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Arrows Up

Do you remember when Newsweek started to do that “Who’s Up, Who’s Down” little box in each issue? To me, that was the start of the decline of that magazine. Oh, it was catchy. and one looked at it, but how irresponsible of what was supposed to be a thoughtful weekly magazine covering crucial issues, to try to distill this into some kind of sports metaphor. And I well remember how in 2008, they almost always gave Hillary Clinton a down arrow; either she lost a primary, or more usually, she won one or two, but the snarky people who ran that feature would always put “She is running out of primaries.” things like that.

So we know that it is beyond simplistic to try to analyze governance in terms of “ups and downs” But in terms of the “horse race,” which the media now almost always accentuates, this kind of thing predominates. We can’t get rid of it, though it is misleading and facile. But, since it is “a la mode,” let us note that the imaginary arrow is pointing way up for Biden and Democrats this last week.

Today, the Jobs Report shows 528,000 jobs added in this country, and an unemployment rate of 3.5%, the lowest unemployment figure in fifty years. This convincingly belies the “we are in a recession!” nonsense that all of the Republicans and far too much of the media latched onto when the GDP number slightly declined. Of course these numbers will change next month, and likely the jobs added will be a good deal less, and then the “Recession!” headlines will start again. But taken in totality over the months. the economy is strong, with inflation being the one drawback for now.

There is so much more. Kyrsten Sinema finally came through, at least as far as she ever does, along with Manchin earlier, and will support the Inflation Reduction Act, which should pass. There is still a question of what the Senate Parliamentarian will allow on this piece or that, but most of it should pass. And the bill is not ideal; there are things which we would want which are not in there. But given everything, and our beyond slim majorities, it is not bad. And there are enough Democrats whom I respect, such as Senator Schatz of Hawaii, who are very much for this bill, to cause me to think that it is indeed worthwhile to pass it; that it will be important for the environment, and may even reduce inflation somewhat.

The CHIPS Act recently passed as well. Given the limited numbers which Democrats hold in Congress, President Biden, aided by House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer, have done a rather remarkable job of passing important legislation, in the face of intractable Republican opposition, propaganda, and mockery.

We also note that gas prices have dropped for fifty straight days, with many stations showing a price of less than $4.00 now. This is obviously higher than last year, but given the factors, including massive oil company price gouging, it is a significant reduction. It is certainly possible that prices will go up again, particularly right before the election, since oil companies never want the Democrats to win. But the current drop is not negligible.

This week, we learned about the elimination of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Whoever is credited with the planning and implementation, it happened with Biden’s approval, and so he deserves credit for it as well.

Now, the general tenor, incessant from Republicans, and certainly accepted and even amplified by the media, is that Biden’s presidency has been a terrible failure. This was always absurd, and is particularly so now. We have all seen various presidential regimes. How many of them have accomplished more in less than two years, particularly with the political headwinds, a Republican Party which is worse than it ever has been, and which takes pride in voting as a bloc to stop every bill that the Democrats propose?

We all know that things can rapidly change, particularly with Republicans and much of the media just waiting to go back to their “Biden is a failure; put the Republicans back in charge,” narrative. Very likely there will be another negative report on inflation, at least it will not drop “enough.”

It is such a tightrope that Democrats have to walk, that one bad jobs report right before the election will be headlined on every station. One hates to have to depend on some luck in the last pre-election statistics, but it often comes down to that, because Republicans essentially own the media.

The thing to note is that this has been a very good week for Democrats; first with regard to the economic news, and then with the great victory in the Kansas election, where by a margin of 59-41%, voters refused to allow their state legislature to take away abortion rights. That is a righteous cause and energy which has to be channeled into the upcoming midterms.

Somehow, virtually every election has to be about abortion to at least some degree, as well as climate, guns, and Republican totalitarianism. Any party which actually features the fascist Viktor Orban as a keynote speaker, drawing cheers from the fascist sympathizers who make up that party, should be more than defeated, it should be ostracized from public legitimacy.

Democrats need to capitalize on the good news, and even more importantly, make the elections a referendum on the Republicans, who are far too dangerous to be allowed to govern anywhere. Do not shrink from that, do not think that “going high” will win on its own nobility of sentiment. Tell the people what the Republicans are now. They want the United States to be Hungary or Russia, and they want to be able to tell everyone else what to do and not do. This is completely inimical to the founding principles of this nation. This cannot be allowed to go one step further, and it must be rolled back.

That will of course depend on people’s willingness to come out and vote in record numbers, and not to be dissuaded by the various noises and distractions which Republicans and their media arms make. Full speed ahead. Arrows up!