Secretary Blinken is cutting through a surprising amount of @GOP talking points by just...complimenting the Republicans and telling them how impressive they are.

Rep. Michael McCaul visibly softened after Blinken's opening flattery.
@GOP McCaul went from pushing Blinken on American weakness in the Middle East to talking about how much he looked forward to working closely with Blinken, and praising the State Department staff evacuating Amercians from Kabul.
Policy folks noted back in January that Blinken was one of Biden's closest allies and friends, elevated to Secretary of State because of his acumen as a diplomat both abroad and at home.

Biden has to be pleased with how Blinken has defused the situation so far.
In November of 2020 I wrote this piece for @TheHill on the daunting task ahead for Anthony Blinken -- and that was BEFORE Afghanistan.

Flash forward to September 2021, and Blinken has met or exceeded expectations in almost every category.…

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More from @themaxburns

13 Sep
Of course the Supreme Court Justices are going to say SCOTUS is unbiased and untainted by partisan politics.

You think Amy Coney Barrett is gonna stand up in front of a crowd and say, "Yep! You're right! We're all bought and paid for! It's a mess!"
Breyer and Coney Barrett express shock when asked about partisanship on the court. Wow, they say! Wow, how could people think that? We're all friendly with each other up here!

SCOTUS has no incentive or pressure to change -- why would they?
Hell, in an era of "transparency" SCOTUS still doesn't allow video cameras to record their proceedings. They delight in restricting public access and promoting the myth of SCOTUS as 'above it all.'

Then they do these staged public events, free from serious public criticism.
Read 7 tweets
12 Sep
This may seem out of the blue, but I would not be surprised to see some unexpected movement on immigration coming from Capitol Hill this week or next, specifically on Pathway to Citizenship
I still think Pathway to Citizenship is far more likely than a lot of Hill watchers think, and immigration in general remains terribly under-reported given how many quiet bipartisan conversations are going on right now.
UPDATE: @AOC out of the gate with a strong statement that marks the House's first major reconciliation move on Pathway to Citizenship.
Read 5 tweets
9 Sep
Biden's federal worker vaccine mandate is intelligent and necessary policy. I'm just baffled at how it took the White House until *September* to get here.
I'll tell you something from my time working with a national coalition of businesses advocating for vaccination: most CEOs were willing to put in mandates. They just wanted the feds to stand behind them when they caught heat. Biden WH was slow to send that message.
The end result is that we lost a window where, with federal backing, private companies could have instituted vaccine requirements. But they weren't willing to do it alone.

We're now seeing companies individually declare mandates -- but it's a shadow of that bigger push.
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep
Rep. Rashida Tlaib pushing back VERY clearly on Rep. Clyburn's comments to CNN that "$3.5 trillion is the ceiling" and Dems could slice up to $2 trillion from Biden's big reconciliation package.

House Progressives are ready to fight on this hill.
It's pretty clear to everyone (except, it seems, Joe Manchin) that progressives feel they can fight and win on preserving the full $3.5 trillion package. Pelosi is in their corner. On these spending bills, the Manchin wing is playing badly outnumbered defense.
Manchin knows the walls are closing in. As I write in The @Independent today, Manchin's "no" on the $3.5 trillion package puts him at odds not only with the Democratic Party, but with a bipartisan supermajority of Americans. He's making desperation plays.…
Read 5 tweets
4 Sep
Today's Saturday baking project: baguettes, this time using a new baking steel and cover I'm testing!
Read 4 tweets
31 Aug
A strong line from Biden, and one that a supermajority of Americans support.

Biden pledged to give the American people what they wanted and end this 20-year war. Most voters will see this as a tough promise kept.
It would have been possible for Biden to extend the withdrawal data back, to bog down in recommitting ground troops, to slow down the process. But he, and regular Americans, have seen enough to know that's how you end up back in Afghanistan for 20 more years.
The American people respect a president willing to take difficult but necessary action, and to stick with his decisions even when things get bumpy. Bailing on the withdrawal would have been even more disastrous.

In the end, Biden held the line and got us out of war.
Read 4 tweets

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