Blue Counties Lead U.S. COVID Economic Recovery

“The geography of America’s economic engine is heavily concentrated in counties that Joe Biden won in 2020. These counties are much more heavily vaccinated than the rest of the country and thus better able to withstand the economic effects of Covid’s delta variant. … The 520 counties Biden won account for fully 71% of U.S. gross domestic product, while the 2,564 that Trump carried produced just 29%. In other words, America’s economic engine is bluer than ever.”

Bloomberg Businessweek

‘Socially Liberal’ Republicans Are too Scared to Leave GOP

“Data and interviews with Gen-Z Republicans illustrate a cap on young Republicans’ more socially liberal views, particularly as it pertains to recent political fights over ‘cancel culture’ and how socially progressive or ‘woke’ Americans should be. … This could be related to research that suggests Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that they self-censor their political views due to fear of judgment for what they believe.”

FiveThirtyEight

Biden Firm on Afghan Withdrawal — No One Will Be Fired

“Let me be clear: The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul was going to be hard and painful no matter when it started, when we began. It would have been true if we had started a month ago — or a month from now. There’s no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss of heartbreaking images you see on television. It’s just a fact.”

— President Joe Biden, who “isn’t inclined to fire any senior national security officials over the chaos in Kabul unless the situation drastically deteriorates or there’s significant loss of American life,” Axios reports.

Republican Kinzinger Blames Trump for Afghan Crisis

“Let’s keep in mind, Mike Pompeo met with the Taliban. As Donald Trump was publicly saying, ‘We have to get out of Afghanistan at all costs. It’s not worth it,’ Mike Pompeo meets with the Taliban and tries to negotiate something.” He added: “They set this up to fail. But always, of course, Joe Biden could have easily turned this around, and instead used it as the excuse to get out.”

— Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) placed blame on the Trump administration for the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, saying its 2020 agreement with the Taliban sowed the seeds for the United States’ turbulent exit from the country, CNN reports.

Mo Brooks Understands Would-Be White House Bomber

“Although this terrorist’s motivation is not yet publicly known, and generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society The way to stop Socialism’s march is for patriotic Americans to fight back in the 2022 and 2024 election.”

— House members criticized Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) after he released a statement “that appeared to be sympathetic to the man police had arrested earlier in the day in connection with a bomb threat near the U.S. Capitol,” NBC News reports.

Afghans Suffering from ‘Long War’ Syndrome

“It wasn’t crazy for President Biden and his national security team, including the Pentagon, to have imagined that the Afghan forces — with superior technology and manpower — could have done a much better job holding the Taliban at bay. … But senior U.S. officials are privately acknowledging that the Afghans appear psychologically defeated — and there was insufficient accounting for the psychological consequences of the long war.”

Jonathan Swan

MTG Resorts to Fatalism

“Everybody needs to get back down to common sense and remember that, you know, we’re human, we can’t live forever, we’re going to catch all kinds of diseases and illnesses and other viruses, and we get hurt sometimes.”

— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) waved off concerns over hospitals exceeding capacity due to COVID-19, saying “we can’t live forever,” The Hill reports.