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The Biden and Trump Decisions
It is choosing time….
To paraphrase Mark Twain, everybody talks about decisions, but no one ever makes them.
Or, at least, no one makes them very quickly.
Here are some major players and the choices before them.
THE PLAYER: DONALD J. TRUMP
THE DECISION: How should he react when his lawyers (inevitably) get bad reviews for their Friday presentation?
THE STAKES: Watch what the Trump supporters in my Thursday night focus group said about Mr. Castor and Mr. Schoen.
Does the former president maintain his silence after the Dominant Media (and maybe others) say his defense team (again) fell short of matching the work of the House managers – or does he weigh in to support (or trash) them? If Trump doesn’t offer up his views, he risks the first draft of history morphing into the last draft of history, regardless of the formal verdict.
(Also, check out how those focus group participants say they would explain the impeachment trial to Dutch high schoolers.)
THE PLAYERS: SENATE REPUBLICANS
THE DECISION: Do they vote to convict Mr. Trump?
THE STAKES: A “not guilty” vote will put them against the sensibilities of the Gang of 500, as given voice by Peggy Noonan:
History will see 1/6 for what it was. Those who acquit are voting for a lie. Conviction would be an act of self-respect and of reverence for the place where fortune has placed them.
(Read to the end of the column to see Noonan’s scolding of House Democrats who have shown public emotion when recounting their reactions to and feelings about the events of 1/6.)
THE PLAYERS: Readers of Wide World of News who have yet to subscribe or contribute.
THE DECISION: Whether to voluntary kick in to keep this newsletter publishing as a solo enterprise by Mark Evan Halperin, 7 days a week.
THE STAKES: Wanna keep reading this thingy?
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THE PLAYERS: ALL REPUBLICAN PARTY STAKEHOLDERS
THE DECISION: Should they accept The Architect’s judgment (slipped into a complex quote within a New York Times story) about the nation’s 45th president and 2024:
Karl Rove, the Republican strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush, said the managers had made a “very persuasive” presentation. “Not clear they met the legal definition of ‘incitement' and ‘insurrection,’ but he is effectively tarnished for all time and incapable of running in 2024,” Mr. Rove said. “The question is how much power to dominate the G.O.P. will have been drained away by the time this is over.”
THE STAKES: The party establishment would like to eliminate the prospects of a Trump return to the Oval Office (without the Senate doing the deed) for fear that minus such a banishment, the 2022 and 2024 Republican Party primaries will be chaos- personified, policy-free personality contests – and lead to general election failures on a massive scale.
THE PLAYERS: THE DOMINANT MEDIA
THE DECISION: How/whether to cover the Andrew Cuomo rocket launched by the New York Post?
Governor Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers for withholding the state’s nursing-home death toll from COVID-19 — telling them “we froze” out of fear the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, The Post has learned.
The stunning admission of a cover-up was made by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting.
THE STAKES: Life, death, accountability, and the use of journalism to perform its most fundamental role – holding ALL powerful interests accountable to the public interest.
THE PLAYER: PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
THE DECISION: Does he expand beyond the traditional role of the federal government and really press teachers unions and state/local officials to get schools truly open for in-person learning – or not?
THE STAKES: Rich Lowry goes simple to nail it:
Biden’s goal should be to exert every ounce of influence that he has to get kids back in the classroom — for their own good and that of the country’s parents.
And the Dominant Media is, a few days late, finally semi-leaning into the issue, reinforcing the emerging meme of Team Biden’s flimflam expectations setting on major policy aims:
Ms. Psaki was bluntly asked about recent clashes in cities like Chicago and San Francisco, where teachers’ unions and school districts were struggling to agree on how to welcome students back to buildings.
“If it comes down to a binary choice, if it comes down to a binary choice, who would the president choose: the kids or the teachers?” a reporter asked.
“I think that’s a little bit unfair how you pose that question,” she responded. “But I will say the president believes schools should be open. Teachers want schools to be open. Families want schools to be open. But we want to do it safely.” (New York Times)
THE PLAYER: PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
THE CHOICES: On immigration and infrastructure, the same basket of dilemmas: how big, how bipartisan, how to handle the economics, how to sequence and time?
THE STAKES: After the Democratic-fueled pandemic relief bill is signed into law in a few weeks, the Biden presidency will be at an early and critical crossroads. Yes, the implementation of a plan to deal with the virus will remain the first order of business. But how will Team Biden spend the rest of whatever honeymoon remains? Deciding how small a loaf the left will accept and how big a loaf Republicans can be offered could tell a major part of the American tale for years to come.
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