Dan Balz: “It may be time to revisit the old axiom from Tip O’Neill, the former Democratic House speaker from Massachusetts, who famously said that all politics are local. These days, as the California recall election showed, most politics are national.”
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Wall Street Journal: “While many Afghans watch anxiously to see how harshly the Islamist movement will govern the country, the Taliban’s opponents and supporters alike agree that the most pressing challenge right now is a severe economic crisis that threatens to unspool whatever gains remain of 20 years of U.S.-funded nation-building.”
“How to deal with this crisis poses a pressing dilemma for the international community. Refusing to release Afghan assets and withholding direct aid could push millions into acute poverty, potentially triggering an exodus of refugees to Europe.”
Outspoken anti vaxxer and former Florida congressional candidate Laura Loomer (R) is feeling the effects of Covid-19, the Miami Herald reports.
Said Loomer, on her Telegram channel: “Just pray for me, please. Can’t even begin to explain how brutal the body aches and nausea that come with Covid are. I am in so much pain.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) says that more than half of the 96-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, which she chairs, has “privately indicated they’re willing to block the bipartisan Senate bill,” Politico reports.
Playbook: “Not everyone believes this threat. We’ve talked to several centrist Democrats this week who scoffed at the notion that progressives would actually tank a Biden win at a time the White House desperately needs one. These types argue that it’s one thing to tell Jayapal you agree with her stance that one bill should not pass without the other, but a totally different situation when Biden and Pelosi are whipping you and you have to take a public vote.”
“FWIW, Democratic leaders seem to be taking this threat seriously.”
Politico reports “21 former House Democrats who lost their seats in 2010 amid GOP attacks over their support for the Affordable Care Act are asking President Joe Biden to use reconciliation to shore up the legislation that ended their careers.”
“The letter comes as the White House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are working feverishly through the weekend to iron out disagreements over the reconciliation package. As we reported a few days ago, chief among those disagreements is a big decision on health care: whether to make the ACA’s enhanced subsidies permanent (which is what Pelosi wants), or to instead put that limited pot of cash into a Medicare expansion (which is what Biden, Schumer and Bernie Sanders want).”
Former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer told the New York Times that the media treats Biden press secretary Jen Psaki much better.
Said Spicer: “I walked into the lion’s den. She walks into a bunch of kittens.”
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) expressed frustration with his state’s vaccination rate, warning constituents that people are either going to get inoculated against COVID-19, or “we’re going to keep lining the body bags,” The Hill reports.
Said Justice: “And they’ll keep dying. That’s all there is to it.”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s nephew celebrated his bar mitzvah last weekend and many attendees caught Covid-19, forcing a New Jersey middle school to shut down and return to virtual classes, the New York Post reports.
“Could Trump work his will again? Were there any limits to what he and his supporters might do to put him back in power? Peril remains.”
— Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, in the final sentence of their new book, Peril.
Sarah Palin told Fox News that she’s not received the Covid-19 vaccine because she believes “in the science.”
Said Palin: “I am one of those white, common sense conservatives. I believe in science and I have not taken the shot.”
She added that she has natural immunity from contracting the disease earlier this year.
New York Post: “President Biden left the White House before noon Friday for a long weekend at his beach house and kept out of sight as the FDA rejected his push for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, the Pentagon admitted it killed Afghan civilians and France recalled its ambassador.”
“Few presidents have taken more public pleasure in seeing one of their party’s own leave office than Donald Trump in his reaction to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s announcement that he would not seek reelection,” Politico reports.
Gloated Trump: “1 down, 9 to go!”
“The Ohio Republican’s departure was, of course, a victory for Trump, and the first victim in his post-election crusade against the 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach him.”
A new Washington Post-Schar School poll in Virginia finds Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R) locked in a tight race for Virginia governor, with McAuliffe just ahead at 50% to 47% among likely voters.
Among registered voters, McAuliffe has a 49% to 43% edge over Youngkin — but neither lead is statistically significant.
“The smaller margin among people likely to vote, combined with a low percentage of voters who say they plan to vote early, suggests that Democrats could face an enthusiasm gap and a challenge boosting turnout to the high levels of the past four years.”
CNN: “A voting app created by allies of prominent Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was removed from Google and Apple’s online stores in Russia just as polls opened for parliamentary elections, according to a series of tweets from Navalny’s team on Friday.”
Times of London: “Opposition campaigners in Russia accused Google and Apple of caving in to ‘Kremlin blackmail’ yesterday after the US tech giants deleted a technical voting app from their online stores.”
“The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the falsehoods that inspired it continue to shape the Republican Party, with former president Donald Trump ramping up his defense of the rioters who participated in the violence while marshaling opposition to GOP lawmakers who have denounced the attack as an insurrection and a threat to American democracy,” the Washington Post reports.
“Trump’s willingness to not only sweep the Jan. 6 riot under the rug, but to embrace its perpetrators as political martyrs, has been met with silence by GOP congressional leaders, despite their stated desire to move on from the past and focus the party on opposing President Biden’s governing agenda.”
Andrew Sullivan: “If the definition of political courage is making big calls crisply and effectively, despite obvious risks and unknowable consequences, then it seems to me that President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson qualify right now. They’ve made calls recently that go beyond the usual mush of compromise and calculation and might even merit being called bold.”
“Biden braved the Blob and got out of Afghanistan. We will debate how he did so, and with what consequences, for quite some time. But he still did it. Obama tried and failed. Trump made a big song and dance and signed a surrender deal. But Biden actually got us out…”
“Equally this week, the sudden and surprise announcement that the UK, the US and Australia would form a new military and intelligence alliance in the Pacific, including new nuclear-powered submarines for Australia, was a bold signal to China that the US is not about to abandon that region, or its allies there. It came seemingly out of the blue, but had been in the works, apparently initiated by Australia, for some months.”
“States that ended federal unemployment benefits earlier this summer saw August job growth at less than half the rate of states that retained the benefits, according to new data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Axios reports.
“Leaders in the largely Republican-led states had insisted that the benefits were discouraging people from work, and ended the assistance program early ahead of its planned expiration on Sept. 6.”
“South Dakota legislative leaders on Friday distributed a petition to lawmakers asking them to support a special session to consider impeaching Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for a car crash last year that killed a pedestrian,” the AP reports.