Good morning, it’s Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Since my last newsletter on Friday, the House of Representatives finally passed an infrastructure bill, the British MP heading the climate change summit in Glasgow said it’s time to “shift the mode” from talk to action, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been off-duty — or, at least out of the limelight — for 12 days.
I’ll have a few brief observations on those developments in a moment. First, I’d direct you to RCP’s front page, which contains the latest poll averages, political news and video, aggregated opinion pieces ranging across the ideological spectrum — and much debate coverage. We also have a complement of original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors:
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Trump Hints at Biden Rematch: “You Think I Kid, But I’m … Not.” Phil Wegmann reports on the former president’s remarks over the weekend at Mar-a-Lago.
Morning Joe Wakes Up and Smells the (Bitter) Coffee. Frank Miele compares Joe Scarborough’s pre- and post-election posturing.
RCP Takeaway. Phil, Tom Bevan, and Andy Walworth join me to discuss lessons from last week’s elections.
How Windfall Politics Broke the System. John Nantz argues for funding alternatives for Social Security and Medicare, which are on a path to insolvency.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Boost Hispanic Business. Javier Palomarez cites overlooked benefits of the now-passed legislation.
2022 Midterm Lessons From New Jersey. At RealClearPolicy, Regina M. Egea warns Democrats that property taxes and the overall cost of living were the main drivers of party losses last week in the Garden State.
Election Updates for Nov. 8. Todd Carney’s weekly recap is also at RCPolicy.
The Real Problem in the Taiwan Debate. At RealClearDefense, Todd Gartzke argues that the United States’ “strategic ambiguity” policy is more likely to lead to war than avert it.
Little-Known Laws Amplify Struggle With Delta Variant. At RealClearHealth, Eric Bolinder assails certificate-of-need requirements that are limiting hospitals’ capacity to treat patients.
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Washington journalists, like members of Congress themselves, have been obsessed with the politics of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. Republicans, for the most part, have taken a powder on the whole thing, while Democrats — forced by the GOP non-engagement strategy to round up all the votes themselves — have been waging ideological and tactical fights within their own ranks. It’s made for good political theater, but the actual provisions of the legislation have probably been given short shrift.
The collective disinterest in the policy specifics were evident Friday when the news media reported wildly different numbers on what the physical infrastructure package even costs. “House Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill,” reported the New York Times. Reuters, the L.A. Times, The Hill, CNBC, and NPR all went with this $1 trillion figure (though NPR’s headline writer felt obligated to called it a “stripped down” measure.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post, Axios, CNN, Vox, and USA Today reported that Congress had passed legislation costing “$1.2 trillion” over the next 10 years. In a hint at the underlying problem, the Post hedged by prefacing its figure with the word “roughly.” Meanwhile NBC and Bloomberg News put the figure at $550 billion, which is a much different deal, with Bloomberg asserting that it’s really only $550 billion in “new spending.” So what is it, people? Inquiring minds want to know.
As for the Glasgow Summit, although it’s always welcome when a politician says the time for talk is over, put me down as skeptical. China and India, which between them are responsible for two-thirds of the world’s coal consumption, opted out of the Glasgow gig’s anti-coal pledge, as did the United States, which uses some 6%. And the name of the conference is COP26 — what does that stand for again? Oh, yes: Conference of the Parties 26, meaning it’s the 26th such conference. No wonder the global warming activists are impatient.
Gavin Newsom and California first lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom did not attend COP26, as they had planned. The governor’s last public appearance was Oct. 27 when he received his COVID booster shot. When his office announced the change in schedule, it cited only unspecified “family obligations.” All I will add to that is my hope and prayer that the governor and his wife and four young children are safe and healthy.
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics