A New Crisis for Joe Biden; Plus, Inflation Gone Wild
Author: Greg Valliere
January 30, 2024
SINCE EVERYTHING IN THIS CITY IS POLITICIZED, it’s not surprising that the planning for a U.S. strike on Iran and its proxies has become a partisan slugfest.
REPUBLICANS ARE STILL GENERALLY HAWKISH, and party leaders are blasting Joe Biden for acting too slowly, while liberals are calling for restraint and warning about getting dragged into a widening Middle East war.
SO BIDEN CAN’T WIN, because he’s likely to wait for several days, as criticism mounts, to attack Iranian interests, and that attack probably will be criticized for timidity.
AS BIDEN AND HIS ADVISERS debate how to calibrate their response, the U.S. is also in the midst of sustained military strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen in retaliation for their attacks on ships off the Arabian Peninsula.
ON CAPITOL HILL, Republicans slammed the White House for not hitting back faster, calling Biden weak and citing the Trump administration’s assassination of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in 2020 as an example of a successful deterrent strike. Since Oct. 7, Iranian-backed proxy groups have launched more than 150 attacks on U.S. service members in the Middle East.
THESE SHIITE MILITAS apparently think the U.S. is a low-risk target. So do the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen who have been firing missiles at ships traveling toward the Red Sea, disrupting international shipping. “These calculations must change,” columnist David Ignatius writes in this morning’s Washington Post.
ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Should the U.S. hit Iran directly or its proxies? How aggressively will Congress demand permission from Congress to attack? Many members of Congress cite the carnage in August 2021, when suicide bombers killed 13 U.S. service members in the midst of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
THAT PROMPTED a sharp downturn in Biden’s approval ratings from which he has never recovered, Ignatius says.
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IT TAKES A LOT to shock us, but along comes the incredible news that the cheapest seat at this year’s Super Bowl costs between $6,500 and $8,000, depending on which ticket scalpers you use. This is about 70% higher than last year’s price, partly because the game is in Las Vegas, partly because the matchup is so attractive.
THE FIRST SUPER BOWL TICKET cost $12, now the top price for one ticket on the suite level goes for close to $50,000. For non-billionaires, the biggest inflation concern in much of America is the astonishing rise in home insurance, up nearly 50% this year in many areas of the country. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues are sounding triumphant about curbing inflation, but there’s still sticker shock everywhere.
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