Opinion | Disenchanted Seniors for Biden – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“The ad opens with amateur footage of an older, white-haired woman, smiling and chatting with the toddler snuggled in her lap. In a voice-over, a younger woman reminisces about how her grandmother’s home had always been “the safe place.”

Then came the coronavirus.

“It was difficult to comprehend how quickly everything kind of spiraled downwards,” says the woman, Jessica, from Greenfield, Wis., now shown on camera. Almost as soon as the family realized that her grandmother, Susana Martinez, was sick with Covid-19, she was gone.

“The president made a huge mistake in downplaying this virus,” says Jessica, lamenting his lack of leadership and his unwillingness to take responsibility and devote appropriate resources to address the crisis.

“It felt like our elderly have not been a priority for this administration — that they don’t matter,” she says. “And I feel like my grandmother didn’t matter.”

Ouch. This 60-second TV spot was rolled out last week by Joe Biden’s presidential campaign “to highlight the pandemic’s impact on older Americans and their families,” per the announcement. Part of a $14.5 million media buy for the final week of July, the ad was scheduled to receive prominent play on “shows on daytime television that have high viewership among older Americans.” In the Latino-rich states of Florida and Arizona, a Spanish-language version also ran.”

Opinion | Just How Far Will Joe Biden Go? – by Michelle Cottle – The New York Times

This is a good report into who surrounds and talks regularly to Joe Biden. Many of his top advisors have been with him for decades.  It ends:

“After receiving Mr. Sanders’ endorsement, Mr. Biden kicked things up a notch. As proof of their commitment to party harmony, the former rivals created a half-dozen of those working groups, called “unity task forces.” The groups — each with five or six appointees from the Biden camp and three from the Sanders camp — were charged with drawing up recommendations on health care, climate change, criminal justice reform, immigration, education and the economy.

This gave the ideological wings of the party a safe space in which to come together, listen to each other and hammer out ideas everyone could live with, say Biden insiders. With the pandemic having derailed the usual modes of outreach, the groups were a way to productively channel the energy of the Sanders revolution.

The groups’ final recommendations, released in an 110-page document on July 8, featured some wins for the left, such as the withholding of federal funds from states that use cash bail and an accelerated timetable for achieving net-zero emissions.

Progressive activists I spoke to pointed to the experiment as a hopeful sign that the campaign was taking their ideas seriously and they were pleased that some of their influential allies, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, were included.

“There is improvement in the climate crisis and criminal justice sections, compared to Biden’s previous positions on the subject,” said Joseph Geevarghese, the executive director of Our Revolution, a grass roots group spun out of Mr. Sander’s 2016 presidential run. “There should be no doubt that this is a direct result of outside pressure at this moment.”

But the proposals stopped short of endorsing systemic overhauls like the Green New Deal or Medicare for All, and steered clear of hot button issues like abolishing ICE, decriminalizing border crossings, fully legalizing pot and banning fracking. The document is a statement of progressive goals — but it is not pushing for seismic disruption.

“There are some lines we’re not going to cross,” said Mr. Klain. “He’s not going to embrace Medicare For All. He did not run on Medicare for All. He ran on a campaign that critiqued Medicare for All, and that’s not going to change.”

Mr. Biden is “not a revolutionary who is going to blow everything up,” said Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, an old friend of Mr. Biden’s who now holds his old Senate seat.

Mr. Biden also swiftly came out against the “defund police” movement. In fact, the reform plan he put forward included a funding boost for community policing — which did not endear him to some activists. Around 50 progressive groups sent Mr. Biden a letter warning that failing to back a more aggressive overhaul could cost him support among Black voters. Maybe. Maybe not. Black voters’ views on policing are complicated. And Mr. Biden’s basic instinct remains not to raze but to “Build Back Better,” as he has named his economic plan.

On July 9, Mr. Biden visited a metal-works factory on the outskirts of Scranton, Pa., his hometown, to talk up Part 1 of that plan. This first plank focused on reviving manufacturing and included measures such as a $300 billion increase in R&D investment and $400 billion in procurement spending on American-made goods. He promised more to come in a populist speech with a touch of nationalism.

