Americans are weary of many things after facing the perils of COVID-19, an endless election and a dismal new year. People have run out of negative adjectives to describe the first week of 2021, what with riots at the U.S. Capitol, toxic politics, media hysteria and President-elect Joseph R. Biden less than two weeks from taking office.
So it’s no wonder that there’s interest in something even-tempered and cozy — like mulling over the idea of “moderate” lawmakers — particularly moderate Democrats — who will somehow right all the wrongs, croon a muted chorus of “Kumbaya” and get back to the business of managing the nation. Or something like that.
“A moderate Congress awaits President Joe Biden in the years ahead,” predicts Ben Werschkul, an analyst for Yahoo Finance.
“Moderate Democrats rule Washington now,” writes Walter Shapiro, a staff writer for The New Republic.
He cites in particular “centrist Democrats” Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona among those who, he says, “will decide the fate of the party’s more ambitious legislative goals.”
That could be news to those at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum who can’t wait to push the New Green Deal and Medicare for All — but that’s another story.
“Clout in a Democratic Senate will rest with deal-making senators in the center,” says Mr. Shapiro.
Which brings us to Mr. Biden himself, perhaps considering what color drapes should be in the Oval Office. Do Americans perceive him to be an agreeable moderate, what with his campaign promises to make America “normal” again?
Uh, no. A new poll finds that 45% of Americans believe Mr. Biden to be a liberal, at that includes over a quarter of Democrats and three-fourths of Republicans. See the particulars in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
TWEET OF THE MOMENT
This was issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation less than 12 hours after riots at the U.S. Capitol stunned the nation and much of world:
“The FBI is seeking to identify individuals instigating violence in Washington, D.C. We are accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence in and around the U.S. Capitol on January 6. If you have information, visit http://fbi.gov/USCapitol.”
FOR THE LEXICON
“The United States of California”
This is handy new term suggested in an Issues & Insights editorial, which warns that the nation could become a larger version of the Golden State once Democratic forces get assertive on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.
“Californians are witnessing the fruits of the Democrats’ relentless determination to control government. After having successfully shoved Republicans off to the fringes, the state has imposed a seemingly endless series of tax hikes, intrusive environmental regulations, and costly mandates on businesses,” the editorial says.
“Californians at least have the ability to pick up and move to another less politically monolithic state — as they have been doing in droves over the past few years. But where are Americans supposed to flee should Democrats succeed in expanding California policies across the rest of the country?” the news organization asks.
“What can stop this from happening? President Biden could stand up to the far left in his party and try to find common ground with Republicans. Or the few moderate Democrats who remain in the House and Senate could take a stand against their own party’s socialist leanings, either by siding with Republicans or switching parties.
“We hope those happen, but we’re not overly optimistic. The next best thing is that Bidenand his fellow Democrats try to do too much too fast, alienate voters with their leftist ambitions, and lose their congressional majorities in the midterm elections,” Issues & Insights writes.
A SIGNIFICANT CONVERSATION
The OSS Society is a nonprofit organization which celebrates and recognizes the amazing work of the Office of Strategic Services, which was the predecessor of the CIA and played a vital role during World War II.
The organization is offering significant insight into such matters with an online event featuring a conversation between former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Michael Vickers, former undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
The pair will talk over concepts about leadership and strategy at 6 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 28; the event also includes the precision preparation of a “unique OSS-themed cocktail” by Philip Greene, an author and “cocktail historian” who is a master of historic libations of many varieties, not to mention the etiquette which accompanies a gracious cocktail hour.
The virtual event is free, but you must register. Consult OssSociety.org, and check under “Latest news” for the proper link. The site itself, by the way, is a treasure trove of information and history on clandestine days of yore.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: The historic Elmcourt Estate, built by the Cornelius Vanderbilt family in 1886 on 89 acres near Lenox, Massachusetts. Includes classic American shingle-style home with 13 bedrooms and a total of 106 rooms; 55,000 square feet. Includes multiple formal rooms, original intricate plaster and stone work plus woodworking; outbuildings include butler’s house, gardener’s cottage, greenhouses, carriage house, stable and two bars. Grounds designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. Mountain and meadow views. Much, much more. Priced at $12.5 million through BerkshirePropertyAgents.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 45% of U.S. adults say President-elect Joseph R. Biden is a liberal; 73% of Republicans, 42% of independents and 27% of Democrats agree.
• 32% overall say Mr. Biden is a moderate; 12% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 54% of Democrats agree.
• 7% overall say he is a conservative; 9% of Republicans, 5% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.
• 15% are not sure of Mr. Biden’s ideology; 7% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 3-5.
• Helpful information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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