Friday Talking Points -- Biden's First Two Years

[ Posted Friday, January 20th, 2023 – 18:27 UTC ]

Two years ago today, Joseph Robinette Biden Junior was sworn in as the nation's 46th president. So how is he doing at his job? His approval rating in public opinion polls has generally improved since the midterm elections, hitting numbers he hasn't seen in a year. But those numbers are still south of 45 percent (on average), which is fairly common for a first-term president but certainly nothing to brag about.

Biden has had some notable successes as president, and some notable rocky patches as well. He entered office as the COVID-19 vaccines were becoming widely and freely available, and things seemed rosy on this front for his first year, only to get a lot grimmer as the Omicron strain hit much harder than any of the previous variants of the virus. All of a sudden we weren't done with COVID-19 and life didn't return to normal as expected. But since then, the virus has become almost an afterthought and didn't matter much to voters in the midterms (even though it had been predicted that it would be a major issue).

Biden's legislative accomplishments are more impressive than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson. True, Biden did have a Democratic Senate and House to work with, but both of those had historically-slender majorities -- L.B.J., for instance, had as many as 68 Democratic senators to work with. Biden only had 50 -- including two who loved the media spotlight so much they didn't care if they torpedoed Biden's agenda in major ways. Biden also managed to pass some major bills with bipartisan support, which is almost miraculous, these days.

Here's just a partial list of what Biden has gotten through Congress and signed (so far): COVID-19 pandemic stimulus that put much-needed money in Americans' pockets. Largest infrastructure bill ever. First gun safety law in decades. Protecting marriage equality. Health care funding for veterans exposed to burn pits. Climate change action. Lower health care costs, lower prescription drug prices, and a cap on insulin costs for seniors. Protecting American democracy by strengthening the process for electing presidents. Military aide to Ukraine, to help them fight Russia's aggressive invasion.

In his second year, Biden faced runaway inflation and skyrocketing gasoline prices, which soured the public on the economy in general (even though, by other indicators, the economy was actually still doing extraordinarily well recovering from the pandemic slump). Since the summer, both inflation and gas prices have receded noticeably, which has brightened the outlook for the future. Job growth is still strong, we have not hit a recession yet, and unemployment is at 50-year lows.

Biden's foreign policy includes (so far) one major misstep and one big accomplishment. The misstep, of course, was the execution of the Afghanistan withdrawal, which (to use a military term) was about as FUBAR as can be imagined. Biden's resolve on countering Russian aggression in Ukraine, however, has shown the world what presidential leadership from the United States in support of freedom and democracy is supposed to look like.

Of course, those are just a few of the ways Biden's presidency can be measured. We've got whole lists of others, but we are saving that for later in the program. Instead, let's take a look not at the past two years but instead at the past week to see what's been happening more recently in American politics.

Some Senate races are getting interesting, as the whole "2024 campaign announcement" season begins, but we'll have plenty of time to talk about all of that in the coming weeks.

We officially technically hit the debt ceiling this week, but once again this is only like the first inning of a ballgame, so we're ignoring some of the pointless freaking out in the rest of the media on the subject.

Vice President Kamala Harris will be giving a speech on abortion this weekend in Florida, after today's pro-forced-birth parade in Washington (the first such pro-forced-birth parade since the overturning of Roe v. Wade).

The House of Representatives is finally getting up and moving, now that they have an actual speaker. This has involved rewarding all the crazies and clowns that Kevin McCarthy had to placate in order to win the gavel (on the 15th ballot). The White House is having a field day with all of McCarthy's "secret deals," it is worth pointing out:

"An unprecedented tax hike on the middle class and a national abortion ban are just a glimpse of the secret, backroom deals Speaker McCarthy made with extreme MAGA members to end this month's chaotic elections and claim the gavel," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement shared first with Politico. "It is well past time for Speaker McCarthy and the ultra MAGA Republican House members to come out of the dark and tell the American people, in-full [sic], what they decided in secret."

. . .

"The few agreements we know about would fundamentally reshape our economy in a devastating way for working families and criminalize women for making their own health care decisions," Bates said. "They're also planning to plunge the economy into chaos and take millions of American jobs and 401k plans hostage unless they can cut Medicare."

"What other hidden bargains did Speaker McCarthy make behind closed doors with the most extreme, ultra MAGA members of the House Republican conference?" he added. "The American people have a right to know -- now -- which is why we are calling on him to make every single one of them public immediately."