The following week, he debuted his four-year, $2 trillion plan for investing in infrastructure and clean energy. And on Tuesday, he proposed a $775 billion investment to tackle the nation’s “caregiving crisis.” His next big announcement is expected to be his plan to address racial inequity.

Election Day is just over three months away. As it nears, Democrats’ attention will shift toward the transition process and who should do what in a possible Biden government. At that point, say insiders, things will really get crazy.”

Opinion | Joe Biden Is Not Hiding. He’s Lurking. – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“Rarely has America been in greater need of competent, reassuring leadership. The pandemic has brought out the worst in President Trump, who continues to behave as if he’s presiding over a sick spinoff of “The Apprentice” during sweeps week. His misinformation briefings are such a disgrace that his advisers have sought to downsize them. His hawking of drugs of unproven efficacy and potential lethality is grossly irresponsible. His call for citizens to “LIBERATE” certain (Democratic-led) states from his own administration’s social-distancing policies was nuts. And just when you thought his performance could not get more erratic, there he was, musing about “cleaning” Covid-19 patients with a shot of disinfectant.

A majority of Americans, polling shows, are unimpressed.

For many Democrats, the remedy is obvious: Former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee for president, should be elbowing his way into the conversation. He should be doing more interviews, issuing sharper critiques, proffering better plans — basically presenting himself as a smarter, steadier alternative to Mr. Trump. Since the pandemic took holdthere has been much discussion about Mr. Biden’s having become “invisible” and what it will take for him to break through. (Even he is said to be growing twitchy.) Why, frustrated supporters fret, won’t he fight for a higher profile?

There are plenty of good answers to this question. Some speak to the basic political reality of national crises and some to Mr. Biden’s particular quirks.

First, the basics: In times of upheaval — be it a war, terror attack, hurricane or pandemic — the commander in chief commands center stage. No matter how ill equipped a president may be, he is the nation’s daddy figure, and anxious Americans look to him for guidance and action.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT

Excellent op-ed Michelle Cottle, thank you. I started with horror, because I found the Headline insulting and derogatory. How dare you say that Joe Biden is Lurking. It slowly dawned on me that it is possible you did not write that insulting headline. You ended, “Much can happen in six months. But there’s no reason to believe that having Mr. Biden more in the president’s face at this time would help him in November. Better for now to keep the election a referendum on Mr. Trump. As one former Democratic operative put it, “When a guy is digging his own grave, you don’t fight him for the shovel.”” Well said! This is not the first time that I have been appalled by the headline of what turned out to be a well written op-ed. There seems to be a problem at this news organization with insulting or misleading headlines.

Reply3 Recommended


Thomas Jennett commented 3 hours ago

Thomas Jennett
Malibu, CA

@David Lindsay Jr. I’m thinking that since she’s on the editorial board she has some say so about her own headline. And it is a bad headline. “Lurking” never sounds good. In context with the creepy allegations – stealth hair sniffing/kissing and the Tarra Reade business – lurker sounds extra unsavory.

Reply2 Recommended

Opinion | Elizabeth Warren Has Hit Democrats’ Presidential Glass Ceiling – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“Talk about a head-spinner. Just a few days ago, Joe Biden’s candidacy was being prepped for burial, while Bernie Sanders’s revolution was considered unstoppable. But after the Biden blowout in South Carolina, Super Tuesday voters decided to shake things up.

As the results came rolling in, from east to west, political anchors delivered a breathless play-by-play of how Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders were divvying up the map and turning this into a two-man race. Their remaining major rivals, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg, registered as little more than afterthoughts. Ms. Warren came in third in her home state of Massachusetts, behind both Biden and Sanders.

And so, after all the tumult, the Democratic race has come down to this: Two straight white septuagenarian men fighting over the soul of the party — whatever that turns out to be.

