The pandemic is the main crisis that President Joe Biden was hired to fix, and it remains the single most important issue determining his political future. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo
FREUDIAN SIC — From a transcript of Speaker NANCY PELOSI’s remarks Tuesday afternoon on the House floor released by her office: “This legislation will be the biggest and perhaps most [consequential] initiative that any of us have ever undertaken in our official lives.”
What Pelosi actually said: “This legislation will be the biggest and perhaps most controversial initiative that any of us have ever undertaken in our official lives.”
Happy Friday — what a week, huh? [Editor’s note: It’s Wednesday.] Ugh.
Former CIA analyst MARTIN GURRI has written that “the highest calling of true elites is to translate the flux of reality into a coherent story.” Sadly for the elites, Gurri insists in “The Revolt of the Public” that it’s no longer possible for a single narrative to take root. It is, in his view, the main casualty of the social media-fueled populist revolts that define the times.
Still, we try our best around here to sift through the competing narratives each day and present our dear readers with a coherent story. But this is one of those weeks in American politics when it’s best to lay out some possibilities, especially across the three great challenges that President JOE BIDEN is facing right now.
— Where things stand: Biden is aiming to stick to the Aug. 31 deadline to end the Afghanistan evacuation, but is ordering a contingency plan, as WaPo’s Sean Sullivan, Anne Gearan, Dan Lamothe and John Hudson report. That stance “did little to quell the frustration of the president’s adversaries and allies, at home and abroad, about his handling of the withdrawal,” they write. (Among those frustrated allies: several G-7 leaders, per the AP.)
— The MSM: The view in the dominant media, where highbrow foreign policy coverage is deeply influenced by the so-called Blob’s view of the world, is that Biden’s evacuation is an unmitigated disaster, that his every statement is at odds with the reality on the ground and that the botched pullout will have long-term political damage in 2022 and 2024.
— The White House: The administration’s view is that the media narrative is several days behind actual events on the ground. In voter judgments about foreign policy, “no American deaths” equals “no political price to pay.” So nothing is more important than wrapping up the operation before Aug. 31 and removing a fat target — thousands of American troops — for terrorists to hit.
More: “White House to media: We want our props on Afghanistan,” by Natasha Korecki: “The president and his team have taken it on the chin for the past week. Now, amid a massive evacuation effort, they want kudos too.”
— Our read: It’s true that until about Tuesday, there was a noticeable gap in coverage between the pace of evacuations at the airport in Kabul and the hair-on-fire headlines — in fact, 10 days, no U.S. casualties and 70,000 people evacuated is an impressive logistical feat. On the other hand, as the reporting of the “Afghanistan papers” revealed, Americans have been lied to about almost every aspect of the U.S. intervention for 20 years, so we can forgive the media for some skepticism about the official story here at the end.
2) The pandemic
— Where things stand: This week, the FDA gave full authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and a cascade of vaccination mandates have followed from employers. That builds on an increased interest in the vaccine as the Delta variant spreads: “The daily number of people getting their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine has risen by more than 70 percent since mid-July,” the WaPo reports. But the Delta variant is also leading to a surge of new Covid cases among younger Americans — especially as schools reopen — and that, in turn, has spurred the return of public health restrictions, including, most notably, mask mandates.
— The MSM: Biden heightened expectations about how he was on the cusp of breaking the back of the pandemic, only to be chastened by its summer return. The public is now confused and depressed, and Biden has struggled to communicate a clear new path to a post-Covid future.
— The White House: The single most important event of recent days was the FDA’s formal approval of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, which is already creating a stampede of previously hesitant large institutions to mandate vaccinations for their employees. The path is the same as always: vax or bust.
— Our read: This is the main crisis that Biden was hired to fix, and it remains the single most important issue determining his political future, even if other crises regularly push it from the headlines.
Internet regulations are as outdated as dial-up.
The internet has changed a lot in the last 25 years. That’s why Facebook supports updated internet regulations to address today’s toughest challenges, including:
– Combating foreign election interference
– Protecting people’s privacy
– Allowing people to safely transfer data between services
– Reforming Section 230
3) Build Back Better
— Where things stand: On Tuesday, Pelosi struck a deal with the “Mod Squad” of centrist Democrats who were demanding a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before they’d support the reconciliation package.
For a great read on the backstory, don’t miss Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle’s “Anatomy of a power play: How 9 House Dems cut their deal with Pelosi.”
One eyebrow-raising detail: Rep. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-Fla.) had quietly agreed with the Mod Squad and was working behind the scenes to avoid a meltdown within the party — only to feel that the proposals she’d sent the White House and Democratic leadership were ignored. She came out with her criticisms in an op-ed Monday — which she began writing “shortly after a tense call from President Joe Biden himself on Sunday night.”
— The MSM: Democrats in disarray!