Team Biden also got the opportunity to "dunk on" the crazy Republican clowns who got plum committee assignments due to their extended tantrum:

In a blistering statement, White House spokesman Ian Sams accused House GOP leaders of "handing the keys of [the] Oversight [Committee] to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus who promote violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories," noting that [Representative Scott] Perry in particular had downplayed the insurrection and defied a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

"As we have said before, the Biden Administration stands ready to work in good faith to accommodate Congress' legitimate oversight needs. However, with these members joining the Oversight Committee, it appears that House Republicans may be setting the stage for divorced-from-reality political stunts, instead of engaging in bipartisan work on behalf of the American people," Sams said.

They weren't the only ones pointing out the absurdity of so many foxes being assigned henhouse-guarding duties. Marjorie Taylor Green, Paul Gosar, and George Santos all came under some fire for their new committee seats as well. Not that any of it matters to McCarthy, since this is just the beginning of his servitude and subservience to the craziest clowns in his little circus.

Think that's exaggerating things? We don't. One committee in particular is going to be constantly in the news, for reasons such as this:

[Representative] Ryan Zinke stepped up to the microphone and into The Twilight Zone.

"Despite the 'deep state's' repeated attempts to stop me, I stand before you as a duly elected member of the United States Congress and tell you that a deep state exists and is perhaps the strongest covert weapon the left has against the American people," he told the House. The Montana Republican, who has returned to Congress after a scandal-plagued stint in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, informed his colleagues that "the deep state runs secret messaging campaigns" and is trying "to wipe out the American cowboy."

Yee-haw! Zinke was speaking in support of a new Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, or, as Democrats call it, the "Tinfoil Hat Committee." In substance, it's the QAnon committee, with a remit to probe the "deep state" and other wacky conspiracy theories. With the panel's creation, QAnon completes its journey from message board for the paranoid to official policy of the House Republican majority.

After the chaos of the first week of the 118th Congress, many Americans wondered: If it took them 15 ballots just to choose a speaker, how could Republicans possibly govern? Now we know. They are going to govern by fantasy and legislate on the basis of fiction.

We think that's got a nice ring to it -- "Tinfoil Hat Committee" -- and so are going to start calling it that from this point onwards. Republicans are trying to portray this as a Church Committee for the 21st century, but Gary Hart -- the only surviving member of the 1970s Church Committee -- had a few choice words for that plan, and chief among them was that it was an "outrage" to even suggest that.

In other "Republicans behaving badly" news, the George Santos story just gets worse and worse with each passing day, it seems. There is no such thing as shame in the Republican Party these days -- Donald Trump drove a stake through the heart of the very concept.

In "Republicans acting criminally" news, a GOP candidate for the New Mexico state legislature was arrested this week and charged with a scheme where he not only personally shot at a house with a Democratic elected official inside of it, but paid other men to shoot up other such houses. He did all this because he was convinced he had lost his election because it had been "rigged" -- even though he lost by almost 50 points. This is nothing short of political terrorism, plain and simple. From a Republican. Who ran for state office.

Peter Navarro got told by a judge he's going to have to go to trial for contempt of Congress, and that trial could begin very quickly.

Which brings us to the "Trump's legal woes" part of our weekly column.

Some of the deposition Trump sat for in the rape and defamation cases against him were made public, and his responses are about what you would expect of him. He said the woman who has accused him "said it was very sexy to be raped," that every reality he doesn't like in life is "a hoax," and although he has previously offered up (in some twisted sort of defense against the accusation) that the woman in question was "not my type," when presented with a photo of her while under oath Trump mistook her for his former wife Marla Maples. Oops!

The big legal setback for Trump was losing a case in Florida he had filed against Hillary Clinton and 30 other defendants he didn't like. The case wasn't just laughed out of court, it was scolded out -- as the judge told Trump and his lawyer they had to pony up almost a million dollars to pay for the legal fees of all the Democrats Trump took an inkling to sue for no reason. Here's some of the story, although there are plenty of other scathing quotes from the judge's opinion as well:

A Florida-based federal judge has ordered nearly $1 million in sanctions against Donald Trump and his attorney Alina Habba, calling the former president a "mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process."

In a blistering 46-page order, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks said Trump's sprawling lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and dozens of former Justice Department and FBI officials was an almost cartoonish abuse of the legal system.

"Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose," Middlebrooks wrote. "Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries. He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer."

