For those that have read my 'daily thought', you'll be pleased to know that this is not a whole blog post about Jen Psaki! Having said that.......no, no, I can't. Let's move on. It would appear that Mitch McConnell has decided at long last, to take a position on the lunatic element in congress. I had to smile though, that he could not bring himself to mention Marjorie Taylor Greene by name. He called her “loony lies and conspiracy theories” a “cancer for the Republican Party.” He went on to say, “Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality.” You don't say Mitch! Might I suggest you have an issue with candidate selection? Perhaps the requirement should be a little more than a pulse and a big donation?
Republicans remain in 'let's move on, nothing to see here' mode, but back in the real world, the damage caused by their actions is far reaching and disturbing. I have no intention of spending time on the maniac element of House Republicans, other than to say, Kevin McCarthy really has no moral alternative but to ask Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign, or at the very least, strip her of ALL committee assignments. I don't know why I'm even wasting my time saying this, because she's Trump's pet lunatic. However, McCarthy seems nervous and she's already issuing her own warnings, with the support of Trump. To be honest, who cares about her warnings? Certainly not me, it's just vital to silence this malignant growth and isolate it, so it can't do any further damage. My heart goes out to all the victims of the senseless mass shootings that have blighted America. I can't begin to imagine the pain and suffering endured daily, by the loved ones of so many young children lost to these pointless acts. It's unimaginable and they are especially in my thoughts today.
The GOP have invested a lot of negative messaging on demonising Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the so called 'Squad'. Painting her and colleagues as a radical left socialist on a good day, has been GOP sporting entertainment.
Anyone who has followed me knows, I am a huge fan of not only her, but the values she stands for, her unrelenting direct voter engagement and her dedication towards creating a just and equitable society. If I have one wish, it would be that before I die, I am able to call her Madame President, that's how impressed I am and take it from me, I am not easily impressed by politicians. To say I was disturbed by this emotional account would be an understatement, but it is a shining example of how strong outspoken women who advocate fearlessly in support of their values, become targets of hate and intimidation, often from men who should know better. I feel the clip says everything and there is little I can add, other than my heartfelt sorrow for what she has had to endure. So I say to Republicans, how dare you flippantly suggest we 'move on' without those complicit in this day of terror being held to account? Let's not forget, that sitting members of the US Senate and Congress actively supported this action that led to the hunting down of lawmakers and the death of 5 people on the day. The GOP's deafening silence on the death of Brian Sicknick, was a chilling response from the party of law and order.
The picture above is Joe Biden's contribution to bipartisan negotiations. The press were herded in, not for questions, but to capture Joe saying 'I want a discussion' and to grab images that he can use to say, 'What more do you want? I sat down and I listened to what they had to say, I agreed that further discussions could take place to help refine my thoughts. It was very useful, BUT we are going big. Republicans take a win from it, as Susan Collins beamed in her statement following the meeting. She and her colleagues know that Biden will not reduce the package by two thirds, but they consider it a win if the relief is more targeted and other measures are trimmed. Where they and I differ, is that whilst we both feel that better targeting is essential, I believe that the savings of the targeting could be used to beef up relief provided to those who are on the edge of losing everything through no fault of their own.
It's interesting that today, noises are coming out of the White House, that better targeting of the relief is something they will actively pursue. It is a stroke of political genius. Has anybody spotted it yet? I'll pop and get a cuppa, while you give it some thought ........................................... I love tea, it helps me think more clearly. So Biden throws out a $1.9 relief package with the intent of going big, primarily to get checks into the hands of hard working Americans. Tragically, some families are in an ocean of pain and despair, while sharks surround them. Now for the Biden chess gambit. Republicans walk into a well greased trap, sit down, have coffee, biscuits and a piece of cake and say 'Mr President $1.9 trillion is really too much sir. You are giving relief to families that really don't need it.' Joe, cordially responds in his quest for bipartisan agreement, they might be right and that he'll give it more thought. He then thanks them for stopping by, asking them to be sure to tell the press outside, that he was nice and listened to what they had to say.
Once Susan and chums were in the distance, Joe and Kamala did a socially distanced little celebration dance. You're just itching for the punchline aren't you? Go on, admit it. So, Joe strips out checks for families that earn above $130,000 and he calls that the price for bipartisan agreement, saying it was Republicans that wanted this measure. This means Republicans provide cover for the move. If he's really smart, he then uses some of the money saved to give $2000 (not $1400 as advertised) checks to those who were promised it during the Georgia Senate runoff campaign. He'd still have money to spare. Next step is to look at State funding and make sure that States are only reimbursed for Covid mitigation costs. I realise that this is much more of a grey line, as States get creative with their definition of mitigation expenses, but it sill should yield some savings. There is no reason not to look later at other federal funding shortfalls beyond the scope of Covid. It's clear there are longstanding issues in this regard. The key to all this, is that any reductions in the top line can legitimately be laid at the feet of the GOP. A move as I have described, could meet no objection from progressives, as those at the bottom would get a 27% lift in their payments. You're welcome Mr President, if you need any more help, please let me know.
Given that Republicans are way out of step with Biden's $1.9 trillion, there is no real route to a bipartisan agreement. Pelosi and Schumer's preparations to use budget reconciliation is the right step, as this is time critical. I have every confidence that the administration will pass the package despite the bruised ego of Joe Manchin, as there is no way he will want to be on the wrong side of history.
Mitch McConnell has already resigned himself to the fact that the relief package will go through. He as his own worries as he prepares for the impeachment trial of Trump. The dilemma he faces, is that the lunatic element of the GOP is painting him as the Republican past. These people make Newt Gingrich look like an alter boy. I don't see a fight for the soul of the party going on, I just see the likes of Liz Chaney and Adam Kinzinger on the outside looking in as the party pledges allegiance to Trump. The impending impeachment trial will fire up the hard right base. The likes of Cruz and Hawley will have no option but to pledge allegiance to Trump, if they are eyeing a presidential run. Dems just need to stay focused and start bringing forward legislation, so that the Biden agenda can start moving America to safe ground.
I am comfortable where we are today. Joe continues to make use of Executive Orders and I have no particular issue with that, but at some point, the legislative engine is going to need to be fired up and then the real war of ideas will begin. This brings me back to Dem messaging. They must make effective use of the power of social media to create a blanket of foam to prepare the ground for a progressive leaning policy agenda. The secret is not to fear going big on policy just as they have on relief. The relief package should see the creation of an environment where the economy can be fired up as the population reaches herd immunity through vaccination.
The future is bright and the administration has a deep bench of talented legislators to help craft laws and programmes that will deliver a better tomorrow for Americans. Of course there are dangers ahead as the Republicans get their act together following the impeachment trial. However, until then, it's steady as she goes.
Thanks for stopping by and stay safe out there.