Welcome back, my people. I’ve missed you. We’re making up for lost time here.
→ The winner of last night’s debate: Pitting Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis against California’s Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, the winner was. . . Donald Trump. That was the main takeaway from the so-called Red State vs. Blue State Debate, hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity, in Alpharetta, Georgia.
It was a reminder why so many Americans are over conventional politics—why Trump has dominated the GOP primary, why Democrats and independents have flocked to RFK Jr., why Trumpy non-Trump Republicans like Vivek Ramaswamy have done so well.
Probably the highlight of the evening was Newsom sanctimoniously correcting DeSantis’s pronunciation of Vice President Kamala Harris’s first name. (Never mind that every Democrat in California knows Newsom hates Harris.)
It was all self-righteousness and talking points and canned lines. “People are leaving California in droves!” DeSantis said (more than once). “You’re on a book-banning binge!” Newsom shot back. (Which is not really fair, but so what?)
There was also some back and forth about gun safety, gas prices, inflation, crime, and people defecating on the streets of San Francisco and China. Whatever. Nobody onstage won. Neither is going to be president—at least, not anytime soon. Everything is exactly the way it was before it started. Carry on. (Editor’s note: This has been a guest item from Peter Savodnik.)
→ Different factions battle in Biden White House: President Biden’s official Twitter account posted a message this week that seemed to imply that Israel was committing terrorism: “Hamas unleashed a terrorist attack because they fear nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace. To continue down the path of terror, violence, killing, and war is to give Hamas what they seek. We can’t do that.” But then other members of his team frantically told the press there’s been no change in policy, no calls for cease-fire. It’s a minor moment but a telling one. Because Biden—shuffling around, joking about the nuclear football, and calling Trump a “congressman” this week—is not in charge. And in fact, whoever has the best-looking ice cream cone—I’m talking about a really good one, fresh, nice scoop shape—can set international policy for the day.
→ Economy growing well: America’s economy grew 5.2 percent last quarter, beating expectations. We love to see it. Sure, interest rates mean my home value has dipped (hell), but I’m looking at the big picture (also hell, but hopefully with better interest rates).