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Archive of Articles in the "Name-dropping" Category

Friday Talking Points -- America Is Back

[ Posted Friday, June 18th, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

President Joe Biden had a pretty good week all around. He began the week in Europe, where he met with the leaders of NATO, the European Union, the G7, a few royals (just to mix things up), and Vladimir Putin. That's a pretty packed schedule, but Biden seemed to manage just fine. The Europeans were both visibly thrilled and massively relieved to be visited by a United States president who was, once again, a sane adult (and not a petulant little child-man). They heaped praise upon Biden -- mostly just for being "President Not-Trump." You may laugh, but please recall President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize solely for being "President Not-Dubya," years earlier. But more seriously, Europe announced some deals with Biden (including, notably, a truce being called on the subsidy war over Boeing and Airbus airplanes). Not only were personal relationships either reaffirmed or begun, tangible diplomatic progress was made. Europe stood as one with the United States over the contentious issues of Russia and China, which only strengthened Biden's position for his meeting with Putin. The Putin summit didn't produce a whole lot in the way of tangible deliverables, but then again it didn't produce an American president willing to believe Russia's ex-K.G.B. leader over his own intelligence services either, so it has to be chalked up as a major improvement. Throughout it all, Biden stuck to one very simple slogan that summed up what his trip was supposed to be showcasing to the world: "America is back."

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Friday Talking Points -- Making America Respected Again

[ Posted Friday, June 11th, 2021 – 17:56 UTC ]

President Biden is currently in Europe, in the midst of his first trip abroad since he took office. So the folks at Pew Research decided it was a good time to see how America is now viewed by the rest of the world (or the countries with advanced economies that were surveyed, at any rate). The answers are exactly what you'd expect them to be -- America's standing in the world has dramatically improved, now that a sane adult is in charge of the country once again (instead of an unstable and temperamental toddler).

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Friday Talking Points -- Welcome To Cloud Cuckoo Land

[ Posted Friday, May 14th, 2021 – 18:03 UTC ]

The Republican Party has officially divorced itself from reality. They have, quite simply, moved their headquarters to Cloud Cuckoo Land. Any among their ranks who do not swear fealty to the fantastic lies they now believe must be either shunned or expelled. That is the state of one of the two major American political parties, in the twenty-first century.

Normally, such a development would be a reason for glee among the other political party, but this is not merely a matter of Republicans believing that the world is flat, the moon is made of green cheese, or tax cuts always pay for themselves -- no, this is no mere pedestrian fantasyland they have now taken up residence within. This is far more dangerous.

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Friday Talking Points -- Let Boredom Ring!

[ Posted Friday, January 29th, 2021 – 18:29 UTC ]

President Joe Biden has now spent his first 10 days in office. All told, it's been fairly boring. Which is exactly what millions of Americans voted him into office to achieve. Journalists everywhere are writing absolute paeans to boredom. Throughout the land, a joyous cry is raised: "Let boredom ring!" Well, OK, that may be overstating it a tiny bit. But not by much.

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A Bright New Day

[ Posted Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 – 17:26 UTC ]

It is morning in America again.

Ronald Reagan famously made a lot of political hay out of that slogan. The phrase worked so well because Americans generally favor optimism and a bright future over the gloomier alternatives. All modern presidential candidates since Reagan have struck optimistic themes while campaigning. Except one.

Donald Trump actually did campaign on optimism, but only during his first run. He borrowed the language of populism and painted a rather rosy worldview for the forgotten blue-collar Midwestern worker, back in 2016. By doing so, he flipped the "Big Blue Wall" that Democrats had previously relied upon to give them the necessary Electoral College votes, and he thus won the presidency.

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My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 – 18:26 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second part of our annual year-end awards column series! If you missed it, you can check out last week's installment too. But a warning -- for both this column and last week's -- they're long. Incredibly long. Monstrously long. It's been that kind of year, what can we say?

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My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 – 18:01 UTC ]

What a year. Seriously, that was a tough one for us all, wasn't it?

Before we begin with the awards, I would just like to thank all the people -- both online and in person -- who helped out by giving me their suggestions and nominations for all of these awards. I have tried to credit individuals where appropriate, but I probably forgot to do so here and there too, so I apologize in advance.

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The Return Of First Pets

[ Posted Monday, November 30th, 2020 – 16:43 UTC ]

After the long weekend, I'm kind of easing back into the political world, and I thought there'd be no better way to do that than to celebrate the impending return of First Pets to the White House. Joe and Jill Biden will be bringing their two dogs to live with them, and the news was announced over the weekend that they'll also be getting a new First Cat. From Jane Pauley on CBS yesterday:

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Ken Is The Only Possible Choice

[ Posted Thursday, November 19th, 2020 – 17:01 UTC ]

I have to apologize in advance, because today's column has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Regular readers know that on exceedingly rare occasions, I feel the need to comment about something completely separate from the political world. Sometimes I'll toss in my two cents on the subject of sports, or grammar, or anything else I feel so strongly about that I am compelled to share my thoughts. But I certainly never thought I'd ever devote an entire column to a television game show.

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Friday Talking Points -- Only One Scaramucci To Go!

[ Posted Friday, October 23rd, 2020 – 17:45 UTC ]

We are now only one Scaramucci away from Election Day. For those unfamiliar with the reference, a "Scaramucci" is a unit of time measurement equal to the time Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci spent as President Donald Trump's press secretary -- 11 days. And we're now only one Scaramucci away from the election.

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