Negotiating

Ex-SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. had some thoughts on negotiating in his take on the relationship between the Biden-Harris White House and Congress. In one thought in particular, though, Levitt is badly…off.

Governance takes two. If a director opposed the CEO without proposing something better, he’d be ignored. In Washington, Republicans don’t seem interested in negotiating. … Republicans, you can oppose, but if you have an opportunity to shape policy, take it.

Levitt badly misunderstands. Progressive-Democrat Ocasio-Cortez openly hoped for Progressive-Democrat control of Senate explicitly so Party would not need to negotiate with Republicans.

Inadequate

Co-President Joe Biden-Kamala Harris are having trouble getting much of their political and (pseudo-)economic agenda passed. (Aside: failure isn’t a done deal; it would behoove the pundits on the right side of center to stop their crowing and predictions of landslide Republican elections in November.)

That’s not a failure of the agenda or of Biden-Harris or of Party managers in the House and Senate, though.

Not at all, insisted Paul Begala.

I think the problem for the Democrats right now is not that they have bad leaders. They have bad followers, okay?

And

Irrationality

The Harris half of Biden-Harris, Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has made an impressive claim. She said—and she was serious—that

legislators standing in the way of passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are failing to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution.

She added

I’m not going to absolve—nor should any of us—absolve any member of the United States Senate from taking on a responsibility to follow through on the oath that they all took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Clyburn Misleads

Congressman Jim Clyburn (D, SC), in an interview on Fox News Sunday, made the below claim in defense of his Progressive-Democratic Party’s Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which together are intended to take the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives of Federal elections away from the States and to entirely Federalize those election procedures. In citing Alexander Hamilton’s (as alleged by Clyburn) statements that elections “cannot” and “should not be left up to the states,” he made this claim:

Walensky Fails

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was asked on Bret Baier’s Fox News Sunday episode last Sunday,

Do you know how many of the 836,000 deaths in the U.S. linked to COVID are from COVID or how many are with COVID, but they had other comorbidities? Do you have that breakdown?

Walensky proceeded to weasel-word her answer and segued to the only talking point she could remember, that everyone must get vaccinated and boosted and get their children vaccinated, too, as soon as they’re eligible. Only toward the end of her off-topic response did she reveal her larger failure:

Congressman Jordan Demurs

Congressman Jim Jordan (R, OH) has declined Congressman and Chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Bennie Thompson’s (D, MS) “request” to appear before that J6 committee. His letter carrying his decision to Thompson laid the matter out in no uncertain terms.

Leaving aside Jordan’s notice that the J6 committee’s summons of Jordan (and of Congressman Scott Perry (R, PA), I add) is an assault (Jordan used “pry”) on a sitting Congressman’s deliberative process informing a Member about legislative matters before the House is an outrageous abuse of the Select Committee’s authority, he laid out a number of other reasons for his decision.

Weaponized Impeachment

Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) thinks there’s a chance a Republican-majority House of Representatives would, in 2023, impeach the President Joe Biden (D) half of the Biden-Harris Presidency. It’s hard to tell from his remarks whether Cruz advocates such a move, or whether he’s merely making a prediction, given the mood of many politicians.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R, NY) has a different priority, but she doesn’t go far enough.

Anything is on the table when we are in the majority. But what I believe we should focus on is conducting oversight and making sure that we’re passing legislation to secure the border once and for all.

Blame-shifting to Middlemen

Now Biden-Harris is throwing a billion dollars at the food supply chain problem, even as he’s blaming food supply chain middlemen for his supply problems.

This is just more blame-shifting by Biden-Harris.

Middlemen can, indeed, price gouge. So can end-sellers. So can original producers. However, in the vast main, middlemen drive prices lower: they insulate original producers from end sellers, giving those producers more flexibility in to whom to sell, the middlemen more choices to whom to sell, and they give end sellers more choices of from whom to buy. Competition among middlemen and on both sides of the middlemen drive prices down.

Military’s Attack on Religious Freedom

The US military is flatly refusing even to seriously consider members’ requests for religious accommodation requests regarding excusals from getting vaccinated against the Wuhan Virus. Members who apply are getting boiler plate denials of their requests. Every single one of them; no request has been granted to date.

The Chief of Staff for the USAF, for instance, is insisting that

vaccination is the least restrictive means of furthering the military’s compelling governmental interest.

The business is on appeal through the USAF (and Navy and Army) internal appeals processes; I strongly suspect members will wind up in Federal courts after the DoD appeals processes rubber stamp the service chiefs’ decisions to deny.

The Senate and the Republic

Senator Jeff Merkley (D, OR) has said the quiet part aloud (to coin a phrase). His immediate venue is the coming Progressive-Democrat effort to Federalize our nation’s elections, which by our Constitution are set by each State’s own legislatures and only modifiable under narrow circumstances by the Federal Congress.

You can think of January as a moment when two different forces are converging. One is the functionality of the Senate and the other is the functionality of our republic.