Joe Biden’s New Enemies List
Foreign and domestic….
Sure, Putin, Xi, Mitch McConnell, Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump – and, now, Belarus’ strongperson, Aleksandr Lukashenko.
“It is shocking that the West calls the incident in Belarusian airspace ‘shocking’ – Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
But when United States President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. takes an orange Gatorade and chocolate chip cookie break, he surely has a lot of other worries on his mind, too.
The world is a dangerous and complicated place, and the presidential inbox is not filled with….orange Gatorade and chocolate chip cookies.
1. THE CHALLENGE OF COMPROMISE
The prospects for a bipartisan infrastructure deal dimmed even further Monday, as Senate Republicans alleged that the White House had agreed to narrow the scope of its $2.2 trillion plan — only to reverse course days later. (Washington Post)
Halperin says: Four months is a long time for Ron Klain to juggle the bipartisan tennis ball and the progressive tennis ball with his left hand. Five months might be too much – without a trick up his sleeve.
2. THE CHALLENGE OF INFLATION
Larry Summers is back in the Washington Post with an essential reading, well-reasoned op-ed on the clear and present/future dangers of rising prices (and a critique of the Biden administration policies that might make the peril greater).
Halperin says: You could think of the White House as a frog bathing obliviously in the slowly-boiling pot of inflation – except that the members of Team Biden read Summer’s work and they study and talk about inflation every day. So they are like a frog in the pot, with several thermometers in constant use. And yet.
3. SIMULTANEOUS GUN CULTURE AND GUN VIOLENCE
A measure long sought by conservative activists allowing Texans to carry handguns without a license is on the cusp of becoming law after the Texas Senate approved a compromise on the bill Monday, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott.
Abbott has said he would sign the permitless carry proposal into law.
More than three people are dead following a shooting Monday afternoon in West Jefferson, Madison County.
Halperin says: Joe Biden thinks he is uniquely qualified to square the deadly circles of America’s firearm challenges. Tragically, it does not appear yet that he is correct in that self appraisal.
4. THE WIV CREDIBILITY PROBLEM
Three remarkable paragraphs from the Washington Post’s “fact” checker:
The source of the coronavirus that has left more than 3 million people dead around the world remains a mystery. But in recent months the idea that it emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) — once dismissed as a ridiculous conspiracy theory — has gained new credence.
How and why did this happen? For one, efforts to discover a natural source of the virus have failed. Second, early efforts to spotlight a lab leak often got mixed up with speculation that the virus was deliberately created as a bioweapon. That made it easier for many scientists to dismiss the lab scenario as tin-hat nonsense. But a lack of transparency by China and renewed attention to the activities of the Wuhan lab have led some scientists to say they were too quick to discount a possible link at first.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) from the start pointed to the lab’s location in Wuhan, pressing China for answers, so the history books will reward him if he turns out to be right. The Trump administration also sought to highlight the lab scenario but generally could only point to vague intelligence. The Trump administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.
Halperin says: This is yet another opportunity for the White House and its Dominant Media allies to do some soul searching and after-action analysis regarding why about half the country has absolute distrust of their work. Take the opportunity, folks.
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5. THE THOMAS COURT
William McGurn, essentially writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about a New York gun law and another about a Mississippi abortion restriction. If the court does the right thing, it will take up one dealing with Harvard’s discrimination against Asian-Americans.
On the Supreme Court, it’s good to be chief. But right now it may be better to be Clarence Thomas.
Halperin says: There’s a reason Mitch McConnell and his allies put so much focus on staffing the High Court. We are just months away from seeing how real the prospect of major co-equal-branch change could become.
Halperin says: Does what he wants, when he wants, as I’ve written before. It is still true.
7. DICTATORS AROUND THE WORLD, WATCHING AND TAKING THE MEASURE
Halperin says: Team Biden better get those policy reviews out of the oven soon.
8. RON DESANTIS
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday that seeks to punish social media platforms that remove “conservative ideas” from their sites….
Halperin says: 1/5th of the Democratic Party leadership knows it would be smart to slow this freight train down. 1/5th is not enough.
9. RACISM, ANTISEMITISM, DIVISION, AND HATRED
1:30 PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with the family of George Floyd on the anniversary of his death
Halperin says: Battle for the soul, indeed.
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