Just When We Thought We Were Out…
Welcome to the endemic pandemic
Via John Ellis’ always essential reading News Items Substack (you should subscribe):
So we still don’t really know how big the threat is, but the reason governments around the world, including Team Biden, are acting the way they are is because what we know so far, as above, is highly concerning.
So this is happening:
The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread.
The U.K. on Saturday tightened its rules on mask-wearing and on testing of international arrivals after finding two cases. New cases were confirmed Saturday in Germany and Italy, with Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong also reporting that the variant has been found in travelers. (Associated Press)
And so this is happening, also per the Associated Press:
Inside the White House and among allies of the president, there has been frustration for weeks over the slow government action to approve booster shots for all adults. The regulatory process, they fear, contributed to misinformation and confusion around the boosters and means the nation isn’t optimally protected for the holiday season.
Which is part of why Democratic strategists gander at the party’s poll numbers (and the poll numbers of the president), and they look and feel concern/panic.
And so quotes happen like the one ending this passage from a New York Times story about unhappiness among progressives:
A more aggressive approach may not lead to eventual passage of an immigration or voting rights law, but it would signal to Democrats that Mr. Biden is fighting for them, said Faiz Shakir, a close adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Mr. Shakir and others worry that the focus on the two significant pieces of legislation — infrastructure and the spending bill — won’t be enough to energize supporters skeptical of the federal government’s ability to improve their lives.
“I’m a supporter of Biden, a supporter of the agenda, and I’m frustrated and upset with him to allow this to go in the direction it has,” said Mr. Shakir, who managed Mr. Sanders’s presidential run in 2020. “It looks like we have President Manchin instead of President Biden in this debate.”
He added: “It’s made the president look weak.”
Which means Republicans (who agree that the president’s “weakness” is a big problem for him) feel like they are on a glide path to take back control of Congress and the White House, except then Ross Douthat writes another near-essential reading column about how Republicans stand for little beyond not being the Democrats and (for some) being Trumpy.
It’s enough to spend the last day of the Thanksgiving break in a funk, except that then the two U.S. Senators from Wisconsin up and release a Presumption of Grace statement that demonstrates the kind of bipartisan temperature lowering that we could all use a lot more of in fighting the pandemic and in life:
OSHKOSH - On Saturday, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) issued the following statement:
It has come to our attention that outside individuals or groups may attempt to exploit the tragedy that occurred last Sunday in Waukesha for their own political purposes. As the U.S. Senators representing Wisconsin, one from each political party, we are asking anyone considering such action to cease and desist.
Read the whole statement here.
There are no other essential reads.
The coming news week will be a big one on many fronts.
So enjoy the (travel…) day.
Polish off the leftovers.
Finish “Get Back.”
I will see some of you at Lauriol Plaza for brunch in a few hours.
For all the latest news all the time, check out the 24/7 website the Walking Duck.
I am apologize for yesterday’s Wide World of News typos. I wrote “ever” instead of “every” and “band” instead of “brand.” And those are just the ones that were brought to my attention. I can no longer pretend that such errors are “edgy” or “harmless.”
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