Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ninety-nine years well lived -- Feb. 18, 2021 column

By MARSHA MERCER

“When you put your life on the line for other people, you become a hero & one day I truly wanna be someones hero like you are mine!” a girl named Jasmine wrote in red ink on pink construction paper.

I came across the note in stacks of thank you cards from school children who had heard Guy DeGenaro talk about his experience as a glider pilot in World War II.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, only about 325,000 remain, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported last Veterans Day. Every day, about 300 veterans of World War II leave us.

I’d like to tell you about one of them.

On his 18th birthday, Nov. 20, 1939, with Europe at war, DeGenaro left his home in New Haven, Conn., and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was a sergeant major shuffling paper when he learned volunteers were being sought for a dangerous mission.

“Almost as a lark, I said I’d put my name down,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2017. He became one of the first class trained in piloting gliders.

An Army website describes gliders as “the stealth technology of their day.” Lacking engines and unarmed, they were powered by air currents and the courage of their pilots. Army Gen. William C. Westmoreland described glider pilots as “the only aviators during World War II who had no motors, no parachutes, and no second chances.”

On D-Day, DeGenaro piloted a British-made Horsa glider about 6 miles behind German defenses in the Normandy invasion. He hit the ground going 70 mph, slowed the glider by hitting two or three Rommel’s Asparagus, the tall anti-glider poles installed by the Germans days before, and finally drew the aircraft to a stop by steering the nose between two trees, sheering off both wings.

“This really could be dangerous,” he later recalled thinking.

Miraculously, no one was hurt. He, the co-pilot and six 82nd Airborne troops clambered from the wreck and made a wild dash for the nearby hedgerow ditch with bullets flying in all directions. Later, a jeep and trailer were unloaded in usable condition.   

DeGenaro served on two other glider missions in Europe during World War II, then made a career in the Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. But he was always thinking ahead. He took advantage of educational opportunities in the military to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

After he retired from the Air Force in 1968, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Florida and became a professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University, teaching for 26 years. He then started a management consulting firm and was still working in his 90s.

He married a Texan named Jennie Jennings in 1948. She became a teacher and administrator in Henrico County. When she died in 2014, he continued to live independently, with help from a support team that included a weekly cleaning lady, meals delivered by a catering company and help from a friend with paperwork, shopping and driving him to doctors’ appointments. 

In his 1998 book, “The Greatest Generation,” Tom Brokaw praises its members’ common purpose and values -- duty, honor, courage, service, love of family and country, and self-responsibility.

The DeGenaros, characteristically of the generation, downplayed their individual roles in making their country and world better. As the generation’s numbers dwindled, he talked more about the war with school groups, in programs at the Virginia War Memorial and with reporters.

Last November, DeGenaro celebrated his 99th birthday with a small family gathering. He’d have a real party when he turned 100 and COVID-19 was in the past, the family agreed.

His mind remained sharp. He kept up with current affairs and the stock market, taking the conservative position in many spirited discussions about politics. His sly smile was a tip-off he was about to zing me. He learned to Zoom so we could talk during the pandemic.

For, you see, I’m Guy and Jennie DeGenaro’s only child. He was my No. 1 reader, always supportive, even when we disagreed. I wish he could read this column. He died Feb. 13.

Several years ago, a 7th grader wrote my dad: “Even though you think you are not a hero you will always be a hero in my eyes.”

Mine too.

(Marsha Mercer writes from Washington. You may contact her at marsha.mercer@yahoo.com)

©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

In the time of COVID, a shot of hope -- Feb. 11, 2021 column

By MARSHA MERCER

I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week and felt a surge of relief, gratitude and irrational exuberance.

Irrational because a first dose is just that. A second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is needed three weeks later for full effectiveness. Plus, we don’t know if someone fully vaccinated can spread the coronavirus.

I never expected to get misty over a shot, but I did. Months lost to waiting and worrying about COVID-19, the unpredictable, deadly disease that has upended all our lives, could be nearly over.

Millions of Americans are lining up every day and rolling up our sleeves to get something that literally could save our lives. We are so lucky.

Lucky all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Vaccines are available, and we trust them. We were able to sign up online, and we could get to a vaccination center at the day and time specified.

I pre-registered for a vaccination through the Alexandria Health Department one month and a day before I received the shot.

Yet not all Americans are lucky enough. People in rural areas who lack the Internet or transportation to a vaccination site can, and are, getting left behind. This must change.

At George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, kind and efficient medical staffers wearing masks and plastic shields took my temperature and asked the now-familiar screening questions about exposure to the coronavirus.

