Archive of Articles for November, 2021

Friday Talking Points -- Republicans' Descent Into Dangerous Madness Continues Apace

[ Posted Friday, November 12th, 2021 – 18:00 UTC ]

This was a rather strange week in Washington politics because the biggest story actually happened almost an entire week ago. The lack of big news since then isn't really all that surprising, though, considering Congress is (once again) off for a week -- meaning little-to-no news from Capitol Hill. But before they scarpered [...]

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Waiting For The C.B.O.

[ Posted Thursday, November 11th, 2021 – 16:50 UTC ]

[With apologies to Samuel Beckett, of course...] We all now seem to be waiting for the C.B.O. Or perhaps this is just another chapter in our long and drawn out struggle with Senator Manchin of West Virginia... in other words: more waiting for Joe. Whatever you want to call it, so far it definitely belongs in the category of "tragicomedy."

Not-so-amusing literary wordplay aside, however, we seem to be in an interim period here. Let's try a sports metaphor instead: It's halftime in Joe Biden's legislative football game. Right at the end of the first half, the Democrats put a big score on the board by passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill and sending it to Biden's desk for his signature.

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Sell It, Joe!

[ Posted Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 – 17:20 UTC ]

President Joe Biden is in the midst of a blitz of salesmanship. He's got every right to do so, after Congress finally moved the bipartisan infrastructure bill to his desk after months of delays. And Biden has long been aware that one of the biggest mistakes Barack Obama ever made as president was failing to properly whip up public support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which would have been easy to do since Republicans were already (derisively) calling it "Obamacare." Biden saw the dynamics of this failure play out, as Obama's veep. So he has long said he's not going to repeat the same mistake during his presidency. Which is why seeing him out in the country selling the various parts of his infrastructure plan was entirely predictable.

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Biden's Mandate Messaging Failure

[ Posted Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 – 16:44 UTC ]

We are currently in the midst of yet another Democratic failure to properly frame a political issue. This time President Joe Biden and his administration are largely to blame, although other Democrats should really be pushing back on the media's lazy acceptance of a false Republican narrative as well. When the Biden administration announced a new OSHA rule for all private businesses with 100 or more employees, it should have -- from the very start -- pointedly called it a "testing mandate." Because that is what it is, plain and simple. It is a requirement that all employees get tested once a week for the COVID-19 virus. And that's all it is -- that is the only thing it actually mandates.

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The Current False Biden Narrative Making The Rounds

[ Posted Monday, November 8th, 2021 – 16:54 UTC ]

Republicans have never been particularly scrupulous about the fantastical political narratives they adapt in order to bamboozle the voters -- and that was even before the champion and master of lies came along and hijacked their party. Donald Trump may have driven the GOP to Crazytown, but it wasn't that far of a journey for them to take (to put this another way). Now conservatives in the media are attempting to do this again, and it really deserves some pushback.

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Friday Talking Points -- A Very Bad Week For Democrats

[ Posted Friday, November 5th, 2021 – 16:50 UTC ]

You'll have to excuse us, but even with all the other political shocks this week, the one that shocked us the most was reading that Congress is going to take the next week off. For Veterans' Day. No, seriously. It's not like they have any pressing business or anything, right? They probably need the whole week to lie back and relax and rest up -- so they'll be in real good shape for the extended Thanksgiving Day break, later this month.

Sorry, too snarky? You'll have to forgive us, but please everyone let's remember this moment when all the politicians whine on television, a few weeks hence: "But there's just no time to get everything done! We've got all these deadlines staring us in the face! Waaah! Poor us!" Please, let's all remember at that point that they all thought they deserved an entire week off at the beginning of November. For Veterans' Day -- a holiday that most workers don't even get a single day off for.

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James Carville Has A Point

[ Posted Thursday, November 4th, 2021 – 15:13 UTC ]

James Carville is getting a lot of online grief today because of an interview he did with the PBS NewsHour last night. He was one of three political experts who were asked by Judy Woodruff about what the off-off-year elections meant for politics moving forward. But while Carville was (as usual) rather blunt and insensitive in what he said, he does have a point worth defending.

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Takeaways From Last Night

[ Posted Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 – 15:41 UTC ]

Obviously, Democrats need to do something different over the next year if they're going to have any chance at all in the midterm elections. That was the overwhelming message from last night's dismal election returns. Because what they just tried pretty obviously didn't work. At least, on a small scale. The off-off-year elections which always follow a presidential year only include two statewide races, in New Jersey and Virginia. That is a very small slice of America, but it's all the data we have to work with, so the natural inclination is to draw national political lessons from it all. Some will wind up being correct, some won't. After reading some other people's opinions about last night, here are the ones I'm inclined to believe right now:

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Not Bad For Half A Loaf

[ Posted Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 – 15:44 UTC ]

I'm not usually that a big fan of (or any kind of rosy-tinted optimist about) legislative compromises. Or incrementalism, in general. But the deal Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced today on prescription drug relief doesn't actually sound all that bad. It certainly has its drawbacks -- parts of it are incredibly limited, for one -- but it also will fundamentally change things to the point where improving upon the basic idea will only require a little future number-tweaking. Which seems good enough, at this point (and with this Congress). So I have to say: this is not too bad for "half a loaf."

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The Dreaded Enthusiasm Gap

[ Posted Monday, November 1st, 2021 – 16:24 UTC ]

All eyes in the political world today are on Virginia. Whatever happens in tomorrow's gubernatorial election is going to, in large part, drive the entire political narrative for at least the next 3-to-6 months. If the Democrat wins, it will be seen as a sign that Republicans should worry that they may be permanently losing the suburban voters who defected from their party under Trump -- even without Trump on the ballot. If the Republican wins, it will be seen as a sign of a possible giant red wave in the midterm elections next year, and the triumph of Trumpism even when Trump isn't on the ballot. Neither of these storylines will be completely accurate -- voters' motivations are a lot more complicated than pundits like to imagine -- but these storylines will still dominate the political strategizing as we head into the midterm season. Which is why everyone is metaphorically holding their breath waiting to see the Virginia results.

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