The judge ordered Trump and Habba to pay $938,000 to cover the legal costs for the 31 defendants Trump linked in his year-old lawsuit. It's the second time Middlebrooks has sanctioned Habba in the Clinton lawsuit. The first time was a $50,000 order sought by a single defendant, Charles Dolan. The new round of sanctions was sought by the remaining defendants.

In the new order, Hillary Clinton got the biggest award of fees for a single defendant: almost $172,000.

That last line is some real poetic justice, obviously. Today -- one day after this news broke -- Trump withdrew an equally-frivolous lawsuit against the New York district attorney who is prosecuting the case against the Trump Organization. Having to fork over a cool million bucks to the political enemies Trump hates the most must really sting, eh?

Other Trumpian news: he wants back on Facebook, he seems to be losing his touch with evangelical voters (who were a big part of his base), he's gotten millions of dollars from Saudi Crown Prince M.B.S. (because of course he has), and in a surprise move has now staked out a rather bizarre position for Republicans: that they should not touch a penny of Social Security or Medicare.

That last (it has been speculated) might just be Trump trying to pick a political fight he might win with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but if Trump starts slamming his own party for attacking Social Security and Medicare on a regular basis it will completely undermine their strategy for the next six months of holding the debt ceiling hostage in order to force such cuts. Which, ironically enough, is being driven by the ultra-MAGA members of his party, so it'll be interesting to see what they do next.

This leads to a perfect place to close this roundup, because if they do go through with their threats and do choose Social Security as a hostage in their negotiating strategy, then this particular quote is going to come back to haunt them (that's our guess, anyway). And we couldn't have come up with a better talking point than the one at the end of this excerpt, so we're just going to leave it at that:

Republican Rep. Rick Allen of Georgia suggested last week that he would support raising the Social Security retirement age -- a policy change that would slash benefits across the board -- because people have approached him and said they "actually want to work longer."

Confronted by an advocate in the Capitol Building and asked how the GOP plans to cut Social Security, the congressman responded, "We're not going to cut Social Security."

But seconds later, Allen contradicted himself by expressing support for raising the retirement age, saying the move would "solve every one of these problems" -- not specifying what the "problems" are from his perspective.

. . .

"Republicans want you to work until you die," the progressive advocacy group Social Security Works tweeted Sunday. "Shameful."


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Of course, it's not just presidents who get sworn in at the start of a new year, many governors also take office around this time. One who did so this week was impressive just due to the rather shameful rarity of it.

Wes Moore is now the governor of Maryland. He is only the third Black governor ever elected in all of American history. The first, Douglas Wilder of Virginia, didn't take office until 1990. The second was Deval Patrick, 15 years ago. Moore is now the third.

Technically, he is the sixth Black man ever to hold a state's highest office (no Black woman has ever done so to this day). There were two during Reconstruction who at the time were lieutenant governor in Louisiana when the governor wasn't there, so they were "acting governor" for a while. The third was another lieutenant governor, David Paterson in New York, who was sworn in as governor after Eliot Spitzer self-immolated in a prostitution scandal. But none of these three were ever elected to the top job.

After two centuries and as the United States grew to have 50 states, only three Black men have ever been elected governor. As we said, this is rather shameful when you think about it.

After winning a landslide election against a full-on MAGA Republican, Moore takes the helm of the Old Line State. The previous governor was term-limited from running again, which cleared the field (which was crucial since he was a very popular moderate Republican who did so well in this blue state that he's now considering a run for the presidency). Because of this partisan change, Moore was able to make some rather dramatic moves right away:

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed an executive order releasing $69 million for Democratic priorities that former governor Larry Hogan (R) had held back as part of a flurry of changes he said ushered in a new era after eight years of divided government.

The order freed up money for training new abortion providers, addressing climate change, standing up the state's recreational cannabis industry and launching a paid family leave program that lawmakers approved last year. Moore also signed an order laying out ethics rules for the executive branch and another that creates a new Cabinet-level position within state government to focus on public service.

In other words, a rather impressive start. After an impressive swearing-in, we should mention:

The day's events in Annapolis gleamed with the importance of the moment. Moore was introduced by Oprah Winfrey. He was sworn in on a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. There were references to other Marylanders who had played major roles in African American history, including Harriet Tubman and Thurgood Marshall. Moore had hardly walked through the doors of the governor's mansion before speculation began about his viability as a presidential candidate.

Not every new governor gets this level of attention or scrutiny, it is worth pointing out.

Moore will have challenges, and it remains to be seen what kind of governor he will be. But so far he's looking pretty good, and without doubt he qualifies for this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Congratulate Governor Wes Moore on his official Maryland contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

We already said this earlier this week, but we have to hand President Joe Biden the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. His handling of the disclosures about the mishandled classified documents may have (as a deep dive by both the Washington Post and the New York Times laid out this week) been due to an overabundance of caution and desire for full cooperation with the Justice Department's investigation, but it utterly failed in one respect. Team Biden apparently was trying to avoid any comparisons at all between how Biden handled the matter and how Donald Trump has behaved, but the comparisons were made anyway.

We wrote earlier this week a plea for Biden to get out in front of this and just address the American people to give his overview of everything that has happened so far. Strangely enough, he actually did so (in a very minor way) while he was visiting our own neck of the woods. Biden travelled to California this week to see the extent of the storm damages, and on a beach in Santa Cruz County, he was asked about the classified documents by a reporter. He seemed frustrated and annoyed with the question, but he did give at least some sort of personal answer to it for the first time:

I'll answer your question but here's the deal. You know, what quite frankly bugs me is that we have a serious problem here we're talking about, talking about what's going on. And the American people don't quite understand why you don't ask me questions about that.

Look, as we found a handful of documents that were filed in the wrong place, we immediately turned them over to the [National] Archives and the Justice Department. We are fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.

I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets in following what the lawyers have told me what they want me to do -- it's exactly what we're doing. There's no there there.

Now, students of witty and literate quips will immediately realize that Biden really should by all rights have uttered that last line while standing in Oakland, California, rather than on a state beach in Aptos, but that's just pedantic nitpickery. Also, we personally had to take pride in getting mentioned (kind of) in the Washington Post article on his trip: "Along his route, Biden drew larger than usual crowds for a visit to a disaster site."

Kidding aside, though, this is what Biden should have done from the very start. Give a broad overview of how he sees the situation, and then perhaps identify a spokesman from his legal team to answer any further questions. This would take the heat off the White House press office, which has borne the brunt of Biden's reluctance to speak on the issue so far.

It still might be necessary politically for Biden to give some sort of statement on the issue, but this was at least a first step.

Joe Biden has to realize he's got to give his own defenders in the political arena something to work with. He's got to give his own explanations without completely hiding behind his lawyers. But for allowing the drip-drip-drip of the details coming out in the media to continue, and for reacting so slowly to any of the outcry for far too long, Joe Biden is once again our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week.

[Contact President Joe Biden on his official contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 691 (1/20/23)

Before we begin, we'd like to mark the passing of a rock icon. David Crosby will be missed by millions, most definitely including us.

Our own favorite Crosby song without doubt was an absolute anthem for us personally, back when we were in our teenage years. Because back then -- and some may find this difficult to even imagine -- this was a political statement, not just a lifestyle or fashion statement. Being a "freak" was a rejection of the establishment, the government, and "normal" American life. It was a statement that said you were part of the counterculture, not the dominant stultifying culture. It said: "I choose to be me, and I do not care what you think about that." It was also dangerous, because: back then hippies were routinely hassled by cops for no other reason than being hippies; just possessing marijuana could get you long prison sentences back then; and rightwingers also felt free to hassle and sometimes physically attack those who so flamboyantly displayed their disdain for normalcy. An entire Broadway play was called Hair for a good reason, in other words. And Crosby captured all this perfectly in the song "Almost Cut My Hair," so we had to run two short bits from his powerful lyrics, to mark his passing:

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It's gettin' kinda long
I coulda said it wasn't in my way
But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
Yes, I feel like I owe it to someone

. . .
It increases my paranoia
Like looking at my mirror and seeing a police car
But I'm not giving in an inch to fear
'Cause I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone

Requiescat In Pace, David Crosby.


Moving on... we are going to try something different today, mostly because to do otherwise would have involved a lot of picking and choosing, which would have meant a lot of this stuff would have gotten left on the cutting-room floor. So rather than making such decisions ourselves, we're not going to provide our version of talking points this week, we are instead going to give the raw data that Democrats can use to construct talking points of their own. Call it a do-it-yourself edition of the talking points section.

We have two sets of data, one directly from the White House and one from the Associated Press. Both attempt to summarize Biden's first two years. The White House one (obviously) is slanted towards positive spin. You can see the full "talking points document" yourself, courtesy of Politico (it's only two pages long).

The AP list is their way of providing an overview of America under Joe Biden's presidency -- quite literally, "by the numbers." The original of this list goes into more detail and has more items (we cut some that didn't seem as likely to become Democratic talking points, for length). In any case, here are the two attempts to answer the question: "At two years in, how is President Joe Biden doing?"