I received an orange slip of paper and stood in another short line in the gym until someone at one of the many tables waved me over with a green “READY” sign. After I got my shot, which I hardly felt, staff asked me to wait 15 minutes in case of allergic reaction. Like most people, I had no reaction at all.

“Your arm is going to be sore -- not right away. Probably tomorrow,” the nurse told me. “But that’s OK.” She was right. The soreness didn’t last.

The COVID-19 vaccination delivery system is finally working.

I also signed up online for my elderly dad who lives in Richmond. He got an appointment a couple of weeks later in January. The contact person said everyone on her call list was 88 to 99 years old.

I drove my dad to the center, and we were able to wait in the car until the shot came to him about 45 minutes after his appointed time. I was so grateful we didn’t have to use the wheelchair I’d borrowed – and grateful for the man who helped direct traffic and then went car to car, offering a prayer to each.

But vaccination delivery varies greatly depending on where you live. A friend’s mother has spent many hours on the phone, trying to book appointments for herself and her mother, who’s in her 90s. The experience left her in tears of frustration and anger.

More than 470,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, among them about 100,000 in the last month. Millions have lost their jobs and businesses. And yet, with the rollout of vaccinations, there’s hope.

The number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations nationally is dropping, though it’s still high.

President Joe Biden appears likely to meet his goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days. About 1.5 million shots are being given daily, reported the White House, which is expanding doses and vaccination sites.

Experts say 70% to 90% of us need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, when most of the population is immune either through having had the disease or vaccinations. More outreach is planned to Blacks and Hispanics, who are wary of the vaccines.

As more people get vaccinated and tell their friends and family, others are more likely to want vaccinations, surveys show.

“Perhaps more important than any message is the impact of seeing a neighbor, friend or family member get their shots without any adverse effects,” Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman said, releasing a KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey Jan. 27.

About half those who want to get vaccinated as soon as possible know someone who has already gotten a dose.

I plan to get my second dose when I can. I urge you to roll up your sleeve, too. We can do this. We must.

©2021 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

What cows' legs have to do with economic stimulus -- Feb. 4, 2021 column

By MARSHA MERCER

President Joe Biden wants Republican support for his economic stimulus package, but the clock’s ticking.

“We need to act. We need to act fast,” Biden said Wednesday in a private conference call with House Democrats, according to news reports.

To win Republican votes, the president is willing to negotiate on some parts of his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan package, but he doesn’t want to talk endlessly.

He wants Congress to send him a bill to sign by March 14, when extended unemployment benefits expire for millions of Americans.

Biden met Monday with 10 Republican senators whose $618 billion counterproposal is one third the size of Biden’s plan. Among GOP provisions -- $1,000 checks to individuals, instead of Biden’s $1,400 checks, and no $15 minimum wage.

Biden wants to “go big,” as do House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and even West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican.

“We need to quit counting the egg-sucking legs on the cows and count the cows and just move,” Justice said in TV interviews Wednesday. In other words, pass something and not worry about the cost.

Biden’s choice: Make good on his promise of bipartisanship by watering down his plan to appease Republicans or deliver on the promise of meaningful help to millions hurt by the pandemic.

Biden believes in compromise, but compromise requires both sides act in good faith. As usual, each side is accusing the other of playing a crass political game.

But the wide gap between the packages raises the question whether Republicans seriously want bipartisanship – or just talking points for the next campaign.

We’ve been here before. When President Barack Obama took office in 2009 with Biden as his vice president, the country was sliding into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Obama wanted Republican support for his economic stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“There was a pervasive nostalgia in Washington, both before I was elected and during my presidency, for a bygone era of bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill,” Obama writes in his memoir, “A Promised Land.”

To court Republicans, he shrank the stimulus package – and, many economists believe, made it much less effective, slowing the recovery.

Obama hoped he might “catch GOP leaders by surprise and ease their suspicions, helping to build working relationships that could carry over to other issues. And if, as was more likely, the gambit didn’t work and Republicans rejected my overtures, then at least voters would know who was to blame for Washington’s dysfunction,” he writes.

None of that happened. His $787 billion recovery act passed – without a single Republican vote. Republicans then obstructed his subsequent initiatives at every turn. Congressional Democrats later pushed through the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare -- again with zero Republican votes.

But, voters didn’t blame Republicans for dysfunctional government. To the contrary, in the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans, fueled by the Tea Partiers, captured dozens of seats and control of the House and gained seats in the Senate.

Biden and congressional Democrats know what they’re up against. So, they again are pressing forward with a plan to pass the economic stimulus with only Democratic support by using a budgetary tool known as reconciliation.

