, “he sees a parade and he runs and gets in front of it — as long as the parade is not inconsistent with his values.” He added, “The secret here is that he has no strong ideological preconceptions. The interesting thing is he’s very open-minded. He is able to see changes in the operating consensus, the conventional wisdom, and, almost intuitively — I don’t know that it’s conscious — I think he just understands the change and latches onto it.”

Reich and I talked about many things in what was a fascinating conversation for me. His unexpected attitude to Biden is quite illuminating about this moment in politics. Most conversations like these get lost to the world when just a single quote ends up in an article, so today I’m opening it up.

Because many of you who support The Ink by subscribing have asked for it, I’m going to be releasing some of the interviews I did for the piece in raw audio form here — as a special thank-you for subscribers. This is the first in a series of Hundred-Days Tapes, a portrait of a coalition and a moment. If you haven’t yet subscribed and want to, click the link, sign up, and then listen away!

My conversation with Robert Reich.

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty