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Archive of Articles in the "Foreign Policy" Category

Biden: Let's Finish The Job

[ Posted Wednesday, February 8th, 2023 – 16:30 UTC ]

Last night, President Biden gave (depending on how you look at it) a rousing State Of The Union speech or perhaps the first speech of his re-election campaign. Throughout it all, by my count, he uttered the phrase "Let's finish the job" a whopping 10 times (at the very least... I know I must have missed a few...). That sounds an awful lot like a new campaign slogan to me....

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Biden Takes The Stage

[ Posted Monday, February 6th, 2023 – 16:55 UTC ]

Tomorrow night, President Joe Biden will mark the halfway point of his first term in office by delivering a State Of The Union speech. He will remind Americans of all the things he has accomplished so far, and he will likely have a pared-down list of things he thinks he might still accomplish even with a divided Congress. All of which is traditional and expected. But what we can all also expect is a "soft launch" of Biden's re-election campaign.

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Friday Talking Points -- Biden Gets Good News Heading Into The SOTU

[ Posted Friday, February 3rd, 2023 – 18:24 UTC ]

Next Tuesday night, President Joe Biden will deliver his State Of The Union speech to a joint session of Congress. Today, he got some good news he will without doubt be touting in this speech -- the unemployment rate is not just low, not just "lower than it ever hit under Donald Trump," but historically low. The last time the unemployment rate was a mere 3.4 percent was in 1969, before we sent any men to the moon. If it falls any further, we'll have to go back to 1953 to find a similar number. So we certainly expect this to be prominently featured next Tuesday night.

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Happy Groundhog Day

[ Posted Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 – 17:20 UTC ]

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Or, to be more accurate, I should wish everyone a happy Groundhog Day, since I speak not of a small, furry weather prognosticator but instead of the movie of the same name which starred Bill Murray. For those of you who have just woken up from a multi-decade coma, the film subjected Murray to living the same day over and over again in a time loop. Which today certainly has some significant flavors of, you have to admit.

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And Then There Were Two

[ Posted Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 – 17:02 UTC ]

That headline is somewhat of a misnomer, of course, since when the phrase "...and then there were [number]..." is usually used, it conveys a shrinking of the field -- a Hunger Games style announcement-in-the-sky to mark when a tribute (contender) dies (literally in the stories, metaphorically when it comes to politics). In this case, though, it refers to the fact that there will soon be two official major-party candidates for president of the United States, not just one: Donald Trump and Nikki Haley (both Republicans). Haley has not formally announced, but has scheduled an official announcement event for February 15th. Trump, of course, announced about twelve seconds after the midterm elections, in an effort to distract from the storyline that he backed a whole bunch of losing candidates and quite possibly cost the Republican Party control of the Senate (once again). President Joe Biden is widely expected to announce on the Democratic side, but this may not happen for weeks or even, conceivably, months, because being the sitting president gives you the luxury of choosing your own timing.

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Friday Talking Points -- Republicans Show Their True Colors

[ Posted Friday, January 27th, 2023 – 17:58 UTC ]

President Joe Biden gave a speech this week on the state of the American economy. On his watch, the economy has greatly improved as we all dug ourselves out of the pandemic recession together. So Biden deserves a victory lap. He also used the speech to draw a stark comparison between Democrats responsibly steering the economy and Republicans who apparently are salivating at the prospect of blowing it all up.

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Republicans Are Their Own Worst Enemy

[ Posted Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 – 16:32 UTC ]

The big fight shaping up in the new Congress is going to be over the debt ceiling, the news media tells us. Republicans are on one of their traditional "there's a Democrat in the White House, so we must now slash spending to the bone" quests, and so they're going to try to use the debt ceiling as leverage to force concessions from President Joe Biden and the Democratic Senate. But the big question, after you get past all the fulminating rhetoric, remains: What concessions? What are they even fighting for? And the answer, to me, lies in the past. Remember the big push to "repeal and replace" Obamacare? That's what seems almost certain to happen this time around, too.

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The Plot Thickens

[ Posted Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 – 16:35 UTC ]

This is all what should have happened last August. Also, at this point it's hard not to think: "Who's next? Jimmy Carter? Dan Quayle?" In fact, it's hard for me not to picture in my head right now the image of Attorney General Merrick Garland standing on a stage behind Oprah Winfrey, who is yelling into her microphone: "You get a special counsel... and you get a special counsel!... and YOU get a special counsel!!!"

This was my initial (and admittedly, rather giddy) reaction when the news broke that Mike Pence also had some classified documents in his possession, long after he should have turned them over to the National Archives. This complicates an already-complicated storyline, since Pence is now the third ex-president or ex-vice-president to have seemingly walked off with classified documents stuffed in a box with all the other papers they took with them when leaving office. And then nobody ever looked in the boxes until now -- at least in the cases of former Vice President Mike Pence and current President (but former Vice President and Senator, from when the documents were reportedly dated) Joe Biden. In the case of former President Donald Trump, the boxes at least should have been looked into, since he had already received and answered a subpoena for all documents marked classified.

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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.

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The Republican Party Is Now Officially Amoral

[ Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2023 – 16:51 UTC ]

Jerry Falwell must be spinning in his grave. For those that don't remember the era, in the 1980s, Falwell was at the forefront of the movement to instill his brand of Christianity into American politics, which at the time mostly meant influencing conservatives and Republicans. This was far enough back when "conservative" and "Republican" weren't as 100 percent interchangeable as they are today, I should point out. Falwell created his own group and called it the "Moral Majority" -- a name meant to highlight what he (obviously) believed was an amoral minority who had become too powerful in American politics. Moralism and being holier-than-thou were the watchwords of the day. Republicans would use all sorts of moral issues (today we'd call them "culture war" issues) as a big wedge to shame Democratic liberals and get more Republicans elected to office. This was long before the moralistic frenzy surrounding Bill Clinton -- that all came later. This is also what laid the groundwork for Republicans painting themselves as taking the moral high road while Democrats collapsed into degenerate "secular humanism." Those days, quite obviously, are gone. Because today's Republican Party is about as amoral as can be imagined -- far beyond the caricature of the godless liberals Falwell painted back in the day. Today's Republicans simply do not care one whit about morals -- any morals at all, it seems.

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