If no Republicans join, Democrats could pass the bill with 51 votes in the Senate, bypassing the usual 60 vote requirement. The Senate is split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

Republicans are crying foul, of course, but they used reconciliation to pass the 2017 tax cuts without any Democratic support.

In his memoir, Obama recounts a story Biden shared about his run-in as a senator with Mitch McConnell. After the Republican leader blocked a bill Biden was sponsoring, Biden tried to explain its merits. McConnell held up his hand like a traffic cop and said: “You must be under the mistaken impression that I care.”

Biden is not na├»ve. He knows who and what he’s up against. He believes he can round up a few Republican votes and call the package bipartisan. But Republicans may just keep counting the legs on the cows.

© 2021 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

What's your FQ? Take our filibuster quiz -- Jan. 28, 2021 column

By MARSHA MERCER

The filibuster is safe, for now.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed the Senate to get on with its work after two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, said they would not vote to bust the filibuster.

But saying the filibuster is safe is like saying the ground beef you left on the counter with your dog in the kitchen is safe while you go to the living room to greet guests. Which is to say, not very.

Senate traditionalists have long argued that the filibuster protects the political minority’s rights and forces a bipartisan approach by requiring a supermajority to break one.

Since the filibuster impedes the party in power from enacting its agenda, Republicans now want to use it to stifle Democratic plans. Meanwhile, some Democrats want to ditch the filibuster to smooth the way for President Joe Biden, although doing so would also smooth the way for the next Republican president.

One thing is certain: With the Senate comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, the filibuster fight is just heating up.

How much do you know about the filibuster? Take our 10-question quiz.

1)     What’s the origin of the word filibuster?

A.   Italian word for an insect with a long tongue

B.    Dutch word for a pirate, with French and Spanish connections

C.    Old English word for breaking a wild horse

D.   French word for an article of women’s clothing

 

2)    When did the filibuster come to be used to prevent a vote on a bill?

A.   1820s

B.    1850s

C.    1880s

D.   1920s

 

3)    Which of these is not correct?

A.   The filibuster is a tool used to kill or change legislation in the Senate, originally by talking it to death but now by threatening to filibuster

B.    Representatives used to be able to filibuster, but the House changed its rules

C.    Senators used to be able to talk as long as they wanted on any issue

D.   The right to filibuster is in the Constitution

 

4)    Many Americans know the Senate filibuster from the classic 1939 Frank Capra film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” What did Mr. Smith – a.k.a. Jimmy Stewart -- want to build?

A.   A local savings and loan

B.    A hotel

C.    A boys’ camp

D.   A border wall

5)  What does it mean to invoke cloture?

             A. Senators vote to end debate

             B. Senators vote to go on vacation

             C. Senators go to the cloakroom and confer

             D. Senators meet lobbyists behind closed doors to raise money

 6) What’s Rule 22?

             A. A measuring tool invented by Thomas Jefferson

             B. A rule allowing unlimited free speech in the Senate

             C. A rule adopted in 1917 that permits the Senate to end debate with a two-thirds majority vote

             D. A rule prohibiting senators from talking more than 22 consecutive hours

 7) Southern Democratic senators used the filibuster in the 20th century to do what?

             A. Block civil rights legislation

             B. Block anti-lynching legislation

             C. Block rock-and-roll lyrics they thought obscene

             D. Block both civil rights and anti-lynching legislation

  8) Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina holds the Senate record for longest individual speech. How long did Thurmond filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957?

           A. 22 hours and 3 minutes

           B. 23 hours and 59 minutes

           C. 24 hours and 18 minutes

           D. 25 hours and 2 minutes

  9) In 1975, the Senate changed the number of votes required for cloture. How many votes are required now to end debate?

         A. Three-fifths – or 60 of the current 100 senators

         B.  Half plus one -- 51 senators

         C. Half plus five – 55 senators

         D. Three-fourths – 75 senators

 10) A group of Southern Democrats staged the longest filibuster in American history against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. How long did that filibuster last?

    A.  40 days

    B.  50 days

    C.  60 days

    D. 75 days

             

 

ANSWERS:

1)    B

2)    B

3)    D

4)    C

5)    A

6)    C

7)    D

8)    C

9)    A

10)  C

Sources: U.S. Senate Historical Office on senate.govarchives.govmerriam-webster.com, Congressional Research Service reports.

Marsha Mercer writes from Washington. Contact her at marsha.mercer@yahoo.com

© 2021 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

A new president pledges unity -- Jan. 21, 2021

By MARSHA MERCER

As Joe Biden became president Wednesday, he pledged to work for unity and asked all Americans to join him.

“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war,” he said in his Inaugural Address on the West Front of the Capitol.

