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This summer has been a gift for news junkies.
In the U.S., a surprise ruling on abortion has stirred things up, while Boris Johnson’s government has collapsed in Britain. The ongoing war in Ukraine is continuing to aggravate the market chaos that COVID began, and as a result, all of us are dealing with maddening inflation.
And now President Biden, facing record-low approval numbers, has COVID.
With all that as backdrop, here are some small stories within the bigger ones that we think will unlock your understanding of this nutty and wonderful country.
JOE BIDEN HAS COVID
The inevitable has finally happened – the President has COVID. And while we wish Joe Biden a speedy recovery, we do predict that this will be an inflection point in government policy.
Every administration talks about “the Bubble” of Secret Service protection that presidents have to live under, and how it physically severs their connection with reality.
One such reality is COVID. Most Americans have been comfortably balancing their pandemic risks for more than a year — since about when the vaccines became widely available.
But according to press reports, the Biden White House still operates under a strict COVID regime, including N95 masks, regular testing, and mandatory PCRs for anyone seeing the President.
We don’t mean to criticize the White House for insulating Biden. Things are different when you’re the president and extra precautions are due.
But it’s not hard to believe that these strictures have warped Biden and his staff’s impression of how the rest of the Nation should operate. Inside the White House Bubble, COVID fear has been at the center of every encounter; while outside the Bubble, most of us have long-since moved on.
What’s next? Presumably, President Biden will recover from his illness quickly and recognize that the beast’s bark is much stronger than its bite. That means easing-up international travel guidelines, mask mandates in government buildings, and resuming public services at full steam.
What do you think?
BREAKING DAMS BE DAMNED
Joe Biden might finally get to one-up his former boss, Barack Obama.
This week, in response to Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the House passed a bill to codify gay marriage. 47 Republicans joined in support.
Now, eyes turn to the Senate. Will they approve the bill and send it to Joe Biden’s desk for signature?
We’ve got a lot more on this below – and we happen to think it’s a shoe-in to pass – but when it does, who gets the win, Joe Biden or Barack Obama?
For whatever reason, President Obama has received historic credit for legalizing gay marriage, even though his only contribution was occupying the Oval Office when the Roberts Court ruled.
This is a big deal to Obama boosters, because today’s fraught world is part of his legacy. Delivering on Marriage Equality is a comparative bright spot.
So when Joe Biden signs an actual marriage equality statute, how will history remember him? More importantly, how will it remember Obama?
WHO COMES UP WITH THESE IDEAS?
Healthy, well-adjusted people don’t watch CSPAN. But if you were tuned-in last week during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about abortion, you saw one of the year’s best sign-of-the-times moments.
In it, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) took a witness, Prof. Khiarra Bridges, to task over why she refused to call women “women” and favored the term, “persons with the capacity for pregnancy” instead.
Her answer: “There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy as well as nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy.”
And then she went on to say that disagreeing with her was an act of “violence.”
Okay, so there is some twisted logic that supports her claim that men can get pregnant. And twisted beliefs aren’t foreign to Sen. Hawley, who was himself instrumental in Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
The story here isn’t that a crank testified before the Senate — that happens all the time. The story is that the Democratic Party’s Leadership handpicked this specific crank.
Remember, the Judiciary Committee is chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two Democrat in the Senate. He could have put anyone in Bridges’ seat. There were likely dozens of high-profile think tanks and health care interests that wanted to get their expert on the stand for Durbin’s hearing – and he chose her instead.
This is demonstrative of the big problem for Democrats: they’re talking to themselves.
On an issue where there is a clear public preference for their position (pro-choice), the spokesman (ahem, spokesperson) they chose went with the “women are made up” argument.
That’s what high-ranking Democrats think is persuasive. That’s what they think the public wants to hear. Talk about out of touch.
Knowing this, it’s little surprise that President Biden and the Democratic Party are bracing for a big defeat in November.
Their only hope? That in many states, they face knuckleheads like Josh Hawley who are more interested in parroting Trump’s lies than presenting a counter-argument to the absurdity of people like Prof. Khiara Bridges.