...Is/are better than one...
On the eve of the president’s State of the Union address, here is your Team Biden scorecard, using the familiar scale:
Solid political joy.
An Eagles 28-0 halftime lead.
Requires close attention.
Calamity in the making.
For more on the State of the Union address and the state of the nation, please join me and political wizard John Ellis Tuesday night.
You can sign up to reserved your spot on the Zoom at 6pm ET tomorrow night by clicking HERE.
1. THE BALLOON STORY
Still a lot of unanswered questions about how things were handled, what the Chinese will do next, and comms between the Pentagon and White House and within DOD. Although the White House is spinning this event as a win, it could end up something less than that.
2. STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
As long as the administration can successfully spin the Dominant Media that this speech is Biden vs TrumpGaetzMAGAExtremism, the White House will likely win the night (and a news cycle or two, including with a post-speech romp through Ron DeSantis’ Florida).
3. THE STATE OF VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS
The unvarnished truth from an essential reading New York Times story:
[T] he painful reality for Ms. Harris is that in private conversations over the last few months, dozens of Democrats in the White House, on Capitol Hill and around the nation — including some who helped put her on the party’s 2020 ticket — said she had not risen to the challenge of proving herself as a future leader of the party, much less the country. Even some Democrats whom her own advisers referred reporters to for supportive quotes confided privately that they had lost hope in her.
Through much of the fall, a quiet panic set in among key Democrats about what would happen if President Biden opted not to run for a second term. Most Democrats interviewed, who insisted on anonymity to avoid alienating the White House, said flatly that they did not think Ms. Harris could win the presidency in 2024. Some said the party’s biggest challenge would be finding a way to sideline her without inflaming key Democratic constituencies that would take offense.
Now with Mr. Biden appearing all but certain to run again, the concern over Ms. Harris has shifted to whether she will be a political liability for the ticket. Given that Mr. Biden at 80 is already the oldest president in American history, Republicans would most likely make Ms. Harris, who is 58, a prime attack line, arguing that a vote for Mr. Biden may in fact be a vote to put her in the Oval Office….
Members of Congress, Democratic strategists and other major party figures all said she had not made herself into a formidable leader. Two Democrats recalled private conversations in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented that Ms. Harris could not win because she does not have the political instincts to clear a primary field. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said she was strongly supportive of Ms. Harris and often spoke with her about shared experiences of being “a woman in power.” He added: “They have built and maintained a strong bond. Any other characterization is patently false.”
4. THE HOUSE INVESTIGATIONS
A New York Post interview with House Oversight Chair James Comer suggests a level of Waxmanian sophistication (using video, aggressive subpoenas – that Comer claims Team Hunter is fighting) that will likely worry the White House.
5. THE DEBT CEILING AND BUDGET WARS
A pair of nearly-essential reading Washington Post stories tell the tale: Chuck Schumer is in lockstep with the White House and congressional Republicans still are far, far away from unity, with most of their mélange of ideas politically perilous for the Grand Old Party.
Tom Friedman says Year Two will be very scary for U.S. policymakers.
7. THE APPETITE FOR FOUR MORE YEARS
The Associated Press’ new poll, with “old” news:
A majority of Democrats now think one term is plenty for President Joe Biden, despite his insistence that he plans to seek reelection in 2024.
That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that shows just 37% of Democrats say they want him to seek a second term, down from 52% in the weeks before last year’s midterm elections….
Only 22% of U.S. adults overall say he should run again, down from 29% who said so before last year’s midterm elections….
The decline among Democrats saying Biden should run again for president appears concentrated among younger people. Among Democrats age 45 and over, 49% say Biden should run for reelection, nearly as many as the 58% who said that in October. But among those under age 45, 23% now say he should run for reelection, after 45% said that before the midterms….
The poll also shows only 23% of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” of confidence in Biden to effectively manage the White House. That has ticked down from 28% a year ago and remains significantly lower than 44% two years ago, just as Biden took office.
Just 21% have a lot of confidence in Biden’s ability to handle a crisis, down slightly from 26% last March.
NB from Politico:
Biden has not yet declared his candidacy but the State of the Union could very well double as a soft launch for a 2024 bid. The president has said he intends to stand for re-election, though some of his closest advisers caution that a final decision has not yet been made. In somewhat classic Biden fashion, the timeline for an announcement has shifted, according to four people familiar with the decision.
Originally pegged to March or April, in part for fundraising purposes, there had been talk of moving an announcement up to late February. That now may have slipped again as the White House grapples with the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the discovery of mishandled classified documents at Biden’s Delaware home and former office.
The obit concern of every member of the Gang of 500 — what will they be remembered for?
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