Few would disagree – in theory, anyway.

Biden’s call for Americans to treat each other with dignity and respect, to lower the temperature, stop shouting and stand for truth are a welcome change in presidential tone and approach.

But civility doesn’t mean standing still. Biden also wasted no time showing the new direction he wants to take the country.

“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities,” he said. “Much to repair. Much to restore. Much to heal. Much to build, and much to gain.”

He signed a stack of executive orders to undo policies of his Republican predecessor -- on the coronavirus, immigration, the economic crisis and the environment. They were the first of many executive actions planned.

Even though conservatives championed President Donald Trump for using executive orders to reverse the course set by President Barack Obama, Biden’s use of executive power predictably prompted some conservatives to cry foul.

“Biden campaigned on `unity,’ but his first actions immediately reveal his true priority is the agenda of the far Left: to remake America,” the conservative Heritage Foundation said in a statement.

And there lies a real problem facing Biden and his new administration. When he  delivers on his campaign promises, he will make some Americans more comfortable and hopeful, feelings that have been in short supply the last four years, while others will be uncomfortable and angry.

To find the path of bipartisanship to enact his $1.9 trillion emergency relief  package and other legislation in the closely divided Congress, Biden will need the negotiating skills he honed during his career of legislative experience. He’ll also need to compromise at times, which likely will anger some in his own party.

But on Day One, the new president sounded the right symbolic notes:

n  ---The somber and lovely memorial of 400 lights at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool for 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus

n  ---The optimistic, if scaled-back and locked-down, swearing-in ceremony with former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton showing bipartisan support

n  ---Performances by the incredible Lady Gaga and J-Lo; the poem by 22-year-old Amanda Gorman

n  ---The normal and sane first Biden press briefing at the White House.

All were breaths of fresh air.

After the mayhem and drama, our democratic system held. We had a peaceful transfer of power.

In his address, Biden exuded decency, calm and competence – and emphasized he and we should value truth.

“We must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured,” he said.

Vice President Kamala Harris sends a message to “little girls and boys across the world” that “anything and everything is possible,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, said.

Biden asked every American to give him a chance and join in fighting our mutual foes – “anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness.”

Speaking directly to those who opposed him in the election, he said: “Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America.”

Peaceful dissent is one of America’s great strengths, he said.

Biden was right to insist on holding the inauguration outdoors, despite the threats of violence. He now needs to conquer an invisible foe, the coronavirus.

Requiring masks in all federal buildings and federal land and by federal employees and contractors is an important step. He challenged all Americans to wear masks for 100 days to slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s literally the least we can do.

He also wants to expand testing and speed vaccinations. The pitifully slow rollout of vaccines is a disgrace that undermines confidence in our government.  

When most of Americans are vaccinated, we’ll begin to go about our business, the economy will recover and people will feel good about the future. We might even unify.

©2021 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Inaugural hope for peace, if not unity -- column of Jan. 14, 2021

By MARSHA MERCER

At the first presidential inauguration I attended in person, President Ronald Reagan opened his address with a nod to the peaceful transfer of power.

“To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet, in the history of our nation, it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are,” Reagan said just after noon on Jan. 20, 1981.

“In the eyes of many in the world, this every-four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

Little did we know then how much of a miracle we took for granted.

I was new to Washington in 1981 and, sitting in the press section as the temperature hit a balmy 55 degrees, I was agog at the scene.

The oaths of office by the vice president and president, Nancy Reagan in her bright red coat, prayers, military bands, speeches and 21-gun salute all played out before a cheering throng that stretched from the West Front of the Capitol into the distance on the National Mall.

I fell in love with the “commonplace occurrence” and made a point of witnessing in person every outdoor inauguration since – nine in all. Arctic temperatures in 1985 forced Reagan to move his second inauguration inside, keeping me out along with more than 140,000 invited guests.

I loved the stirrings of hope and renewal inaugurations brought to the surface. Even if I preferred a different presidential victor, I was usually glad to see the joy that animated the day.

Let’s hope those halcyon days are not a thing of the past.

Like millions of Americans, I’ll watch Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration Wednesday on TV or online. The sad and chilling confluence of the novel coronavirus and credible threats of violence since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump have suspended our time-honored traditions.

Trump, who still falsely claims the election was stolen from him, was impeached Wednesday on a bipartisan House vote for inciting the violence at the Capitol, becoming the only president in history to be impeached twice.

He said he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, the first president to back out since Andrew Johnson refused in 1869 to attend Ulysses S. Grant’s swearing-in. Johnson too had been impeached, but one vote saved him from being removed from office.

Biden, the mayor of Washington and the governors of Virginia and Maryland have sent one message to well-wishers and those who have evil intentions alike: Stay home.

Trump issued a video statement Wednesday after he was impeached that didn’t mention impeachment or regret but said: “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.”

Our movement? At least 16 groups, some whose members are armed pro-Trumpians, have registered for protests in Washington. The FBI warns those protests as well as others planned in every state capitol this week threaten to turn violent.

Seven-foot fences have been erected around the Capitol, and tens of thousands of National Guard troops will be on duty to protect the small group of dignitaries attending the Biden inauguration in person.

Biden’s inaugural theme of “America United” sounds more aspirational than realistic, but he must start somewhere. Biden faces a monumental task as long as Trump is falsely telling more than 70 million voters he was wronged.

Americans used to understand that some of us were bound to be disappointed by a presidential contest. Defeat meant it was time to assess what went wrong, regroup and go to work – not use American flags as weapons to beat people.

The 1980 election was no picnic for incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter, who won just 49 electoral votes to Republican Reagan’s 489.

But Carter conceded to Reagan in a telephone call before 10 p.m. on Election Day and promised his support for the transition. At his inauguration, Reagan thanked Carter for his “gracious cooperation.”

We won’t hear anything like that from Biden, of course. Nor should we, for Trump hasn’t cooperated at all, much less graciously.

The best we can hope for is a peaceful day and week. That would be worth celebrating.

(© Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Democrats will be in charge, but . . . -- Jan. 7, 2021 column

By MARSHA MERCER

On the surface, Democrats’ projected control of the Senate, as well as the House and the White House, seem like manna for President-elect Joe Biden and Democrats hungry for change.

Republican Mitch McConnell, who as Senate majority leader routinely dashed Democrats’ dreams, is headed for minority status, while Democrat Chuck Schumer, who has spent 22 years in the Senate imagining this moment, is on his way to becoming majority leader.

“Senate Democrats know America is hurting – help is on the way,” Schumer said in a statement.

Nancy Pelosi, newly re-elected as House speaker, set as a top agenda item for her majority an update of the Voting Rights Act with a bill named for the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. McConnell and the Republican Senate never let the bill see the light of day.  

But don’t bet your $2,000 stimulus check on the 117th Congress taking wide-ranging action to solve many of the nation’s problems.  

Yes, the third round of stimulus checks – for $2,000 each -- is a good bet, if Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who have been projected victors in the Georgia runoff elections, win in the final vote tallies.

It will be the first time in six years Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, with Kamala Harris as vice president casting tie-breaking votes. Democrats will run the committees and decide which legislation and nominations reach the floor.

Democrats and some Republicans may agree on the need for other COVID-19 relief, to beef up the fight against the pandemic and speed vaccine distribution.

 

 

Even with the Democratic trifecta, though, we’re unlikely to see a return to the Great Society years of Lyndon Johnson, with sweeping legislative accomplishments that reshape America.

Instead, the 50-50 split in the Senate likely will deliver more conflict and gridlock for the next two years, as any disgruntled senator or group of House members can bring floor action to a screeching halt.

Biden still insists he wants to work with Republicans and Democrats at every level of government “to get big things done for our nation.” As a former senator, he believes he can work with the GOP to achieve the big things, but such razor-thin majorities as Democrats hold in both houses rarely accomplish much.

Maybe Congress can follow the example of the last time there was a 50-50 tie in the Senate. That was after another contentious election – in 2000, which was decided by the Supreme Court.

Democratic and Republican leaders negotiated a power-sharing agreement that lasted a few months, until one senator -- James Jeffords of Vermont -- switched from being a Republican to an independent and caucused with the Democrats.

In the House this time around, progressives have big ideas but lack the numbers to pass them alone. They will need help from centrist Democrats, the few who remain. Archconservative Republicans in the Freedom Caucus will dig in their heels, unwilling to compromise, if history is a guide.

Biden is already getting some pushback from his own party. Progressives lobbied him to name a woman or a person of color as attorney general and are disappointed in his choice of Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, who is white and is seen as an apolitical moderate.

And don’t forget: Both parties have their eyes on the 2022 congressional elections. The party in power typically loses seats in the midterms, and House Democrats have just 222 seats at the moment, four more than a majority, so they are vulnerable.

Crucial Senate races include one in Georgia, where Warnock, filling an unexpired term, will seek his first full term as well as in the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  

Our nation needs to unite, but as we saw with the riots at the Capitol this week, aided and abetted by the president, we sadly have a long way to go.

The next two years will be critical for Biden to prove he and the Democrats are not only in charge but also in control.

©2021 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.

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