Doses of Reality
How to underestimate nothing….
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ITEMS 1 + 2
Joe Manchin is still claiming to be dead-set against nixing the filibuster and highly wary of using reconciliation; Joe Biden is still hoodwinking the media by claiming he is all about legislative compromise with Republicans.
Manchin’s pen put this on the Washington Post op-ed page:
There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.
The New York Times closed its story on all of this thusly:
While many questions remain about how Democrats could potentially use another chance at reconciliation, both Mr. Biden and congressional leaders insist they want to work with Republicans to reach compromises, particularly on the sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure proposal the White House just unveiled.
“There are things we’re working on together — some of which we’ve passed and some we will pass,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday. He suggested a group of 10 Republican senators who sought to compromise on his pandemic relief plan did not do enough to jump start negotiations with their initial $618 billion plan. “If they come forward with a plan that did the bulk of it and it was a billion — three or four, two or three — that allowed me to have pieces of all that was in there, I would have been prepared to compromise, but they didn’t,” he added.
The group of 10 Republican senators later issued a joint statement Wednesday evening arguing that the proposal had been “a first offer to the White House designed to open bipartisan negotiations” that instead had been dismissed “as wholly inadequate in order to justify its go-it-alone strategy.”
DOSE OF REALITY: There are now three options:
1. Joe Biden completely changes course and scales back his ambitions so broadly and deeply that he risks his presidency collapsing for lack of progressive support in the House and at the grassroots.
2. Mr. Manchin sticks to his guns and the Biden presidency collapses because there are not 50 Senate votes to do anything along the lines of the Biden-Harris-Klain-Pelosi-Schumer aspirations.
3. Mr. Manchin follows form, gets a few demanded changes made to the House versions of bills, and allows a Democratic steamroller to pass everything with about 219 House Ds and 50 Senate Ds, along the process lines of the pandemic+ relief bill.
Odds of (1): 5%
Odds of (2): 25%
Odds of (3): 70%
ITEMS 3 + 4
The Dominant Media continues to largely ignore its own fact checks and reporting in characterizing the Georgia voting law:
While there are disagreements about the effect of specific provisions of the voting changes in Georgia and proposals being advanced elsewhere, Democrats and independent election experts say the efforts being undertaken in the name of election integrity are aimed at holding down voting opportunities, particularly for minorities who tend to favor Democrats. (New York Times)
Dan Henninger, in his Wall Street Journal column calling for a boycott of baseball, writes this:
Most of commercial life today revolves around one idea—promoting a company’s “brand.” No dopes, the left saw that if they could generate 500 hostile social-media posts against a corporate brand over some made-up woke offense, the CEO, having bet his career with millions in marketing costs, will think his brand is about to be destroyed by groupthink millennials who all at once will stop drinking Coke or refuse to stream baseball on MLB.TV.
DOSE OF REALITY: Three storylines might recede from the top of the news heap, but the drama involved in this trio of clashes is high and will continue for some time:
1. Voting rights in the states and nationally.
2. The Red hot anger over the caving behavior of corporate CEOs.
3. The personal and professional ties between Big Business and the Trump wing of the Republican Party.
President Biden to unveil gun safety measures at the White House Thursday.
DOSE OF REALITY: This is yet another area of moral and practical urgency for the Biden administration in which there is no apparent bipartisan progress, since Democrats are in a hurry and Republicans are intractable.
DOSE OF REALITY: Betting against The Macker has never been a particularly smart move.
ITEM 7 + 8
Per the Associated Press:
Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots.
New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000.
Per the Washington Post:
The White House also has focused on building relationships with local officials and businesses in states like Florida and Texas, recognizing the possibility of constructive partnerships even as governors roll back statewide restrictions.
DOSE OF REALITY: There is nothing less politically sexy in any White House than intergovernmental affairs and/but the story of the Team Biden’s relative success in dealing with Job One is based to a very large extent on their putting a much larger emphasis on an active, assertive, and/yet cooperative role vis a vis the states than the predecessor administration.
The buried lead of the new Albany Times Union interview with the woman who has anonymously accused Governor Andrew Cuomo of grooming and groping her:
Later that month, the woman who has accused him of groping her said she was taking dictation for the governor at his Capitol office when he brought up what had happened a month earlier.
"Near the end of it, he looked up at me and he said, 'You know, by the way, you know people talk in the office and you can never tell anyone about anything we talk about or, you know, anything, right?'" she recalled of the conversation. "I said, 'I understand.' He said, 'Well, you know, I could get in big trouble, you know that.' I said, 'I understand, governor.' And he said, 'OK.'"
The woman said she interpreted the governor's words that day as a threat.
"I was a liability, and he knew that," she said. "He was definitely trying to let me know, 'It would be in your best interest (to keep quiet).' ... I know his look and I know how intimidating he can be. He wanted to get a message across to me."
DOSE OF REALITY: Private polling might show Mr. Cuomo’s standing slipping some, but not enough to force him out of his only home and from the job that gives him leverage. However, the charges imbedded in this latest account are likely to have set off alarm bells in the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. Stalling and stonewalling are not the same as surviving.
Please read in full, a day late, this account of testimony in the Chauvin trial. It is quite long, but important, and has a much different emphasis and flavor than the Dominant Media coverage of the proceedings.
DOSE OF REALITY: I’m not predicting an acquittal or a hung jury, but I am reminding you again that
1. All trial coverage at these stage of the proceedings implicitly tilts almost entirely towards the prosecution.
2. Even the world’s best legal analysts and trial reporters have no earthly idea what is happening in the minds of jurors.
3. The media does a disservice to the public (and increases the likelihood of violence in the wake of the verdict) if it gives the misleading impression that conviction is all but inevitable.
Make sure you make time for Rich Lowry’s piece on why Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the It GOP Pol of 2021 so far.
DOSE OF REALITY:
The RNC just had the Sunshine State topper sign a fundraising solicitation email for a reason:
It is an oversimplification to say that DeSantis’ popularity with Republicans outside of Florida is based solely on his Trumpian defiance of the media and of public health bureaucrats during the pandemic.
It remains too early to ask how DeSantis will feel about brunching at Lauriol Plaza but in some ways his national appeal with the party is being understated by the current framing of his potential 2024 candidacy.
But only in some ways….
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