Let us state that Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have many fine qualities. Either would make a better president than the unstable man-child currently degrading the office. That said, for the party of progress, youth and diversity, a final face-off between two lifelong politicians born during World War II leaves much to be desired. And it says something depressing about the challenges women candidates still confront in their quest to shatter the presidential glass ceiling.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
I was and remain a huge Hillary Clinton fan and supporter. This piece does not impress me, to be polite. Gender roles are important, but not the only, or the top issues. Michelle Cottle writes: “Amy Klobuchar . . . noted that a woman with his résumé — a 38-year-old former mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana — would never be taken seriously.” I thought this was an example of why Klobushar wasn’t presidential material at this point. One of the old saws I’ve picked up is that congress people mostly talk, while mayors and governors execute and manage. There is enough truth in the idea, to suggest that mayors might have proved more than congress people, by way of managing detail, crisis, and working under fire. Nicholas Kristof wrote a long NYT article about the scandal in California of keeping a black teenager on death row, when half a dozen experts argued he had been framed and railroaded. Who was responsible, Kamala Harris for one, who was the Attorney General, and found it impolitic to admit a huge mistake, in fact, criminal behavior, by prosecutors and sheriffs.

Opinion | Thank You, Iowa – By Michelle Cottle -New York Times


Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.



Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

“As Iowa Democrats struggle to tally votes and claw their way out of the rubble of Monday’s caucus crackup, there continues to be angst and outrage about the damage the Hawkeye State has inflicted on the democratic process — and the Democratic process. Terms like “catastrophe,” “debacle,” “fiascoanddisaster” are being tossed about like salad greens.

That’s one way to look at the situation. Another way is that Iowa has done the Democratic Party — the nation, even — a tremendous service. Yes, the reporting of votes was a perfect storm of incompetence. And the muddled outcome failed to give any of the candidates the electoral tailwind about which they’d been fantasizing. But, delayed and deflated though they were, the results provided more clarity than anyone is giving them credit for — in some regards more than if the voting had gone off as planned. Among the valuable takeaways:

1. There is not yet a fresh burst of voter participation. At last count, turnout in Iowa was on track to hit 2016 levels — in the neighborhood of 170,000 caucus goers — a far cry from the Obama-inspired groundswell of 2008, for which about 240,000 Iowans showed up. This should give particular pause to anyone betting on Bernie Sanders’ argument that he will win by creating a new movement, fueled by people who normally don’t vote. But it should also be a warning for anyone counting on anti-Trump fervor to mobilize the masses. Clearly, the masses still need some convincing. Iowa deserves credit for revealing that sooner rather than later.

2. Even moderate Democrats have real concerns about Joe Biden’s ability to go the distance. The former vice president has many fine qualities. His resume is gold-plated, particularly in the crucial area of foreign policy. He’s got his regular-Joe patter down, he adores retail politics and arguably nobody feels voters’ pain better than him. Mr. Biden should have the so-called moderate lane of this race locked down. But he doesn’t. And whatever the precise vote tally, his lagging behind not just the field’s hard-charging progressives, Mr. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but also Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is a sign that he needs to up his game.”

Opinion | Why Questions on Women Candidates Strike a Nerve – by Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


“. . . . Such biases can provoke a visceral response, noted Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, in a 2016 piece for The Atlantic. Among other studies, he cited a 2010 paper by two Yale researchers who found that “people’s views of a fictional male state senator did not change when they were told he was ambitious. When told that a fictional female state senator was ambitious, however, men and women alike ‘experienced feelings of moral outrage,’ such as contempt, anger, and disgust.”

Contempt. Anger. Disgust. That’s hardly the basis for a level playing field.

Polling doesn’t much clarify the matter. While most Americans claim they are ready for a woman president, far fewer see other people as quite so open to the possibility. A September poll by Lean In, a women’s advocacy group, found that while 53 percent of voters considered themselves “extremely” or “very ready” for a woman president, only 16 percent thought most Americans felt the same.

