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Every Day, Biden Smells Like More of a Loser

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Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty

With a hint of confusion in his eyes and a whiff of failure in the air around him, Joe Biden is watching his approval ratings continue to plummet to the point where just 42 percent of Americans approve of his job performance.

Which makes sense, since at least so far Biden really doesn’t seem very good at this whole being president thing despite dreaming of and preparing for it for decades. With his staff trying to hide him from the press, and his penchant for saying confusing things, Biden isn’t rhetorically equipped to talk himself out of this mess. He was elected on a simple mandate to not be Trump, but after promising not to do Trump things, doing his own thing has proven more difficult.

To some degree, he put himself in this corner. By governing as he campaigned (as a competent centrist), Biden might have locked in a governing majority of alienated center-right Americans along with his extant Democratic coalition. However, Biden chose to abandon efforts to transcend the current political paradigm, choosing instead to appease his base. Talk about a tragic plot twist.

His deference to progressives was foreshadowed early on: first when he flip-flopped on taxpayer funding of abortion during the campaign, and then with the partisan passage of his COVID-relief bill in February. But real trouble arrived this summer, when he prematurely declared “independence” from the virus (followed by mixed messaging over boosters), and his Afghanistan withdrawal went dangerously sideways. Then it became clear that allowing progressives to hold his bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage would result in more than just a temporary delay.

One could argue that Biden’s decision to pander to the leftward flank of the Democratic Party caused or exacerbated the various crises he now confronts—ranging from the border crisis (his “compassionate” policies and rhetoric served as a magnet) to violent crime (it’s hard to blame Biden for this, though his party’s “defund the police” rhetoric didn’t help) to inflation, which is now tied with COVID as Americans’ biggest concern (Biden ignored Larry Summers’ warnings about overheating the economy). The current stalemate over his legislative agenda is the clearest example of this deference to progressives. And since his stalled legislative agenda feels especially like a self-inflicted wound, it’s worth spending a little additional time here.

This One Basic Mistake Is Blowing Up Biden’s Presidency

Had Biden aggressively moved to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he would likely have garnered dozens of Republican votes, and progressives would have likely either caved to his will or been shown to be impotent. This is my counterfactual analysis, at least.

Instead, though, Biden let progressives press him into (sort of) linking passage of the bipartisan bill with a $3.5 trillion social welfare reconciliation package. By trying to have it all, there’s now a chance that he could get neither.

Why would an experienced former senator and vice president—who spent his career working across the aisle—make this mistake? Here’s one hypothesis: Ideas have consequences. And the assertion has taken root that Americans are so polarized and ideologically sorted that persuasion is a fool’s errand.

Since Bill Clinton, every U.S. president has essentially bought into this premise, despite all of them except Trump having explicitly campaigned as game-changing uniters. Bush and Obama won re-election with this formula, which probably explains why it isn’t easily abandoned, even as the trajectory of America this time at least feels like it has been headed downard. Biden had a fresh opportunity to break the cycle, but he has instead followed the path of his predecessors.

That aside, his even more fundamental problem is a lack of competence. We saw this in Afghanistan, where the dubious decision to withdraw all U.S. troops was compounded by the hamfisted manner in which the withdrawal was executed. And this same lack of competence is evident when it comes to Biden’s stalled legislative agenda.

If Biden was going to make the foolish decision to link the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the reconciliation bill, he could have first made sure he had all 50 Democratic Senators on board.

It’s no surprise that Manchin, who hails from West Virginia, would pose a roadblock when it comes to passing the Democrats’ “green” agenda items, so discussions with him should have begun on day one. Instead, Biden and the Democrats tried to jam their own framework through—and retroactively sell it to him.

Of course, it’s even more complicated, since Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema is the other holdout. Unlike previous examples where duos like recalcitrant Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine could be won over simultaneously, Manchin’s problems with the bill (mainly climate related) are entirely different from Sinema’s (generally having to do with taxes). And don’t forget the fact that appeasing them too much could alienate other, more progressive, Democratic votes. This is just one big mess.

And the problem for Biden (and America) is that the problems keep piling up. China is menacing Taiwan and testing hypersonic weapons (Biden says we will defend Taiwan if they are attacked). Gas prices are up, with Biden admitting they’re not coming down any time soon. And then there is the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Biden’s problems are piling up so fast that it reminds me of lyrics from Hank Williams, Jr., “The interest is up and the stock market’s down. And you only get mugged if you go downtown.”

Those lyrics, recorded in 1981, reflected those dark times. It’s worth noting that Ronald Reagan went on to win 49 states, three years later.

Joe Biden better hope for a similar turnaround.

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Stephen Colbert Flattens Anti-Vax Aaron Rodgers With Omicron 1-Liner

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Eat This, Not That!

I’m a Virus Expert and Here’s a Sure Sign You’ve Had COVID

The New York Times reports more than 775,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 48 million have had the virus. However, many others have likely had COVID but weren’t tested or were asymptomatic and didn’t realize they had it. While it’s impossible to know if you’ve been infected without seeing a physician or getting tested, there are signs you’ve had it. COVID affects everyone differently, but according to virus and medical experts Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with, here are the



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China says 85% of citizens will use Mandarin by 2025

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BEIJING (AP) — China is launching an aggressive campaign to promote Mandarin, saying 85% of its citizens will use the national language by 2025.

The move appears to put threatened Chinese regional dialects such as Cantonese and Hokkien under even greater pressure, along with minority languages such as Tibetan, Mongolian and Uyghur.

The order issued Tuesday by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, said use of Mandarin, known in Chinese as “putonghua” or the “common tongue,” remains “unbalanced and inadequate” and needs to be improved to meet the demands of the modern economy.

Critics have sporadically protested changes to the education system and employment requirements that have steadily eroded the role of minority languages, calling it a campaign to eradicate cultures that don’t conform with the dominant Han ethnic group.

Along with the 2025 goal, the policy aims to make Mandarin virtually universal by 2035, including in rural areas and among ethnic minorities.

The promotion of Mandarin over other languages has sparked occasional protests, including last year in the Inner Mongolia region when the Mongolian language was replaced by standard Mandarin as the language of instruction.

China’s ruling Communist Party has denounced all such movements as a form of separatism and repressed them ruthlessly. It says language conformity is necessary for the sake of the economy and national unity.

The policy is backed up by legal requirements and the document issued Wednesday demanded strengthened supervision to “ensure that the national common spoken and written language is used as the official language of government agencies and used as the basic language of schools, news and publications, radio, film and television, public services and other fields.”

It calls also on officials to “vigorously enhance the international status and influence of Chinese” in academia, international organizations and at global gatherings.

Government attempts to promote Mandarin through its worldwide network of Confucius Institutes have been controversial, with critics denouncing them as an attempt to promote the party’s agenda and quash discussion of topics such its human rights record.

___

This story corrects the day the State Council issued the order on language.



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Vivid sunsets across the country bring a stunning close to November

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Vivid sunsets across the country bring a stunning close to November



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Biden mourns Michigan school shooting victims

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Michigan Student Kills Three Classmates in Shooting Rampage, Sheriff Says

WDIVOXFORD, Michigan—Three students are dead after a teenage gunman opened fire at a Michigan high school on Tuesday, sending terrified students scrambling for cover and barricading in their classrooms, according to authorities. Eight other people were shot and injured in the horrific attack at Oxford High School in Michigan, including a teacher, Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe told reporters at a news conference. The suspected shooter, who has not yet been publicly identified, is a 15-y



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Powell: New virus variant clouds economic outlook

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Walmart said she shoplifted; jury awards her $2.1 million

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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama woman who says she was falsely arrested for shoplifting at a Walmart and then threatened by the company after her case was dismissed has been awarded $2.1 million in damages.

A Mobile County jury on Monday ruled in favor of Lesleigh Nurse of Semmes, news outlets reported.

Nurse said in a lawsuit that she was stopped in November 2016 when trying to leave a Walmart with groceries she said she already paid for, according to AL.com. She said she used self-checkout but the scanning device froze. Workers didn’t accept her explanation and she was arrested for shoplifting.

Her case was dismissed a year later, but then she received letters from a Florida law firm threatening a civil suit if she didn’t pay $200 as a settlement, according to her lawsuit. That was more than the cost of the groceries she was accused of stealing.

Nurse said Walmart instructed the law firm to send the letters — and that she wasn’t the only one receiving them.

“The defendants have engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely accusing innocent Alabama citizens of shoplifting and thereafter attempting to collect money from the innocently accused,” the suit contended.

WKRG reported that the trial featured testimony that Walmart and other major retailers routinely use such settlements in states where laws allow it, and that Walmart made hundreds of millions of dollars this way in a two-year period.

Defense attorneys for Walmart said the practice is legal in Alabama. A spokesperson told AL.com that the company will be filing motions in this case because it doesn’t “believe the verdict is supported by the evidence and the damages awarded exceed what is allowed by law.”



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Republican Colleague Tom Reed Calls Lauren Boebert’s Vile Attacks A ‘Pox On All Our Houses’

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This “has to stop,” an outraged Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) said Monday of the racist and Islamophobic attacks by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), calling her behavior a “pox on all our houses.”

He was referring to Boebert’s appalling joke in a speech to constituents last week in which she suggested that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Muslim, could be a suicide bomber.

“I … condemn the kind of comments that were made by my colleague in Congress towards a fellow colleague on the other side of the aisle,” Reed said on CNN’s “OutFront.” “This is a pox on all our houses.”

He added: “We have degraded to a point in the institution of Congress [to a] level of hate I’ve never felt before.”

This “rhetoric, this type of commentary, has to stop. We need to focus on the American people and solving their problems. That’s got to be the mission,” said Reed, the former leader of the House Problem Solvers Caucus.

This is the “institution of Congress, this is the People’s House, and we have to respect each other,” Reed added. American citizens “should be working together as opposed to engaging in what could be called antics of a high-school-level nature.”

Boebert claimed in her talk to constituents in Colorado that she had just stepped into an elevator with Omar at the U.S. Capitol recently when a concerned police officer rushed over before the doors closed.

“I look to my left and there she is, Ilhan Omar,” Boebert said with a laugh in a video clip of her tale. “I say, well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.”

She also claimed she glanced at the Democratic lawmaker and said: “Oh, look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.”

Omar said none of that happened.

Boebert claimed she called Omar on Monday to apologize — but attacked her instead — and suggested Omar “sympathizes with terrorists.”

“I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion, so I told her that,” Boebert recounted Monday in an Instagram video recapping the conservation.

But then Boebert said she told Omar that “she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric.”

That’s when Omar ended the call.

Omar is calling for Boebert to face some sort of sanction from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which is unlikely.

“To date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment,” Omar said in a statement Monday.

“This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred. It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable.”

Also on HuffPost

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.





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