Happy New Year to all of our readers.
This week: Jan. 3, 2022, The Briefing, Volume X, Issue 1
- Democrats “wave the bloody shirt” for Jan. 6
- Biden’s quadruple crisis forces easing on COVID
- Rumors that Sen. Thune may retire
January 6 hysteria: As the New Year’s begins, Democrats are predictably making everything they possibly can out of last year’s January 6 Capitol riot. Like many in the liberal media, they insist on calling it an “insurrection,” and they are now planning to release their final report on the matter at a time as close to the election as possible. The New York Times published a hysterically toned editorial about how “every day is January 6 now.”
The truth? This modern-day attempt to wave of the bloody shirt is not terribly accurate, and it’s also not going to be as good an issue as they seem to think it is.
The Capitol riot was a lawless, violent, and unfortunate event, for which perpetrators are now being tried and sentenced. But it was not an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. It also was not an ongoing crisis for the country. In the time since the riot, the country has been going back to normal after COVID. Businesses are coming back to life. Elections have happened in several states without any violence. Something resembling ordinary life has returned to most parts of the country.
American democracy is not under threat. There are problems as usual, but the nation is not in a crisis. The loser of the 2020 election did not manage to make himself president for a second term by merely denying the outcome, the way many other politicians (Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams come to mind) deny outcomes when they lose. And thanks to Democrats’ failure to follow through with their plans to destroy the filibuster or pack the Supreme court, the nation isn’t facing a constitutional crisis, either.
Biden’s four main problems: Why are Democrats choosing this issue? They have precious little else to run on.
The beginning of 2022 is largely a happy one, unless you are Joe Biden. If you are, then you have some very big problems right now.
For one thing, your party is now trailing in most of the generic ballot polls between the two parties for congress, even among registered voters. Historically, even a tie in these polls among likely voters strongly favors Republicans.
Second, members of your own party are beginning to raise doubts that you can run for reelection. If Biden steps aside, there is no obvious winning choice for the party. If he faces a serious primary challenge from a credible opponent, he is put under an amount of pressure that has ruined other modern presidents (Jimmy Carter, George Bush), arguably causing them to lose in the general election.
Third, you are facing a crisis of governance. You are unable to pass your agenda into law, because too many people find it too extreme. The $5 trillion so-called Build Back Better bill faces majority opposition in the Senate, and there is no reasonable hope of passing anything more than a few of its minor provisions into law during an election year. Ambitious attempts to tilt the rules of elections in Democrats’ favor, abolish the filibuster, and pack the Supreme Court are just not going anywhere.
Fourth, if you’re Biden, you are facing several policy crises that are evidently way above your head. In this, he is probably helped by the fact that he isn’t able to pass his agenda. Right now, rampant inflation, high oil prices, an immigration crisis he created for himself, and the Afghanistan withdrawal are all far more than his administration is able to handle, based on its performance so far. The last thing he needs now is Vladimir Putin breathing down his neck, threatening to invade Ukraine. In short, it appears that Biden’s administration is filled with ideologues who lack competence.
It is in this context that Biden’s administration is finally starting to let up on some of the ridiculous and unnecessary COVID restrictions that it has insisted upon to date. Biden’s acknowledgment that there is no federal solution to COVID may contradict everything he said during the 2020 election, no choice. The restrictions are deeply unpopular in most of the country. People are starting to see through these onerous and ultimately futile restrictions as a new, more virulent, yet less lethal variant of the coronavirus races through the population, infecting everyone.
The reduction of the quarantine period for emergency workers to five days from ten days is a welcome change, but in reality, most Americans have already started treating COVID like it’s the common cold. They no longer wear masks or go out of their way to avoid being close to other people, and they just aren’t interested in going back to restrictions of any kind. That goes for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. The voices in the administration attempting to ratchet rules back up, such as Anthony Fauci, will probably be ignored for that reason, regardless of how bad the current outbreak gets.
South Dakota: the local media has been hinting since before Christmas that Sen. John Thune might retire. In that case, Democrats’ strongest candidate would be Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, who served as the state’s at-large congresswoman from 2004 to 2011. But as in several other Red states that used to vote for Democrats — Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota — the electorate has likely changed to the point that it would be much more difficult for her to win another race today. This is not Tom Daschle’s South Dakota anymore.
On the Republican side, Gov. Kristi Noem seems to be more interested in running for president, but that could change if former President Trump gets involved. Another possibility would be the current Republican congressman, Dusty Johnson.