— The House moderates: Forget about how Pelosi agreed to a Sept. 27 deadline to pass BIF; the real win was our side agreement with the speaker promising that any House-passed reconciliation bill has to be written to pass the Senate. In other words: we just turned over the entire House process to Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.).
— The House progressives: Nothing has changed. We will still bail on BIF if Rep. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-N.J.) and his buddies force a vote before the reconciliation bill is passed.
— The White House: Every Democrat in the House and Senate has now voted to support Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget outline. Another hurdle was cleared on the path to getting the infrastructure bill signed. In the long run, nobody will remember Tuesday’s drama or Gottheimer’s name. The really fraught negotiations between progressives and moderates are still to come.
— Our read: Late September is gonna be lit, when the debt ceiling, a bill to keep the government funded, the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill all collide.
Good Wednesday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.
— 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief.
— 10 a.m.: Biden will meet with his national security team on Afghanistan.
— 2 p.m.: Biden will meet with members of his Cabinet and national security team on cybersecurity.
— 4:30 p.m.: Biden will sign into law the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act.
— 5 p.m.: Biden will sign into law the Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act.
Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 1 p.m.
THE HOUSE is out. Pelosi will hold her weekly press conference at 9 a.m. House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY will hold his at 11:30 a.m.
THE SENATE is out.
PHOTO OF THE DAY: At the Ramstein U.S. Air Base in Germany, children recently evacuated from Afghanistan play with a soldier on Tuesday. | Matthias Schrader/AP Photo
THE TALLY — CNN’s Natasha Bertrand tweeted Tuesday evening that the U.S. has “overseen evacuation of more than 70,000 people (!) from Afghanistan since August 14, ten days ago.”
— BUT, BUT, BUT … “How Many People in Afghanistan Need to be Rescued? The Number Remains Elusive,” by NYT’s Lara Jake
MORE TOP HEADLINES — “Afghanistan’s Falling Man: The 17-Year-Old Soccer Star Who Plunged From a U.S. Military Jet,” WSJ … “A Taliban spokesman urged women to stay home because fighters have not been trained to respect them,” NYT
HOT WATER — “Moulton, Meijer travel to Afghanistan sparks Pelosi warning,” by Nicholas Wu, Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle: “Pelosi on Tuesday warned lawmakers not to ‘unnecessarily divert’ U.S. resources by traveling to Afghanistan after a pair of lawmakers — who both previously served tours in the Middle East — traveled to the Taliban-controlled nation. The two lawmakers are Reps. SETH MOULTON (D-Mass.) and PETER MEIJER (R-Mich.) … Neither lawmaker’s office responded to a request for comment about the trip.”
— WaPo’s @John_Hudson: “It CANNOT be overstated how angry Pentagon & State Dept officials are at Rep. Moulton & Rep. Peter Meijer for flying to Afghanistan in the middle of an evacuation. ‘It’s as moronic as it is selfish. They’re taking seats away from Americans,’ official says.”
— Rep. SARA JACOBS (D-Calif.): “Whether it is Haiti or Afghanistan, taking up space in a disaster zone for your own ego helps no one.”
— Meijer and Moulton, in a joint statement: “We came into this visit wanting, like most veterans, to push the president to extend the August 31st deadline. After talking with commanders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is obvious that because we started the evacuation so late, that no matter what we do, we won’t get everyone out on time, even by September 11.” Full statement … More from Moulton on Twitter
SET TO STALL — “House passes John Lewis voting rights bill that’s set to stall in Senate,” by Nicholas Wu: “The House on Tuesday passed voting rights legislation named for the late Rep. JOHN LEWIS (D-Ga.), a party-line vote that underscores the bill’s nearly impassable upward climb in the Senate.
“It is unlikely to advance further in the Senate, where the legislative filibuster remains intact despite a progressive push for changes that would weaken the chamber’s supermajority requirement to pass most bills. Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL has cast doubt on the need for the proposal, arguing that the Supreme Court only eliminated the preclearance formula determining which jurisdictions needed federal approval to make substantive changes to voting laws — not the voting rights protections themselves.”
STATISTIC OF THE DAY — “More than 1 of every 100 school-aged children has tested positive for Covid-19 in the past two weeks in Georgia.” The full story from AP’s Jeff Amy
MISSING THEIR SHOT — “N.R.A. cancels its annual meeting because of a surge in cases in Texas,” NYT
AMERICA AND THE WORLD
NAFTALI PREVIEWS BIDEN MEETING — “New Israeli Leader Backs Hard Line on Iran but Softer Tone With U.S.,” by NYT’s Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner: “Prime Minister NAFTALI BENNETT, speaking days before his first meeting with President Biden as Israel’s new leader, said he would oppose American-led attempts to reinstate a lapsed nuclear agreement with Iran and continue Israel’s covert attacks on Iran’s nuclear program. … [H]e also said he would expand West Bank settlements that Mr. Biden opposes, declined to back American plans to reopen a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem and ruled out reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians under his watch.”
