Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Why am I not surprised? We’ve now seen a “trifecta” of bad behavior in DC (not that it never happened before!). The “secret documents” issue is becoming an issue affecting the 2024 campaign. As former New York Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra puts it: “It’s déjà vu again!” Déjà vu, French for “I’ve seen it!” Let’s “brunch” this week.
“Penny Suspense” — His attorneys discovered a dozen classified documents at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home. Various sources say the material is not highly sensitive, but rather material and briefings prepared for multiple trips abroad. However, while they are not considered top secret, it does reflect similar sloppiness in the handling of classified documents by former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden. Like Biden, Pence worked in Congress for many years, where they review every year what documents you can or can’t keep, especially when you leave office. Trump will get the same briefing shortly after his inauguration. No one here can claim ignorance, nor carelessness. All three flagrant violations of rules and standards (and possibly the law).
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“radiation?” – This is one of the so-called “who cares?” stories that will test the work. Yes, it pissed off a lot of DC politicians and media types, including me. However, the public often yawns. Honestly, as a political analyst, I think it hurts everyone’s eligibility to run for the White House in 2024. It raises questions about integrity, patriotism, loyalty to the rules, sloppiness, and basic common sense. This is my verdict. Nothing bad happened, which probably lessened the loss for each of them. But if some foreign or domestic agent is harmed by a compromise of security or confidentiality, any of these candidates could get the job done. Even if each of them kept the file by accident or oversight, sloppy on the way to the Oval Office is no resume maker.
“National Archives Requirements” – I like this. After all, the National Archives made three disclosures Thursday and formally asked all living former presidents and vice presidents to scrape their records to see if they have any other classified documents that need to be returned. To me, it’s akin to the farmer yelling to close the barn door after all the horses have run away. too little too late!
“The boys are back in town” — On Wednesday, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, announced it was allowing Donald Trump to access and use his old account. Pour me a cup of coffee to calm my yawn. I’ve been arguing here for months that the reach and value of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are greatly exaggerated. Everyone has it, so what’s the tactical advantage? In many cases, they simply become “echo chambers” where like-minded supporters give your views a “thumbs-up”. As I wrote in my PhD thesis in 2011, I’ve seen a lot of evidence that they connect people to conversations, but that doesn’t mean they convince many entrenched people to change their minds. Most importantly, they are digital versions of the old “town squares,” where people can come to vent and share opinions. Persuasion rests with each candidate, not the technology platform, like traditional media. It’s about the quality of the message, no matter how it’s delivered,
“California Dream” – The elevator appears to be packed with candidates for the 2024 California Senate race. Incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate but has yet to announce whether she will run. California Rep. Katie Fisher (D) has announced she wants to enter the upper house of Congress. Now, Rep. Adam Schiff (D) of California has announced that he, too, wants the seat. More people are likely to enter the race, making the primaries crowded. But at first glance, I have to say the advantage-Schiff. He indicted a president who is wildly popular in many corners of the country, but not in liberal-leaning, anti-Trump California. There, Schiff could be in for a huge honor. It’s almost like the “anti-Trump tuxedo effect”.
“Memory Tank” – The Biden administration has now ordered 31 of the elite Abrams battle tanks to be sent to Ukraine to defend against a Russian invasion. This came after Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks for the defense of Ukraine. This is sure to irritate Russian President Vladimir Putin. But whether that will deter his willingness to push deeper into Ukraine in an unpopular war remains to be seen. Many Russians were outraged by the expense and manpower, especially after the unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance. If the U.S. chimes in and offers its support, it will be a wildcard factor in many 2024 elections, including the race for the White House.
“Hail to… Chief of Staff” – Ron Klain, President Biden’s chief of staff, stepped down on Friday and was replaced by White House COVID-19 director Jeff Zients. I won’t read too much into this. The fact that Klein did it for two full years is remarkable. Every modern president has more than one chief of staff. It’s a stressful, exhausting job. You basically live in the White House and sleep at home. This is a 24/7 requirement, especially sailing with all congressional territories and leaders. Trivia note: President Jimmy Carter didn’t have a chief of staff for his first two years in office, which was probably a mistake because Carter chose to do the job himself. He then appointed his former campaign manager, Hamilton Jordan, who was replaced after a year in office.
Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is the chief political reporter for seven Nexstar Media stations serving media markets in West Virginia, five neighboring states and throughout Washington, DC. He is also a MINDSETTER™ Staff Political Writer and Analyst for www.GoLocalProv.com and its affiliates.
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