Time. It dictates so many things in life, very much including political life. As I thought about this article various songs about time ran through my head. I could not help but think back to a plethora of high school level practices where the clock prominently figured. I’ll commence the body of this piece with a paragraph on that. You were warned.
The late Archie O’Bryan and I had several good, but not great, high school teams. We spend countless practices with the clock going over time and score situations. We always told our guys that if they could get us to four minutes to go within four points, we could bring home the win. (It’s been decades, but I think we actually accomplished that.) My stroll down memory lane complete, I want to look at three time situations on the current political calendar.
Jim Jordan and several human Republican House members are already engaged in a coverup of their own activities around 1/6 and investigations into the Bidens. The Justice Department has already told them that they will not allow interference with ongoing investigations. What Jordan and company want to do it tantamount to letting the mob investigate the police department while the latter is investigating a crime. This is certain to end up in the courts.
Assuming that the case doesn’t land before Aileen Cannon the initial rulings should be in favor of Justice. If it goes to the current Supreme Court all bets are off, but that will take time. Based on their performance to date, lack of an agenda that the majority of American people care about and the fact that 2024 election is a presidential year meaning larger voter turnout the Republicans are extremely likely to lose control of the House in the 119th Congress. Bottom line: time is on the side of the Justice Department and the rule of law.
The near term, if not long term, fate of democracy is on the line in Ukraine. Anyone who disputes that simply hasn’t been paying attention. Ukraine is winning largely because of the aid of the Biden-led coalition of western democracies. The House Republicans appear to be poised to stop or at least severely limited America’s share of that aid. If America backs down the alliance will follow. Vladimir Putin – who expected a swift and easy victory – has realized that he cannot win a relatively short war and is operating in an almost siege mentality. His hope is to prolong the war, wait for his allies (unwitting or not) to erode western support and win a war of attrition. He figures time is on his side.
My last time story is much closer to home and involves a bit of crystal ball reading/prediction. A current political parlor game is whether Joe Biden will run for reelection in 2024. In full disclosure: part of me wants him to and part of me doesn’t. My guess at this point is that he will. I’m basing that on the juxtaposition of two recently disclosed facts.
Recently it was announced that the State of the Union Address will take place on February 7th. It was “leaked” that Biden will not make a formal announcement of his decision until after the address. This past weekend it was reported that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain would be leaving his post soon, but not until after the State of the Union.
Now comes the tea leaves reading. The timing coordination, coupled with the Klain news not being accompanied by a definitive announcement of what his next stop will be, has got me to speculating in a suspicious way.
As to Klain I think that he will be moving from the White House to the reelection campaign. Klain is a nice guy and a political operative with a track record of winning. The word is that he was instrumental in Biden’s first two years of legislative success. With the House falling into Republican hands not much legislative progress is expected over the remainder of the first term. A nice guy Chief of Staff is not needed but if Biden is running for reelection a successful campaign guy is. It’s a simple matter of deploying the right player in the place the time and situation dictates.
What Biden needs for the remainder of this term is a tough Chief of Staff. I’ll (not for the first time) suggest Zoe Lofgren. Lofgren is a veteran of several congressional investigations, most recently the 1/6 Committee. She is currently in her 13th term in the House and would be 77 if she were sworn in to serve in the next Congress. She is whip smart and tough as nails. That’s just the kind of doorkeeper Biden needs over the next two years. It would also be a fitting last gig for Lofgren.
An intangible is that she would be the first female White House Chief of Staff. Democrats like firsts and Biden likes to be seen as a trailblazer on women’s issues. He also can’t win in 2024 without a strong female voter turnout.
In the long run the only thing that is certain is that time will tell.
Note: Subsequent to initial posting, but prior to publishing, Jeff Zients was named as Klain’s replacement. Such is the peril of my version of live blogging. I may or may not comment on the choice at some future time.
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