One area of policy where I hoped the new Biden administration would excel was in its handling of the pandemic, but it has not done so. It wasn’t prepared for either the Delta or Omicron variants; it failed initially to acknowledge waning vaccine immunity and delayed access to boosters; it still doesn’t have an accurate count nationally of infections; and its public messaging on masks, tests, and vaccines has been confusing and sometimes misleading. That was epitomized by a statement from acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet L. Woodcock in the Senate hearings yesterday.Read More
“Even with your adversaries, I do think that you have to have the capacity to put yourself in their shoes,” Barack Obama told The New York Times in 2015 in explaining his overture to Iran. The Biden administration needs to do this in its negotiations over Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Read More
The main complaint lodged against Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic is that he didn’t “follow the science.” Joe Biden has promised repeatedly to do so. But when it comes to the pandemic, there is a catch: there are conflicting scientific opinions, and our main governmental institutions in charge are having trouble deciding among them. Faced in the last months with the Delta variant, the Biden administration has not performed so well.
Missouri senator and presidential aspirant Josh Hawley, best known for giving a thumbs up to the January 6 rioters and trying to overturn the November election, has now joined Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott in furthering the spread of the pandemic. Hawley is sponsoring an amendment to the infrastructure bill that would restrict federal funding for K-12 schools that mandate Covid-19 vaccines for students or require students to wear masks.
Liberal Democrats are enraged at West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin for opposing the For the People Act and for supporting the filibuster, which would have to be overturned in order for the voting legislation, even with Manchin’s support, to get through Congress. Manchin may, however, be doing these liberal Democrats a favor in this case. Read More
In December 2019, the British Labour Party suffered its worst defeat since 1935. Last Thursday, with a spate of local races and a parliamentary bye-election as the result of a resignation, Labour under its new leader Keir Starmer had a chance to redeem itself. But Labour lost the bye-election in Hartlepool decisively and seems to have been drubbed in local elections outside of London and university towns. These sorry results suggest that Labour may in for a long-term decline similar to that which it endured after Margaret Thatcher and the Tories’ victory in 1979.
I’m second to no one in praising Joe Biden and the Democrats for passing the $1.9 trillion relief bill. But I have doubts about a few other initiatives coming from Biden, the House Democrats, or both. One of these is HR 1, the For the People Act, passed by the House. I’m all for it, but it won’t pass the Senate, and the Democrats need to pass something that will repudiate Republican attempts at voter suppression.
“Of all things, don’t throw me in the briar patch,” Brer Rabbit implores Brer Wolf, but Brer Wolf, wanting to do away with his nemesis, tosses him in the briar patch, from which Brer Rabbit, who was born and bred in the briar patch, emerges, laughing at the fox. The fox is Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats; Trump is the rabbit; and the briar patch is impeachment. Read More
The damage inflicted by the pandemic and recession is well known: hundreds of thousands dead, millions out of work. The psychological damage has also been noted: the increase in anxiety and depression disorders, a rise in childhood suicides. But the pandemic may have also contributed to the craziness of our politics. Read More
A lot of people, including me, were misled by opinion polls into thinking that Democrats would make out like bandits in this election the way they did in 2018. As the “blue wave” has receded, many Democrats have gone to the opposite extreme and pronounced that outside of getting rid of Trump, the election must be counted as a failure. My own view is that the Democrats did about as well as could be expected given the political divisions in the country. Read More