Biden tries out for new role in Georgia: Party leader

on Dec15
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On the roster: Biden tries out for new role in Georgia: Party leader – McConnell congratulates Biden, ‘president-elect’ – Big four huddle to save stimulus, spending packages – Discoveries reveal large scope of Russian hack attack – Daaaaaaaaddddddd

So what does Joe Biden want out of Georgia?

Two new senators and a Democratic Senate majority, duh.

But what he would also like would be to steer his party in a direction that might let him govern.

The results of the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in Georgia will determine whether Biden has a 50-50 Senate with Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote as vice president or whether Republicans will enjoy a one-seat or two-seat majority.

In any of those outcomes, a premium would be placed on bipartisan deal making and there would be hard limits on partisan excess. When it comes to stocking his administration, though, a majority sure would make life easier for Biden.

But whatever happens in the runoff, Biden has some additional motivation in his trip to Georgia today. Biden’s visit to Pullman Yard in suburban DeKalb County highlights the kinds of voters the president-elect wants to keep front-and-center as he puts together his administration and transitions into power.

One of the many lucky strokes for Joe Biden in 2020 has been President Trump’s refusals to accept the results of the national election. As long as Trump is engaged in his efforts to overturn the choice of the voters, Democrats have something to focus on other than what their man is doing.

Biden certainly has taken flack for stocking his administration with Obama leftovers and corporate-approved Democratic factotums. With Trump doing the political equivalent of banging pots and pans in the corner, it’s been hard for folks to focus on the very conventional Biden.

But the acknowledgement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the votes of the Electoral College Monday have resolved any doubt about who will assume office on January 20th, scrutiny will grow on the soon-to-be 46th president.

Now, it makes sense that Biden would go in Georgia to the place where he could be the most useful. The Atlanta suburbs, particularly DeKalb, were crucial to Biden’s Georgia victory. Since that’s the case in most swing states, the coming struggle of the Biden years will be over affluent suburbanites. That’s not a matter of universal agreement among Democrats, though.

In his speech after his Electoral College victory, Biden took a step forward as a partisan figure. After more than a month of urging calm and cooperation, Biden tore into Trump and his shenanigans. Today’s Georgia trip is another part of Biden’s evolution into the role of party leader.

But does his party want to be led?

Georgia highlights the conundrum for Biden and the Blue Team. While it certainly was voters who live on the leafy lanes of places like East Lake and Kirkwood in DeKalb County who put Biden over the top, he wouldn’t have even been close if it had not been for massive turnout among core Democratic voters, especially African Americans.

We actually tend to think that there is less distance between these two constituencies, practically speaking, than most analysts. But even if there is considerable message overlap the ambitions of the next generation of aspiring Democratic leaders has lots of incentive to not see it that way.

Stacey Abrams wants Georgia Democrats to think like Georgia Republicans and see  the path to victory running through activating highly ideological based voters, not selling soft soap to swing the suburbs.

Biden takes something of a risk in his visit today. He will share in the blame if Democrats whiff on both seats next month. And if they do, the loss will surely be cited as evidence of why Biden’s moderate posture and outreach to Republican voters was misplaced.

But he couldn’t really have done what his old boss, Barack Obama, did in 2008 and steered clear of the Georgia Senate runoff. Biden is a party man in ways that Obama never was, plus with the whole dang Senate hanging in the balance Biden would surely have been criticized for not trying to help.

Now we get to find out not only what Georgia voters think about Bidenism, but what Democrats are willing to grant Biden as party leader.

“But as the ultimate object of these papers is to determine clearly and fully the merits of this Constitution, and the expediency of adopting it, our plan cannot be complete without taking a more critical and thorough survey of the work of the convention…” – James Madison, writing about the difficulties of the convention, Federalist No. 37

Live Science: “A shortage of silver caused by the collapse of leading Bronze Age civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean about 1200 B.C. resulted in the original ‘dirty money’ — several hundreds of years before coins had been invented. The ancient counterfeiting was revealed by archaeologist Tzilla Eshel … who studied the chemical composition of 35 buried hoards of Bronze Age silver found at archaeological sites around Israel In eight of the hoards — dating from the time of the ‘Late Bronze Age collapse,’ when the region’s most powerful kingdoms suffered often-violent demises — had been deliberately debased, with cheaper alloys of copper substituted for much of the silver and an outer surface that looked like pure silver. Because the hoards date back to the when the region, then known as Canaan, was ruled by ancient Egypt, the researchers think this deception originated with the Egyptian rulers, possibly to disguise the fact that their supplies of the precious silver widely used as currency were failing.”

