#41: Larry Elder is a dagger aimed at Biden's domestic agenda.
Many of us who oppose large chunks of the Democrats' $3.5 trillion No-Program-Left-Behind "soft infrastructure" bill have been casting about in semi-desperation for developments that might lead to at least the worst parts (e.g. the child tax credit that restores welfare, the huge irreversible immigration amnesty, teacher-training credentialism) getting thrown overboard.
You'd think that might happen, given the gap between progressives’ grandiose ambitions and the precarious Dem control of Congress. But so far, no. The bloat-ready "transformative" assemblage hasn't taken any major hits. Senators Manchin and Sinema say they'd like a lower price tag - -but they don't say how much lower. ($3.4 trillion?) Moderate House Dems have demanded (and maybe even won) an early vote on the smaller, bipartisan "hard" infrastructure bill that's already passed the Senate -- but they don't seem to be making many actual policy demands regarding the larger, partisan, “soft” bill, aside from a restoration of the deduction for state and local taxes (something Pelosi would love to do). Where's the shiv?
Maybe it's not in DC.
Remember back in 2014 when it looked like an across-the-board, "comprehensive" immigration amnesty might pass? Such a law had in fact, already passed the Senate. True, the House was controlled by Republicans — but the stage was set for a dramatic Paul Ryan-led cave-in (eg. watering down the Senate bill for show but preserving the legalization essentials). Conspirators were conspiring. Sellouts like Rep. Darrell Issa were selling out.
Then something shocking happened --House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in a Republican primary in Virginia by Dave Brat, an unknown economics professor, in a campaign waged largely over whether Cantor was sufficiently anti-amnesty.
Now, I actually don’t think a big amnesty would have passed, even with all the conspiring — but after Cantor's defeat amnesty was dead, dead, dead, Republican Congresspersons were rightly terrified --voters seemed to be really pissed off! Who wanted to risk getting primaried by someone who tapped into that anger?
Today, California is the new Virginia. Governor Gavin Newsom is the new Cantor. Conservative talk-show personality Larry Elder is the new Brat. The parallel isn't exact -- Cantor's loss was a bolt from the blue, while Newsom's possible loss has been widely bruited about for weeks. Also, Republicans of 2014 worried about getting primaried. Today, Dems worry about losing swing districts in November. But the two cases are close enough. A Newsom loss -- let alone an Elder win -- would be shock treatment for vulnerable Democrats in Congress, indicating that .. well, voters, even in a superblue state, are really pissed off.
This time they wouldn’t be pissed off just about immigration: The recall largely reflects anger at liberal policies on crime, homelessness, political correctness, and COVID restrictions. What Democratic pol wants to make himself one of the Newsoms of 2022 by passing Biden's budget-busting agglomoration of still more liberal policy dreams (including, at the moment, another amnesty)?
That's why Elder's run is significant -- not because it might dramatically change California (which is only one state) or kill Newsom's career (which it could) or kill Biden's presidency (that's a stretch). It's significant because it's a missile aimed at the Biden New Deal.
Irritant-in-Chief: Just because Biden’s probably right about ending the Afghanistan war doesn't mean his speech wasn't annoying! Here are my 5 least favorite themes:
1. We needed to get out of Afghanistan. How dare Trump make a deal to get out of Afghanistan.
2. Any withdrawal was inevitably going to be messy, which is why it was Trump’s fault.
3. I moved the departure date from May 1 to Sept 11 and then to August 31 — “to have more time for people to get out” — but please don’t suggest I could have moved it to November, when the ‘fighting season’ is over and an evacuation might have been much easier.
4. Many Americans in Afghanistan ignored “multiple warnings and offers to help them leave,” starting in March. It's as if these fools didn't realize Afghan government would collapse in 11 days.
5. “My deceased son Beau.” It’s always about Beau.