Punchbowl News: “Morning news TV anchors have an off-the-record briefing with President Joe Biden today at the White House. Biden will hold a press conference tomorrow to mark his first year in office.”
“We believe we’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack on Ukraine. I would say that’s more stark than we have been.”
— White House press secretary Jen Psaki, at her press briefing.
A new Data for Progress poll finds 67% of Americans are in support of banning lawmakers from trading stocks.
That figure jumped to 74% when voters were given reasons for and against a ban.
“The Texas Secretary of State’s office is having more trouble than usual getting enough voter registration cards to groups who help Texans register to vote,” KUT reports.
Said a spokesman: “We are limited in what we can supply this year, because of the paper shortage and the cost constraints due to the price of paper and the supply of paper.”
“A smartphone app that athletes and others attending next month’s Winter Games in Beijing must install has glaring security problems that could expose sensitive data to interception,” the AP reports.
“China is requiring all international Olympic attendees — including coaches and journalists — to download and start using the app 14 days before their departure.”
The White House is seeking to “reset” talks on its $1.75 trillion spending bill, aiming to salvage climate change measures but pare down or cut items like the child tax credit and paid family leave to appeal to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as soon as this week, Reuters reports.
Manchin abruptly halted talks on the spending package before Christmas, citing his concerns over inflation, deficit spending and what he called an attempt to “reshape our society.”
A life-size cutout of former President Trump reportedly greeted Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) when he entered his office on his first day of work — one of several pranks left by former Gov. Ralph Northam (D), the Washington Post reports.
Northam also left a blue fleece hanging up in the closet with the embroidered message: “Top State for Business.”
Two more House Democrats — Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) — announced that they will not run for re-election.
There are now 28 House Democrats who have decided not to run again.
Politico: “At this point in the 2018 cycle, 31 House Republicans had announced their retirement plans. Most of the Democrats heading for the exits hold seats that should be retainable for the party, as is the case with both of these.”
Meanwhile, the federal website to request free Covid tests by postal delivery was launched a day early.
Philip Bump: “A central ideological difference between America’s political left and political right is support for government intervention. That holds within the Democratic caucus as well; moderates like Sinema and Manchin are ideologically less supportive of spending than, say, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Despite predictions that the Democratic caucus in the House would be held hostage by the whims of its left-wing, it was the moderate right that tripped up progress on Biden’s agenda last year.”
“A Republican president can shrug at a policy agenda, particularly in a world where culture-war fights have so much focus. For a Democrat, being pushed to leverage governmental power, the playing field is different. And, particularly at the moment, it’s a playing field that advantages inaction over action.”
Political Wire classified ads work well for books, podcasts, newsletters, websites — or really any product intended for a smart and relatively affluent audience.
“Taliban fighters confronted female protesters and doused them with pepper spray as they marched through Kabul demanding rights to work and education,” the Times of London reports.
“Dozens of women took to the streets yesterday with banners and posters against forced wearing of the hijab, harassment by the Taliban and the requirement of needing a male relative chaperone, or mahram, to be able to go out in public.”
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“I don’t regret it for a second.”
— Alexei Navalny, quoted by Deutsche Welle, of his decision to return to Russia a year ago, only to be arrested.
For members: The latest issue of Ballot Access News.
This edition includes news on the nation’s most restrictive ballot access law, which was recently upheld by the federal courts even though it hasn’t been used in the last 58 years.
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Jonathan Bernstein: “The most important thing to remember is that while presidents are surely the single most important players in the U.S. political system, that’s all they are — single players. Even the most successful and influential presidents have limits on what they can do to influence Congress, their party, the courts, the bureaucracy, interest groups, state and local governments, private businesses, foreign governments and more. Evaluations that ignore the context that presidents work in, including the constraints they face, are useless…”
“A second caution is to be sure that any evaluation is clear about the differences between the president, the presidency and the larger political system. Former President Donald Trump was an extreme case of a leader who often received credit or blame for actions taken by executive branch actors that he had little or nothing to do with.”
The Economist: “What better way to chase one humiliating setback and waste of political capital than with another? That seems to be the outcome of President Joe Biden’s latest political strategy as he smarts from the failure of his signature climate-change and social-policy bill last month. In the new year, the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress have pivoted to campaigning for a voting-rights package which stands no chance of passing.”
“As a matter of politics, it might seem underwhelming. But at the level of policy, too, the legislation, which Democrats describe as essential to prevent democratic catastrophe, is not narrowly tailored to meet the actual threats to the republic.”
“Former Attorney General William Barr has a memoir coming out March 8 titled One Damn Thing After Another, and billed by his publisher as a ‘vivid and forthright book’ of his time serving two ‘drastically different’ presidents, Donald Trump and George H.W. Bush,” the AP reports.
“The title of the long-rumored book refers to an expression Barr had heard about the nature of the job of attorney general.”
☑️ Life in the Middle: Marginalized Moderate Senators In the Era of Polarization is available on Amazon. It takes a deep dive into the power of moderates and why we see them behave so precariously.