The first comes from the White House:

President Biden is Delivering Results for the American People

  • Lowered Prices: Costs are coming down on everything from cars to dishwashers, gas prices are down more than $1.60 compared to the previous year, and inflation is now at its lowest level since October of 2021. Insulin is now capped at $35 per month for seniors and the President's actions are saving 13 million families $800 per year on their health insurance premiums.
  • Created Millions of Jobs: 2021 and 2022 were the two strongest years of job growth in history. Nearly 11 million jobs have been created and 750,000 of them are manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate is near a 50-year low and Black, Hispanic Americans and people with disabilities are experiencing record low unemployment.
  • Restored America's Global Leadership: President Biden restored our global alliances and rallied partners across the world to stand up to Russian aggression and support Ukraine.
  • Brought Democrats and Republicans Together on Gun Safety: The President brought together Democrats and Republicans to pass the most sweeping gun safety law in nearly 30 years.
  • Confirmed Historic Judges: President Biden's confirmed judicial nominees are the most diverse in history, and the President appointed the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.


The Biden Agenda is Investing in Communities Left Behind

  • Putting Shovels in the Ground: To date, the Administration has announced funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for 6,900 specific projects, reaching over 4,000 communities across all 50 states, D.C., and the territories.
  • Leading a Small Business Boom: Nearly 10.5 million Americans applied to start a business, making 2021 and 2022 the two best years for small business applications on record.
  • Leading a Manufacturing Boom: Private companies have announced nearly $300 billion in investments across the U.S. -- including in communities left behind -- thanks to the President's economic agenda.

Those are all pretty impressive, but then these are the "straight from the White House" talking points, so you'd expect them to be. The AP list is more balanced, but since it is all about the numbers, we're not going to run these as excerpts but instead reword them a bit to make them more succinct (and also easier to use as a quick talking point). And as already noted, we cut a few of them out for brevity as well.

We do have to add two notes. Here is the full list of states that Biden has so far not visited (for the curious): AR, IN, KS, ME, MS, MT, NE, ND, SD, TN, UT, VT, WV, and WY. And if there's any overlap between anti-vaxxers and numerologists or Christian mysticism, their eyebrows will certainly shoot up over one of these numbers in particular (trigger warning!).

Kidding aside, though, here is Biden's term so far, by the AP's numbers:

  • 6.5 percent inflation rate, down from high of 9.1 percent last June
  • 10.46 million job vacancies
  • 3.5 percent unemployment rate, matching a 53-year low
  • Zero recessions -- so far
  • $31.38 trillion federal debt, up from $27.6 trillion when Joe Biden took office
  • 97 confirmed federal judges, outpacing both Barack Obama and Donald Trump
  • 89 pardons, more than past three presidents at this point in their terms (George W. Bush had 7, Obama 0, Trump 11)
  • $3.36 national average price per gallon of gasoline, was at $2.39 when Biden took office but spiked to $5.02 last June
  • 666 million COVID-19 vaccinations administered, when there were only 20 million people vaccinated before Biden entered office
  • 680,000 COVID deaths on Biden's watch, added to the previous 400,000
  • 36 states visited
  • 197 days spent in Biden's home state of Delaware, of 730 total days in office (which works out to roughly 2-in-7, or essentially "every weekend")
  • 21 solo or joint press conferences, fewer than the previous three presidents
  • $1 trillion allocated for infrastructure, after suffering through 4 years of Donald Trump's laughably non-productive "Infrastructure Weeks"
  • $40 billion allocated for bridges alone, "the single largest dedicated investment in bridges since the construction of the Eisenhower-era interstate highway system"
  • Zero original cabinet appointees who have left

All around, that should give everyone plenty to work with to come up with Democratic talking points this week, to mark Joe Biden beginning his third year in office.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


35 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Biden's First Two Years”

  1. [1] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, but this time with a challenge.

    After 20 yrs, give me an honestly possible scenario that pulls us out of Afghanistan in a less "FUBAR" way.

    IMO, Biden did it nearly as well as could be done, especially given the extra turd the previous administration spread on that particular sandwich.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Agreed. I think the most important thing is that Biden got the US out of Afghanistan at all! Biden's long experience with dealing with these sorts of issues and his willingness and ability to tell the military what it may not want to hear is an attribute that most American presidents simply do not have.

