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Ron Klain May Wind Up Being As Great A Chief Of Staff For Biden As James Baker Was For Reagan

This morning, Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu, David Cicilline, Joe Neguse and the 5 other Democrats who Pelosi tasked with making the House's case for convicting Trump on the impeachment charges, presented their written case to the Senate, accusing Trump of whipping his supporters into a "frenzy" and describing him as "singularly responsible" for the mayhem that ensued. They wrote that "If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be."

Trump will never be convicted, no matter what the impeachment managers present. Presumably 3 or 4, maybe 5 Republicans will vote with the Democrats to convict and that will be that. Meanwhile, members of Congress understand that the public has a #1 priority: seeing them pass Biden's $1.9 trillion rescue legislation, which the GOP is trying to block. (The GOP counter-proposal is for a pathetic $0.6 trillion that cuts direct payments drastically, leaves out all aid to state and local governments as shit-cans an increase in the minimum wage.) The video up top helped persuade Joe Manchin to announce today that he's going to vote to allow reconciliation to proceed-- although he's still opposed to increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour which he says is "neither responsible nor reasonable." (Now someone will have to deal with Arizona's #PsychoSinema.)

Yesterday, John Nichols, writing for The Nation, made the point politically: Cutting $2,000 Payments, and Limiting Who’s Eligible for Them, Is Bad Economics and Loser Politics. "The same cabal of compulsive neoliberals and centrist grifters who derailed meaningful progress in previous Democratic administrations," he wrote, "are at it again. This time, they want President Biden and the Democrats to lower expectations for Covid-19 relief by reducing the amount of direct payments to Americans and imposing harsh restrictions on who might be eligible for them... If Biden buckles to the deficit hawks who favor a narrow response to the economic turbulence spawned by the coronavirus pandemic-- a compromise some of the president’s recent statements suggest is possible-- he will do his agenda and his party deep damage. A 'go-small' approach to the crisis would surely gain applause from the usual suspects-- austerity-inclined members of Congress and the elite editorial pages that cheer them on. But a surrender of ambition at this point would reinforce a sense that, even when Democrats control the presidency and the Congress, they cannot get government to work for the great mass of Americans. That is precisely the vulnerability congressional Republicans hope to exploit in order to regain power in 2022."

“This is not just bad economics, but terrible politics,” Ro Khanna explained after proposals surfaced to restrict direct payments to smaller amounts and fewer Americans. The Californian has long been one of the House’s most outspoken advocates for addressing poverty. But he also recognizes that there are many Americans who earn over $50,000 a year and yet are struggling to make student loan payments, get out from under credit card debt, and cover housing costs in communities where rents and home prices are skyrocketing. “Why would we want to further the perception that the government cares for the needy and the elite but not for the middle class?” he asks. “Have we learned nothing?”
Khanna, who worked in the Obama White House before his election to Congress, understands something that too many Democrats neglect. The early stages of a new administration define a president and their party. If Biden and the Democrats present themselves as cautious and compromising when it comes to the economic agenda, they will invite frustration with the party and set it up for failure at the polls.
...In fact, Americans need more than just one $2,000 stimulus check-- or, more precisely, a $1,400 check on top of a $600 check. They need monthly direct payments until the pandemic and the economic turbulence that extends from it has passed. That’s what Khanna and [2022 Senate candidate] Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) have been proposing since April. This idea is gaining traction. Last week, more than 50 House members signed on to a letter authored by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN), which urges the Biden-Harris administration to recognize that “one more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis.” The letter argues, “Recurring direct payments until the economy recovers will help ensure that people can meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession.”
That’s not a radical plan. That’s smart economics and smart politics. “We need to go bold,” says Khanna, “Let’s give everyday Americans the support they need: $2,000 every month until we’re out of this.”

Let me end on some good news. Ron Klain, Biden's chief-of-staff-- some say de facto POTUS-- has decided to define "bipartisanship" as support for policies that are broadly popular with the American people, rather than whether or not conservative ideologues and GOP partisans give their approval. If he can keep Biden on this path, Klain will turn out to be the greatest chief-of-staff since James Baker (Reagan).

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