Tone Deaf in Washington — and Moscow
Author: Greg Valliere
September 14, 2022
BIDEN’S CREDIBILITIY PROBLEM: He seems to believe that inflation will soon be falling, but more spending in the Inflation Reduction Act doesn’t seem like a successful prescription. Yesterday’s CPI data stunned Wall Street and virtually guarantees aggressive Fed tightening for months to come.
YET THE MOOD WAS CELEBRATORY as thousands on the White House lawn were serenaded by James Taylor, and Biden declared victory. But his administration, and the Fed, have consistently gotten the inflation narrative wrong; it isn’t just about gasoline prices — it’s also about food prices and core inflation, still stubbornly high.
JUST AS REPUBLICANS WERE PREPARING TO POUNCE on Biden’s tone deaf celebration, Sen. Graham stunned his colleagues by stepping on their inflation message. Graham announced his support for a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, reversing his previous position that the states should decide.
GOP SENATORS WERE ANGRY at the publicity-hungry Graham; many of their candidates in this fall’s elections have lost altitude since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the party doesn’t want to address the issue. They’re bucking public opinion on abortion, and Graham just shined a spotlight on the party’s divisions.
BIDEN’S AIDES WERE SHOCKED at the political lifeline they’d just been handed. Some were quoted in this morning’s Politico as being grateful to Graham for diverting attention away from the CPI report and the subsequent market crash.
THEN DEMOCRATS GOT ANOTHER GIFT, an apparent Senate primary victory in New Hampshire by a pro-Trump Republican who claims that Biden’s victory in 2020 was rigged. The incumbent Democrat, Maggie Hassan, was considered the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate this fall, and now she may hang on against the election denying-Trump supporter.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS GRIM for both parties: The Democrats cannot successfully run by proclaiming that inflation is easing, and the Republicans cannot successfully run on banning abortion. Voters think Washington doesn’t appreciate the magnitude of inflation, while elections in Kansas and elsewhere show that women (and many men) are angry about strict abortion curbs.
OUR BOTTOM LINE after the New Hampshire vote is that Democrats still have a slightly better than 50-50 chance of keeping the Senate, while Republicans are still likely to regain control of the House — but their margin may be razor-thin.
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SPEAKING OF TONE-DEAF . . . the biggest story of the year continues in Ukraine, as Russian troop morale collapses; they’re fleeing, leaving their weapons behind. Public criticism of Vladimir Putin within Russia is equally astonishing; he’s more than tone-deaf — he’s delusional — and it might be just a matter of time before he is forcibly ousted.
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