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Fox News: “Top Senate Republicans are officially accepting President-elect Joe Biden‘s 2020 victory after the Electoral College confirmed his win on Monday. Their acceptance of the president-elect’s victory comes nearly six weeks after the Nov. 3 election, as President Trump refuses to concede while making claims of widespread voter fraud that have so far been unsubstantiated. ‘The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday on the Senate floor. ‘The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years.’ He went on to congratulate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, saying that despite political differences, ‘all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time.’”

What comes next? – Fox News: “States begin to send in their slates of electoral ballots to the U.S. Capitol over the next few weeks. The papers sent to Capitol Hill are ‘Certificates of the Vote,’ signed by the electors of each state. They are mailed via registered mail (yes, the U.S. Mail) to the president of the Senate (the vice president of the United States), the Secretary of State, the Archivist of the United States and the federal district court with jurisdiction over where each set of electors convened. Fox is told of at least one story where congressional officials had to come into the Capitol on Christmas day several years ago because one state sent paperwork that wasn’t ‘proper in form.’ But, the process isn’t quite over. This brings us to the ultimate decision of who is president on Jan. 6. It’s up to the 117th Congress, as dictated by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution.”

Fox Poll: Two-thirds of voters feel hopeful – Fox News: “Hope and relief are voters’ most common reactions to the presidential election.  More are embarrassed than angry, while many feel scared. Sixty-seven percent feel hopeful, up from 59 percent who felt that way after the 2016 election.  And 59 percent are relieved, up from 50 percent. Over half feel embarrassed (55 percent), excited (52 percent), and scared (51 percent).  Just under half are angry (49 percent) and empowered (47 percent).  The fewest, although still a sizable minority, are depressed (39 percent). … No surprise, Democrats are most likely to describe their post-election feelings as hopeful (90 percent), relieved (87 percent), and excited (79 percent).  For Republicans, the top responses are angry (67 percent), scared (60 percent), and embarrassed (59 percent).”

Buttigieg slated for Transportation secretary – Politico: “President-elect Joe Biden will nominate former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to be Transportation secretary, according to three people familiar with the decision. Buttigieg’s ascension to the top spot at DOT marks the culmination of a meteoric rise in politics over the last two years from the mayor of South Bend, Ind., to the first openly gay Cabinet secretary, if he is confirmed. But Buttigieg’s landing spot comes as a surprise given his thin transportation policy resume. Buttigieg, 38, wanted to serve as the ambassador to the United Nations, a position that went to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and he was also considered for Commerce secretary.”

WSJ: “The top four congressional leaders plan to meet [this] afternoon to discuss a coronavirus relief package and a sweeping spending bill, as Congress races to find an agreement before critical support programs expire at year’s end. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) will confer late Tuesday afternoon, the first meeting of all four leaders in weeks and a signal that they could be ready to make the difficult decisions needed to cut a deal. The meeting comes one day after a bipartisan group of lawmakers largely wrapped up their work on a compromise coronavirus relief proposal. … But the bipartisan coalition came up short in its efforts to reach a broad deal on the thorniest issue: liability protections for businesses and other entities operating during the pandemic.”

Government funding package may come Wednesday – Roll Call: “House and Senate lawmakers are close to agreement on a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 and are planning to file the legislative text on Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the discussions. If that schedule holds, the House could be ready to vote on the bill as early as Wednesday, though the path of a snowstorm that weather forecasters are anticipating may affect that timing. Negotiators have reached compromises on some of the thorniest issues… A handful of smaller items sent to congressional leaders remain to be worked out, but a full agreement is close, according to these sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”

Fox News Poll: Voters slam unserious corona response – Fox News: “As the first U.S. coronavirus inoculations take place, a majority thinks the country failed to take the virus seriously enough — and fewer than one in five says the virus is under control.  In addition, the number planning to get vaccinated is up to 61 percent. That’s according to the latest Fox News survey of registered voters nationwide. Fifty-six percent feel that the U.S. did not take the threat posed by coronavirus seriously enough.  That includes 34 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats. Twenty-three percent say the country reacted appropriately, while almost as many there was an overreaction.  Nearly half of those who say the country overreacted call the virus a hoax — 8 percent of voters overall. Most, 85 percent, are concerned about the virus spreading.  That number has held fairly steady since May, but is down from a high of 94 percent concern in April.”

WaPo: “The Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the National Institutes of Health on Monday joined the list of known victims of a months-long, highly sophisticated digital spying operation by Russia whose damage remains uncertain but is presumed to be extensive, experts say. The list of victims of the cyberespionage, which already included the Treasury and Commerce departments, is expected to grow and to include more federal agencies and numerous private companies, said officials and others familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is under investigation. SolarWinds, the maker of widely used network-management software that the Russians manipulated to enable their intrusions, reported in a federal securities filing Monday that ‘fewer than 18,000’ of its customers may have been affected. That’s a small slice of the company’s more than 300,000 customers worldwide, including the Pentagon and the White House, but still represents a large number of important networks. Russia has denied any role in the intrusions.”