SORRY, MITCH — “Herschel Walker is running for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein: “Former University of Georgia football star HERSCHEL WALKER launched a campaign Tuesday for the U.S. Senate with former President DONALD TRUMP’s support, bringing both his celebrity and his untested political background … against Democratic U.S. Sen. RAPHAEL WARNOCK in next year’s race …
“[A] formal announcement is expected within days. He filed paperwork Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission establishing his candidacy, a move that came shortly after he registered to vote in Georgia.”
THE BUZZ IN HIPSTER COFFEE SHOPS — “FCC looks to fine conservative activists $5 million for false mail voting robocalls,” by NBC’s Jane Timm: “The FCC proposed a $5.1 million fine against conservative activists JACOB WOHL and JOHN BURKMAN and J.M. Burkman & Associates for making 1,141 unlawful robocalls that made false claims about mail voting … This is the largest robocall fine ever proposed by the FCC.”
RECALL ME MAYBE — “Gavin Newsom’s grassroots work against recall showing success — but it’s still early,” by the S.F. Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli: “Of the more than nearly 1.1 million mail-in ballots that have been returned, 56% have been returned by Democrats, according to Political Data, a California firm that provides voter information to campaigns and pollsters in both parties. The firm found that 22% of the ballots have been returned by Republicans. … Those votes represent only 5% of the 22 million ballots that have been mailed to every California voter.”
— “Gavin Newsom’s Recall Election Divides Silicon Valley’s Elite,” by Wired’s Arielle Pardes … Featuring appearances from MARISSA MAYER, ERIC SCHMIDT, REED HASTINGS, LARRY ELLISON, CHAMATH PALIHAPITIYA, DOUG LEONE and BOB PARSONS
2022 WATCH — “How screwed is Adam Kinzinger?” by Ally Mutnick: “Illinois lawmakers are on the verge of rolling out a new congressional map that will very likely gut [Rep. ADAM] KINZINGER’s exurban Chicago seat, according to several sources close to the redistricting process, leaving him with just a few bleak options for remaining in office next year.
“The elimination of his district would force the veteran Republican congressman to choose between running in unfamiliar territory, possibly against another incumbent, or making a long shot run for governor or Senate in a blue state — and that assumes Kinzinger could prevail in a GOP primary after spending the last year criticizing a former president who remains beloved by the base.”
HOCHUL SAYS HELLO — “Interview With Kathy Hochul: ‘I Feel a Heavy Weight of Responsibility,’” by NYT’s Katie Glueck and Luis Ferré-Sadurní in Albany: “Do you plan to use your influence to help Democrats expand the House majority through the redistricting process?” New York Gov. KATHY HOCHUL: “Yes. I am also the leader of the New York State Democratic Party. I embrace that. … Today, I’m a Biden Democrat.”
‘REMAIN IN MEXICO’ REMAINS IN WASHINGTON — “Supreme Court orders Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy reinstated,” by Josh Gerstein: “The Supreme Court has issued an order effectively forcing the Biden administration to restore the Trump administration’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, which requires many asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while they await hearings on their requests for safe haven in the U.S.
“The high court’s order, issued on Tuesday evening over the dissent of the court’s three Democratic appointees, rejected the Justice Department’s request for a stay that would have allowed the controversial policy to remain on ice while litigation over President Joe Biden’s effort to rescind it continues.” DHS’ response
JAN. 6 AND ITS AFTERMATH
DRIP, DRIP, DRIP — “Secret Service warned Capitol Police about violent threats 1 day before Jan. 6,” by Betsy Woodruff Swan and Nicholas Wu: “Just a day before the Jan. 6 riot, the Secret Service warned the U.S. Capitol Police that their officers could face violence at the hands of supporters of former President Donald Trump, according to new documents reviewed by POLITICO. The Secret Service’s emails shed light on intelligence lapses by the Capitol Police previously highlighted by both the department’s inspector general and a bipartisan report by Senate committees. …
“The Capitol Police have argued that while many threats like the ones described in the Secret Service warnings circulated in the days before the attack, no intelligence suggested a large-scale assault on the level seen on Jan. 6.”
— “Report details mishandling of police emergency system on 1/6,” by AP’s Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo: “[An inspector general’s] report found that most of the emergency activations from individual officers’ radios were never simulcast on police radio, a standard protocol designed to spread the word to other officers about emergencies and crises. The on-duty watch commander appears not to have been made aware of at least some of the system activations, the report said.”
CHANGING THE CHANNEL — “‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ is coming to an end. So who will replace her?” by CNN’s Brian Stelter: “The weeknight edition of ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ will come to an end sometime next year, according to multiple sources with knowledge of [RACHEL MADDOW’s] new contract with MSNBC’s parent company, NBCUniversal. … In addition, 11 p.m. newsman BRIAN WILLIAMS may be leaving his program, ‘The 11th Hour.’ …
“When the time comes, Maddow will start to host specials for MSNBC; one of the sources described it as a weekly format while another pegged the number of specials at around 35 a year. … Who could retain most if not at all of Maddow’s famously loyal audience? The list would start with the people who fill in for Maddow: NICOLLE WALLACE, ALI VELSHI and ARI MELBER.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — The Coalition to Protect American Workers, a 501(c)(4) led by former Trump and Pence aide Marc Short, is launching a six-figure TV ad buy targeting two moderate Democrats who voted in favor of the budget: Reps. Cindy Axne (Iowa) and Jared Golden (Maine). The spots will go up starting today.
This comes on the heels of a successful pressure campaign against Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran during the BIF debate, in which the conservative group ran ads demanding that he “stop Biden’s radical plan” to increase IRS enforcement as a pay-for. “The laid-back senator came back from a recess and complained about the beefed-up IRS provisions in the bill,” POLITICO reported earlier this month, and they were removed. The new ad targeting Axne … The spot against Golden
— The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School is announcing its fall resident fellows: Ashley Allison, Sara Gideon, Holly Kuzmich, Arnon Mishkin, Trymaine Lee and former Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).
— Ryan Brooks is now deputy politics editor for BuzzFeed News. He previously was a politics reporter.
SPOTTED: Arnold Schwarzenegger at the OG Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach, wearing a camouflage hat, compression socks and a T-shirt with American flags on it, overheard complaining about people who refuse to wear masks and saying, “F— you and your freedom.”
MEDIA MOVE — Arlene Getz is now editorial director at the Committee to Protect Journalists. She previously was an opinion editor at CNN, and is a Reuters and Newsweek alum. The announcement
TRUMP ALUMNI — Chuck Cunningham is now working on policy and legislation focusing on Southeastern states for Hunter Nation. He previously was special adviser in the office of congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the Energy Department, and is an NRA alum.
TRANSITIONS — Becky Dickson is now a graphic designer for the Center for Reproductive Rights. She previously was senior designer for the DLCC and Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, and is an EMILY’s List alum. … Danelle Kosmal is now VP of research at the Beer Institute. She most recently was VP of NielsenIQ’s Beverage Alcohol Practice.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Evan Viau, a professional staff member for the House Energy and Commerce GOP, and Laine Hamilton, senior analyst for digital marketing at Nestlé USA, got married Friday at St. Mary’s Episcopal in Arlington. Friends and family celebrated after at Washington Golf and Country Club. Pic … Another pic
— Sean Kelly, press secretary for the House Energy and Commerce GOP, and Laney Umland, program associate for education and workforce development at Results for America, got married Sunday in Maple Valley, Wash. The wedding was officiated by Sean’s longtime friend from home. The couple met while attending Western Washington University. Pic … Another pic
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) … Elsa Walsh … Tom Squitieri … DHS’ Sarah Peck … Zach Cikanek of Plus Communications … Leigh Claffey of Growth Energy and Claffey Communications … Sara Sendek … Axios’ Neal Rothschild … HUD’s Mike Burns … Jeff Choudhry … Chris Hooton of the Internet Association … POLITICO’s Gary Fineout and Steph Albrecht … POLITICO Europe’s Christian Oliver … D.C. Council’s Amanda Farnan … State Department’s Ashley Inman … Dave Hoppe (7-0) … Chris Kaumo of the House Natural Resources Committee … PwC’s Michael O’Brien … Daniel Barash of SKDKnickerbocker … NBC’s Monica Alba … Mary Monica Allen … Jamie Jackson … Rob Groulx … Debbie Matz … Dan Stein … former Reps. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), John Faso (R-N.Y.) and Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) … Jack Coogan … W2O Group’s Antoinette Forbes … Allison Davis O’Keefe … Beth Burke … Chevron’s Michael Wery Garcia (4-0) … Michael Cohen … former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal
Send Playbookers tips to [email protected]. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike Zapler, deputy editor Zack Stanton and producers Allie Bice, Eli Okun and Garrett Ross.
Why Facebook supports the DETER Act
In the last 25 years, the internet has created widespread opportunities for communication around elections—and even more challenges. Yet it’s been just as long since comprehensive internet regulations were passed.
That’s why we support updating internet regulations, like passing the DETER Act, to help protect election integrity.
But Facebook is not waiting around. Since 2016, we’ve tripled the size of our teams working on safety and security to include more than 35,000 people. We’ve taken steps to reduce the spread of misinformation and provide more transparency and control around political ads.
Learn more about our progress and why we support updated internet regulations next.
Google News Source * www.politico.com – * Source link
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