    We can wish that the withdrawal had been less chaotic but we would be hard pressed to imagine a way out of that place that wouldn't have looked even half as bad as it did.

    This is why I am so deeply disappointed in how Biden has handled Ukraine and won't soon forgive him for it, if I ever do.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Biden's foreign policy includes (so far) one major misstep and one big accomplishment. The misstep, of course, was the execution of the Afghanistan withdrawal, which (to use a military term) was about as FUBAR as can be imagined. Biden's resolve on countering Russian aggression in Ukraine, however, has shown the world what presidential leadership from the United States in support of freedom and democracy is supposed to look like.

    No surprise that I view these two in the complete and total reverse.

    Number one, not many US presidents could have gotton out of Afghanistan, FUBAR or not FUBAR. In fact, I would wager that any other Democratic or Republican presidential wannabe from the last presidential election cycle would most decidedly NOT have had the conviction and fortitude and experience to pull the US out of Afghanistan, despite the withdrawal coming almost two decades late as it was. And, number two ... the so-called Biden "resolve" on countering Russian aggression in Ukraine has broken that country in more ways than I care to count and America now owns it, forever. Congrats!

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil Young shared a eulogy today for David Crosby, saying that the music will live on. Indeed it will! So many great musicians have left us in just the last few months but they have left behind such a wonderful catalogue of music for the rest of us to enjoy.

    Hope everyone will participate this Sunday evening at the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party where we will be playing the music of CSN and CSNY in a special tribute to David Crosby, RIP!

  5. [5] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Yes, Biden has done well, and I sure hope he will go out at the end of this term while he's ahead.

  6. [6] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Elizabeth you are wrong about Biden and Ukraine. This war started in 2014 when Obama was President. I’m disappointed that you haven’t addressed any of the points myself and others raise but instead you keep saying uninformed things. Get your head into reality — this war was inevitable and NATO is an excuse because Russia cannot be an empire without Ukraine.

  7. [7] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Re: Speak2 [1] and Elizabeth Miller [3]

    Thank you for pushing back on the "Biden's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan" sound bite. Unfortunately, the media's embrace of Republican talking points has now become 'history' (aided by the heartbreaking images of panicked Afghans and terrified U.S. soldiers). Like Sarah Palin supposedly saying "I can see Russia from my front porch", no amount of documentation or careful analysis will make a damn difference.

    IMO it was a mistake for the Biden administration to NOT issue a monthly account to the American people of how much in "lives and treasure" we are no longer wasting on a lost cause. (And the Republican Party isn't REALLY interested in "take care of Americans first", which this regular update could helpfully point out.)

    Here's hoping that the American history books - in 50 years or so - have a more clear-eyed perspective. Based on the "Kennedy was responsible for the Bay of Pigs" narrative, though, I doubt it.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I share your, ah, optimism ... or, lack thereof regarding how history will be written in the overall. I'm sorry that this special place doesn't see it our way, too. Well, to be fair, maybe it does ...

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    This war started in 2014 when Obama was President.

    Actually, the seeds of this war began germinating a lot earlier than that ... as you well know, from all of your research.

    And, you have no idea, whatsoever, how things might have turned out differently if the people driving this "inevitable" war hadn't won out over the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    and, besides, I'm too ill-informed to address your points.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Biden is much more of a normal person than most presidents, so it's interesting to see how he's managed to squeeze out some excellent results.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    So, what exactly do you mean by 'normal'? I'm guessing you mean more like any one of us and less presidential material and hence the surprise ... er, interest in what he has been able to accomplish.

    I, on the other hand, am not surprised at all by the positive results. Of course, I always expect more from Biden just because I know who he is after following his career since 1987.

    I knew there would be great disappointments, too - also because I know him so well.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I see him as being more of an extraordinary president.

    But, if by 'normal' you mean in the way that all presidents SHOULD be, then, yes, I'd have to agree wholeheartedly! :)

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Yes, Biden has done well, and I sure hope he will go out at the end of this term while he's ahead.

    Right. 'Cause we wouldn't wish to see any more positive results in a second term, would we? ;)

    And, because there are so many youthful Democrats who would be more likely to win in 2024, right? I'm thinking you have someone in mind for the job ... care to name drop? Heh.

  14. [14] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Right. 'Cause we wouldn't wish to see any more positive results in a second term, would we? ;)


    You are right to remind us of Joe’s track record, which shows Joe to be a transformative President, comparable to FDR (and far exceeding “Good House N*gga — sold the 90% of us out” Obama) in serving Murica.

