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Biden’s collapsing case and other commentary

From the left: Biden’s Collapsing Case

“Joe Biden is in trouble,” declares The New Republic’s Osita Nwanevu — not because his campaign is faltering, but because his “theory of change, the central argument of his campaign, is unraveling before our eyes.” The former vice president emphasizes his “personal success in bridging ideological divides” — yet his “Republican friends” are now “abetting the president’s attacks on his son.” And it isn’t just the Trump era that haunts Biden: “He has little to show for” his Obama-era efforts to work with the GOP. In short, “Biden has promised a return to our political past, or at least the version of that past he remembers” — but that merely exposes his inability to handle “the forces shaping contemporary politics.”

Impeachment watch: A Boost to the GOP

“House Republicans have been struggling mightily to recruit candidates in key battleground districts,” reports Politico’s Ally Mutnick, but now “the Democratic impeachment drive is delivering a much-needed jolt to their efforts.” That’s because “once-wary” potential candidates, “seizing on impeachment and seeking to protect Donald Trump,” have started stepping up to run for Democratic-held House seats in Trump-supporting areas, and Republican groups have “launched a seven-figure TV ad blitz in targeted districts.” The party has also seen an “uptick in fundraising” — attributable, strategists say, to an “impeachment-fueled surge in base enthusiasm.” To be sure, Democrats still have “financial dominance” in the battle for the House, but Republicans see impeachment as “a means to play catch up” — and win.

Researcher: The ‘Dematerializing West’

Andrew McAfee shares some astonishing good news at Reason: “Americans are consuming fewer resources per capita,” particularly such major ones as “steel, copper, fertilizer, timber and paper,” even while the economy grows. As UK researcher Chris Goodall observed, the surprising shift shows that “a sustainable economy does not necessarily have to be a no-growth economy.” McAfee calls it “dematerialization”: Technological advances let us grow our economy while consuming less, a trend that has grown pronounced since 1970 in America and more recently in Britain. Even “total American energy use in 2017 was down almost 2 percent from its 2008 peak.” Developing nations such as India and China aren’t there yet, but even they “will start getting more from less of at least some resources in the not-too-distant future.”

From the right: The Age of Woke Capitalism

In Tuesday’s show, Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted the hypocrisy of “the age of ‘woke’ capital,” when companies “dare you to be as virtuous as they are.” What virtues? The NBA forced Houston general manager Daryl Morey to remove his tweet supporting pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters. Meanwhile, Golden State coach Steve Kerr — who “has no problem speaking his mind” to attack Team Trump and push gun control and other liberal social policies — claims he doesn’t “know what to make” of the Hong Kong face-off between democratic dissidents and Communist totalitarians. So, says Carlson, “if it’s a choice between supporting the United States” or “getting rich from China,” American elites will choose the Communist dictatorship. We didn’t export “American freedoms to China” — the supposedly inevitable result of free trade with the Asian behemoth. Instead, our elites “imported Chinese authoritarianism here.”

Media watch: Bloomberg Owes an Explanation

Bloomberg Law “failed to live up to” its responsibilities of honesty and fairness when it “smeared conservative lawyer Leif Olson in a hit piece last month,” A.G. Hamilton snaps at National Review. Olson, newly hired at the Labor Department, had to resign after Bloomberg Law reporter Benjamin Penn falsely painted an old Olson tweet as anti-Semitic, even though it was clearly sarcastic and aimed at mocking anti-Semites. When even “mainstream and liberal reporters” criticized Penn’s story, the Labor Department rehired Olson — yet Bloomberg “chose to stand behind Penn’s ‘reporting’ ” for more than a month, only retracting it last Friday. The outlet still “owes its readers and the public an explanation of why, and of how it plans” to prevent such failures in the future.

— Compiled by Karl Salzmann

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