Barr on his way out after rebutting Trump’s election claims – AP: “Attorney General William Barr … is departing amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son. Barr went Monday to the White House, where Trump said the attorney general submitted his letter of resignation. ‘As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,’ Trump tweeted.”

Arizona Trump backers try to submit fake electoral votes – Arizona Republic

No Labels picks Larry Hogan for bipartisan push – NYT

House GOP wants Swalwell briefing from FBI – Fox News

Pergram: How ‘Christmas Vacation’ explains Congress’ coronavirus relief conundrum  Fox News

When does 2021 officially become year-elect.” – HuffPost’s Ariel Edwards-Levy on Twitter.

“After a recent discussion with my high school son on his physics final (had to ask him about Newton’s Laws since I long ago forgot), while thinking about the many discourses on the Halftime Report on what seems like a never ending argument (ok discussion) on the Electoral College system vs a national vote,  I could not help but think about Newton’s 3 Laws and their application to current politics.   I find that Newton’s 3rd Law, one body in force will exert an equal and opposite response to me sums it up best and puts some “science” behind the founders’ decision.   Did the founders look to Newton’s Laws when they created the Electoral College as the best solution to the ultimate and hard to solve challenge and problem they were working to overcome and address, which I believe was the tyranny of crowds and possible return to monarchy?” – David J. Smat, Chicago

[Ed. note: Great thinking, Mr. Smat! Your son is a lucky guy to have a dad of such perspicacity. Newton’s findings and theories, popularized in his “Principia,” published in three editions from 1687 from 1726 had indeed changed the way enlightened people thought about nearly everything. Certainly the Founders and Framers had Newton’s ideas about the laws of nature in mind when they were thinking about the concept of a natural law. The American system is predicated on a belief that human beings have a nature — one that can be observed over time and accurately described — and that the laws and rules designed to govern mankind must acknowledge and account for that nature. If humans are naturally ambitious, for instance, one does not outlaw ambition but rather designs a system to harness that energy. Extra credit for you, Pops!]

“Do you think Trump’s overall support will wane if he gets convicted in New York of the civil and/or criminal charges?” – Park Chapman, Saint Petersburg, Fla.

[Ed. note: I think right now you have mainly two groups of folks who would qualify as Trump supporters. First, you have mainstream Republicans who, out of a mix of party loyalty and disdain for Democrats and the news media, don’t want to turn their back on their man. Then you have the core supporters who actually believe in Trump as a man and the leader of the movement and then you have the real true believers. Our latest Fox News poll showed 47 percent of voters approved of the job Trump is doing as president — which matches his share of the national vote. Then you see that 36 percent of voters support Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. I think that works as a good starting place for the total universe of Trump supporters. It doesn’t include that 10 percent or so who were situational Trump supporters but catches the core adherents. It’s also the same as the percentage who support a Trump 2024 run. Then you have the next rung up the Trump ladder: The 22 percent who say that history will remember Trump as one of the greatest presidents in American history. I think that what happens to Trump and what Trump tries post-presidency will have an effect on the 47 percent and the 36 percent. But for the 22 percent that has really given themselves completely to Trump, I can’t imagine how a prosecution by a Democratic district attorney in New York would do anything but deepen their commitment. I would say Trump’s bigger challenge with that 22 percent is going to be finding ways to feed them. A prosecution would give him a platform, attention and a new fundraising vehicle. How will he keep these folks engaged, though, when he’s not in the game anymore? The threat of a 2024 candidacy would work, but that would not alienate many outside of the 22 percent, it would be hard to maintain for three years.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

Appleton [Wisc.] Post-Crescent: “The father of [a] woman hurriedly reported to authorities in late November that she sent him a text saying she was being stabbed. The Winnebago County dispatch center contacted Menasha police, and eight officers were sent to the woman’s apartment. ‘He indicated that his daughter was being stabbed, possibly by a live-in boyfriend. He provided an address to check on,’ said Menasha police officer Nick Oleszak. ‘Meanwhile, we tried to call her dad back and tried to reach his daughter, but were unable to reach her.’ Officers were positioned outside the apartment, when — to everyone’s surprise — the woman showed up. It turned out that she hadn’t been stabbed after all. She wasn’t feeling well and went to a clinic in Neenah to be tested for COVID-19. She sent a text to her dad to let him know she was being swabbed. But she sent it without noticing that autocorrect changed ‘swabbed’ to ‘stabbed.’ ‘She said she was fine and it was all a misunderstanding,’ Oleszak said.

“The only people who willingly acknowledge today’s pseudo-multilateralism are those rather indisposed to the United States.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing about living in an “unipolar world” in The New Republic on July 29, 1991.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.  

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