    Democrats are famous for the wringing-of-hands and self-soiling and snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory. It’s never a bad idea to remind folks what good has occurred.

  15. [15] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Sometimes I think that Democrats are every bit as capable of as much idiotic thinking as the Republicans.

  16. [16] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Hey Elizabeth,

    Check out this 35-year old BC native right-wing rapper Tom Macdonald the guy is on Billboard for the only non-rap song that I’ve yet heard from him. It’s called Ghost and it’s a love song with heart.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Ghost is pretty special - I really love it! You'll have to play more of his stuff at our Sunday Night shindigs. Does he get very political in his rap songs? Never been into rap but that doesn't mean I never will be...

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Welcome, everyone to another CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party! Another Sunday night and yet another tribute to a fine musician who has left us but leaves behind a catalogue of gorgeous music to enjoy through the rest of our own days.

    So, tonight a special tribute to David Crosby, "the golden-voiced, long-haired, cantankerous, beatific American original who was there to invent folk-rock with the Byrds in the mid-Sixties, to redefine the supergroup with Crosby, Stills, and Nash a few years later, and to remain unquestionably himself through all the decades of gorgeous harmonies and outrageous opinions that followed." (Rolling Stone Magazine)

    If you have a favourite Byrds/CSN/CSNY tune I hope you'll play it and share your memories here with us tonight!

    During the lockdowns of the Pandemic I added quite a lot of music to my collection and one that has become a great favourite is the Crosby, Stills and Nash eponymous debut album. I especially love playing it while lounging poolside in the backyard of my building, basking in the glory of the sunshine and gorgeous harmonies.

    Crosby, Stills and Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Crosby didn’t write or take the lead vocal on the Byrds’ chart-topping cover of Pete Seeger’s Bible-derived folk classic, but he did arrange the unforgettable vocal harmonies, as he did throughout his tenure in the band. It’s impossible to imagine this song without Crosby’s high parts floating above McGuinn’s lead on the refrain — a sound that inspired countless harmony-rich folk and rock acts in the decades to come." - Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, January 19, 2023

    The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965)

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Of all the original Byrds, Crosby was always the hippest and hippie-est, from his capes to his increasingly long locks. His open tunings, ethereal melodies, and elliptical lyrics captured that vibe, too, as heard on this ode to a land of “cinnamon and spices” with a “kaleidoscope of colors” from Younger Than Yesterday. This was inspired by actual Renaissance fairs in L.A. at the time. “They were the first large gatherings of hippies,” he said in the notes to his box set Voyage, “even before the Be-Ins.” This song, he said, “gave you a taste of what it was like.” - David Brown, Rolling Stone, January 19, 2023

    The Byrds - Renaissance Fair (1967)

    Some great comments under the description of this youtube video!

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Amid cycles of psychedelic chords, Crosby wrote lyrics about coming to terms with being hurt for this contemplative deep cut. “Everybody has been burned before,” opens the song. “Everybody knows the pain.” Crosby had written the tune, whose jazzy voicings allowed for an avant-garde guitar solo, a few years before he joined the group, and years later he still recognized it as a songwriting breakthrough, calling it “the first actually passable song that I wrote” in a 1995 interview. “‘Everybody’s Been Burned’ was most characteristic of what was to become my style,” he said in ’84, “pretty changes, an unusual feel and flavor — plus good words.”" Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, January 19, 2023

    The Byrds - Everybody's Been Burned

    Is it just me or does this song have a kind of James Bond musical thread running through it ...

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Imagine it’s 1969 and you just bought CSN’s debut album. It opens with the seven-minute “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” followed by the rollicking “Marrakesh Express.” But by the third track, it all slows down. It’s the ballad “Guinnevere,” and you’ve entered the mystic. Croz himself knew the song was a killer, as he describes the legendary English queen’s green eyes and golden hair over an almost haunting time signature. He eventually revealed to us that he wrote the song about three different real-life, non-mythical women. One was his partner Christine Gail Hinton, who would die later that year in a tragic crash; another was Joni Mitchell. “And the other one is somebody that I can’t tell,” he said. “It might be my best song.” " - Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, January 19, 2023

    Guinnevere - Crosby, Stills and Nash (Debut Album, 1969)

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "At the end of the turbulent Sixties, Crosby was still making sense of the decade. The gentle, elegiac “Long Time Gone,” from the first CSN album, reflects his frame of mind. “I wrote [‘Long Time Gone’] right after they assassinated Bobby Kennedy,” he told Rolling Stone in 2008. “It was a result of losing him, of losing John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I started to feel overwhelmed. It seemed as if it was ballot by bullet. It seemed as if it didn’t matter how good a person we could find to put up as an inspiration and a leader for the good, that somehow the other side would triumph by simply gunning them down.” But Crosby didn’t feel totally helpless. In the song’s third verse, he urges, “Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness/You got to speak your mind, if you dare.”" — Kory Grow, Rolling Stone

    CSN - Long Time Gone

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Thanks for the tunes guys.

