Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: A semi-normal week feels like a victory lap

 Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: A semi-normal week feels like a victory lap

NY Times:

An impasse ends in the Senate as Democrats win a filibuster battle.

But as in past fights over the filibuster, the outcome is likely to be only a temporary solution. As they press forward on Mr. Biden’s agenda, Democrats will come under mounting pressure from activists to jettison the rule, which effectively requires 60 votes to advance any measure, should Republicans use it regularly to stall or stop the administration’s priorities.

NEW: McConnell warns of ‘scorched-earth Senate’ if Democrats kill filibuster, from @mikedebonis and @ericawerner

— Matea Gold (@mateagold) January 26, 2021

Merrick Garland could not be reached for comment.

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) January 27, 2021

Asawin Suebsaeng/Daily Beast:

Trump Fumes in His First Weekend Out of Office as Fauci Clowns on Him

In recent days, former President Donald Trump has watched from afar as one of his most popular rivals for public attention has been unleashed by the Biden administration to, in part, disparage Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the ex-president hasn’t even been able to tweet about it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, once a prominent figure on Trump’s coronavirus task force who’s now a top COVID-19 adviser to President Joe Biden, began his multi-day blitz to different news outlets that included openly expressing his relief that the old crew was gone and that he could now serve in the Biden administration.

Economic anxiety

— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 25, 2021

Drew Altman/Kaiser Family Foundation at Axios:

The U.S. needs to ramp up vaccinations to reach herd immunity

The U.S. would need to significantly ramp up coronavirus vaccinations if we’re going to reach herd immunity any time soon.

Why it matters: At minimum, herd immunity requires vaccinating 70% of the population. And reaching that benchmark is especially difficult — because children aren’t eligible for the vaccines yet, the U.S. would need to inoculate the vast majority of adults.

By the numbers: The U.S. would need to administer 2.4 million doses per day in order to vaccinate 70% of the population by July 4.

  • To get there by Labor Day would require 1.9 million doses per day.
  • To reach herd immunity by Jan. 1, 2022, we’d need 1.2 million doses per day.

Where it stands: The Centers for Disease Control reported 1.6 million vaccinations last Friday, and yesterday the Biden administration upped its goal — it’s now aiming for 1.5 million shots per day, instead of 1 million.

GOP operatives saying they believe Republican US Sen. @senrobportman‘s decision to not seek re-election in 2020 signals that he doesn’t think the party is coming back anytime soon into a working majority.

— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 25, 2021

Liz Szabo/CNN:

Anti-vaccine activists peddle theories that Covid-19 shots are deadly, undermining vaccination

Anti-vaccine groups have falsely claimed for decades that childhood vaccines cause autism, weaving fantastic conspiracy theories involving government, Big Business and the media.

Now, the same groups are blaming patients’ coincidental medical problems on covid shots, even when it’s clear that age or underlying health conditions are to blame, Hotez said. “They will sensationalize anything that happens after someone gets a vaccine and attribute it to the vaccine,” [Dr Peter] Hotez said.

Gosh John, I could’ve sworn you were in the Senate when I chaired the committee that took evidence in a judicial impeachment which we then brought to the entire Senate, with a Senator presiding, which then voted to convict …including your vote. @JohnCornyn

— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 26, 2021

Kevin Robillard/HuffPost:

The Game-Changing Biden Order You Haven’t Heard About

A directive about the regulatory process could lead to progressive movement on climate change, public health and worker safety.

Tucked into all of those high-profile moves, though, was a memo with a title seemingly designed to be ignored: “Modernizing Regulatory Review.” Sent to the press at 9:43 p.m. on Wednesday in the middle of the Tom Hanks-led inaugural celebration, the White House was not expecting the dry document to drive headlines or set American hearts aflutter.

But the memo could unleash a wave of stronger regulations to reduce income inequality, fight climate change and protect public health. Among left-leaning experts on regulation, it’s a signal that Biden could break with 40 years of conservative policy.

“I realize what I’m about to say to you sounds absurd,” James Goodwin, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform, told HuffPost. “It has the potential to be the most significant action Biden took on day one.”

Am waiting on the “If Biden wants unity, he should switch parties” thinkpiece.

— Drew Savicki 🦖🦕🦖 (@SenhorRaposa) January 26, 2021

If Biden wants unity, he should switch off with Trump as president every other year.

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Ignore Republican Arguments Against a Trial of Trump

Claiming that the Constitution bars impeachment convictions of ex-presidents is an easy way to dodge what’s really at stake.

Republicans are converging on an appeal to process, claiming that a post-presidential impeachment is improper. I suppose that’s better than actively supporting Trump’s attempts to undermine U.S. democracy by promoting his baseless stolen-election fantasy and provoking the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but they’re not fooling anyone. At least I hope not.  I hate to pick on Missouri Senator Josh Hawley when he’s already getting well-deserved grief elsewhere, but c’mon. Really? Hawley: “I think that this impeachment effort is, I mean, I think it’s blatantly unconstitutional. It’s a really, really, really dangerous precedent.”

What could that possibly mean? Dangerous? …

By what standard is it so dangerous to bar from further office a defeated one-term president who has created a legitimate case for impeachment, one so serious that Congress wants to move ahead despite the obstacles and disincentives and is somehow able to muster at least 67 votes in the Senate? Suppose it is a mistake in that situation to prevent the electorate from changing their minds and electing this unpopular, disgraced president to a second term after all. Is it really a significant danger only avoided by closing the impeachment window as soon as the next president takes office? Or is it, more realistically, a circumstance so unusual that it’s unlikely to happen again, and wouldn’t matter a whole lot if it did?

Morning Consult Poll: Joe Biden begins his presidency with an approval rating of 56-34, which is a higher job approval than Donald Trump held during his entire term. Biden starts with a positive net approval across all genders, ages, and race. Only “rural” voters are negative.

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) January 26, 2021

John Ganz:

My fascism problem and yours

After weeks (years, really) of debate on the subject I realized I’d never really committed to writing my argument about why I think it’s appropriate to talk about fascism in regards to Trump and Trumpism. I do not think it’s so straightforward that Trump or the preponderance of his followers are self-conscious fascists. I think critics of the fascism position have correctly pointed out that the number of hardcore, self-avowed fascists in the United States is quite small and not organized into a formidable force, but nevertheless I would say that Trump represents an incipient or inchoate fascism, as others have argued, and moreover that Trumpism has a fascist structure.

What do I mean by this? Trump’s politics contains an inspired, charismatic leader (“I alone can fix it”) on a mission to restore a diseased national body (“Make America Great Again,” Crippled America, etc.), standing in the way of this are corrupt elites and various unclean ethnic minorities, the use of street and paramilitary violence is part of the solution to this corruption, removing obstacles to the leader’s will. Further, no possible abrogation of the providential leader’s power can be legitimate: it is always ipso facto fraudulent, part of the web of deceit spun by the corrupt elites. Often these elites are imagined to be in vast international conspiracies against the good people of the true nation.

NEW: Marjorie Taylor Greene indicated support for executing prominent Democrats in Facebook comments, videos, and likes in 2018 and 2019

— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) January 26, 2021

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