A poll conducted in June by Ipsos for The Daily Beast found that 74 percent of independents and Democrats said they were personally comfortable with a woman president, but only 33 percent thought the same of their neighbors. (A full 20 percent of Independent and Democratic men agreed that “women are less effective in politics than men.”) An August survey by Ipsos and USA Today found that only 44 percent of likely Democratic primary voters thought their neighbors would be comfortable with a woman president.

This goes beyond the time-honored dodge of: I’m not sexist/racist/homophobic, but I’m not so sure about my neighbors. “If voters don’t think that America is ready, they tend to be less likely to vote for a woman themselves,” the chief executive of Lean In, Rachel Thomas, told ABC News.”

Amen, Thank you Michelle Cottle. Here is one of the top comments at the NYT I endorsed:

Times Pick

I am a 68 year old woman who has worked on women’s issues for 50 years. It is not anti-women for someone not to believe a woman can win the Presidency. Many people don’t think it is possible. I think many women don’t think it is possible. That doesn’t mean they don’t want it to happen. I believe that there was a misunderstanding in the conversation that Warren and Sanders had. If I had to choose sides I would think that Sanders is correct. The bigger point to me is, if Sanders had made the statement, why make such a big issue out of someone’s honest opinion? Why attack a fellow Democrat? As a feminist I do not require everyone to believe a woman could win a Presidential election in the United States at this time. I do draw the line at opposing a woman as President. That is a different matter.

12 Replies287 Recommended


Opinion | The Unraveling of Mick Mulvaney – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


Michelle Cottle NYT

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

CreditCreditIllustration by The New York Times; photographs by Doug Mills/The New York Times, Samuel Corum for The New York Times, and Getty Images

“There he goes again.

This weekend, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, sat down with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” to try to bind some of the gaping wounds he’d inflicted on President Trump’s impeachment defense in recent days. Instead, Mr. Mulvaney again flubbed his lines, making himself look even more inept and dishonest. Yet this alone does not fully address why the White House ringmaster now finds himself an object of ridicule even among members of his own party — a situation for which he is only partly to blame.

Mr. Mulvaney’s adventure began on Thursday at a news briefing held so that he could explain why Mr. Trump’s decision to host next year’s Group of 7 summit at the struggling Trump Doral golf resort in Miami was not another bit of naked self-dealing — or, as Mr. Trump himself put it on Monday, not a violation of “this phony Emoluments clause.” After a deluge of criticism from Republicans, Mr. Trump reversed the decision on Saturday, blaming “the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners” for causing a fuss.

Journalists being the impertinent nudges they are, Mr. Mulvaney soon found himself fielding questions about impeachment. Next thing you know, he’s peevishly lecturing everyone that not only had Mr. Trump’s order to withhold aid money from Ukraine been partly contingent on Ukraine agreeing to investigate his political enemies but that this sort of thing happens all the time. “I have news for everybody: Get over it,” he snipped.

Now, while Mr. Trump’s apologists have not yet settled on a precise rationalization for why the president pressured a foreign government to meddle in American elections, some defenders have clung to the position that there was no quid pro quo. As such, Mr. Mulvaney’s admission, delivered on camera and in front of the press corps, was not met with universal acclaim within Trumpworld.”

Opinion | Hey  Democrats- What About the Senate? – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times

By Michelle Cottle

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Mitch McConnell on the senators-only elevator at the Capitol.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

“Round 1 of the Democratic presidential primary debates is history, leaving the public with much to chew over. So many candidates. So many promises. So many governing visions for where to take the nation.

Here’s the stark reality: Regardless of who captures the Democratic nomination, and possibly the White House, next year, his or her grand plans will be for naught unless there is a shift in the United States Senate.”

David Lindsay:

Good essay. Here is my favorite comment so far:

San Francisco

Well, here’s the good news: the states Dems need to win the White House AND flip the Senate (and control state legislatures to control 2021 redistricting) ARE THE SAME ELEVEN STATES. Register a new Democratic voter in those states, and you’ve registered someone who will advance all three goals. Go to Swing left.org to learn about the eleven states and how to register voters in them even if you don’t live there.

10 Replies352 Recommended