    Laila tov

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "One of the bleeding-heart fan favorites from Deja Vu might never have been on the album had David Crosby not fought for its inclusion. “Stephen [Stills]…didn’t want me to leave it in ’cause he thought that it was a bad vocal,” Crosby told Rolling Stone in 1970. “But I felt like what I meant when I sang it.” What Crosby felt when he wrote the song was a mix of late-Sixties disillusionment in the wake of RFK’s assassination and heightened alienation as the body count in Vietnam rose. 53 years later, Crosby’s righteous anger still resonates." — Jonathon Bernstein, Rolling Stone

    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Almost Cut My Hair

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Backed by three members of the Grateful Dead — Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart — this standout from Crosby’s classic solo debut, If I Could Only Remember My Name…, is one of his rawest, hardest-grooving recorded moments. “It is the story of CSNY, but it’s told as a cowboy movie,” he told Rolling Stone‘s Andy Greene. “The recording on the album kind of naturally fell out. We played it a number of times. That time you hear on the record is pretty spectacular. It was really good chemistry between me and Garcia and Lesh… We just had a good chemistry. It was loose and funky and it felt right.”" — Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone

    David Crosby - Cowboy Movie (1971)

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "On “Laughing,” Crosby sings about false prophets who claim they talk to God. “I thought I met a man who said he knew a man who knew what was going on,” he sings. “I was mistaken/Only another stranger that I knew.” The idea for the song came to him while thinking about his friend George Harrison, whom Crosby worried had been taken in by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. “I wanted to say to him, ‘Be skeptical. … Anytime someone tells you they talked to God right after breakfast this morning, they are probably bullshitting you,'” he reflected in Rolling Stone in 2021. “That’s what I wanted to say. But I was chicken because it was George.” The song’s final line, “I was mistaken/Only a child laughing in the sun” had a poetic significance to Crosby: “A child laughing in the sun knows more about God than I do.”" — Kory Grow, Rolling Stone

    David Crosby - Laughing (1971)

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "“Carry Me,” a track off Crosby and Nash’s 1975 album, Wind on the Water, Crosby reflects on his mother’s death. “She was lying in white sheets there, and she was waiting to die,” he sings. “She said if you’d just reach underneath this bed/And untie these weights, I could surely fly.” But for all the grief in his voice, there’s never despair, and his and Nash’s voices become ascendant in their harmony. In the chorus, she calls for him to carry her. The song became a live staple for Crosby and his bandmates. “It doesn’t matter how many times we sing those songs, at some point our emotions take over, and brother, let me tell you that it generates something sacred,” Graham Nash wrote of “Carry Me” in his memoir, Wild Tales. “Whatever that might be, Croz and I have it with each other, whether it’s intuition, tone of voice, or something much deeper and indefinable.”" — Kory Grow, Rolling Stone

    Crosby and Nash - Carry Me (1975)

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Crosby wrote “Things We Do for Love” for his wife, Jan Dance, whom he married in 1987 and who’d stay by his side till his death. It’s a tender, subtly gorgeous ballad that focuses on the little moments of a relationship, more meditative tone-poem than gushing valentine. “At first it’s just fun/But love is long,” Croz sings. “A little each day/You build it that way.” For Croz, the song came as part of a fruitful period of late-career songwriting. “I can’t explain why that would happen except that I’m happy,” he told the Wall Street Journal at the time. “I’m a very happy guy. That may be the key to the whole deal.”" - Rolling Stone, January 19, 2023

    David Crosby - Things We Do For Love (2016)

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Thanks for that beautiful tune and good night, everyone!

  31. [31] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Sorry I drank a fifth which delayed me but I hadda make sure that these two masterpieces were recognized this Sunday evening.

    G’Nite y’all.

  32. [32] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Dammit I’m sorry I didn’t get here three hours ago.

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's not too late on the left coast!

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Cheers, Caddy!

  35. [35] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Way to add the context information with each song.

    They really add to my enjoyment of this CSNY outfit.

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