The scorching summer of ‘22 may be one we never forget, as a turning point in the wheels of weather and politics.
As August closes, the cicadas still sing, but they won’t for long. Black-eyed Susan flowers have just their black eyes left. Summer’s lease is almost over.
And this country has changed, sobered since the pandemic hit.
First, we lost reproductive rights in late June.
Between floods in the South, drought in New England, wildfires in the West and hurricane season on the way, climate change is hitting home. Literally.
Or, should I say, climate crisis.
Lake Powell running dry is a water crisis for seven states. An awakening that Mother Nature is fragile — and angry — is at hand. The wisdom of building cities in the desert around the automobile was flawed.
In August, Congress took serious action on climate for the very first time. Or should I say, Democrats in Congress acted to cut carbon emissions in the Inflation Reduction Act. The Senate passed the legislation 51-50 with zero Republican votes. Fie!
President Joe Biden signed the monumental bill into law, a boost to his political fortunes. That’s “luck of the Irish” for the president, who could not press Congress to pass a similar bill last summer.
Actually, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., deserves credit for the deal. Biden had COVID-19 at the time. Schumer met with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., in secret to bring his entire caucus of 50 Democrats together.
So thrilled were they to break through the climate wall that Democrats shared the spoils of victory.
Sagging in approval ratings, Biden needed a big win this summer. Just like he needed a bare majority to hold onto the Senate. Just like he needed to win the South Carolina primary in 2020 to stay in the race.
Remember? Biden came back from behind, again and again, the winds blowing his way.
Now Democrats have a landmark to write home about for the fall midterms. Pundits predicted the election would be a Republican sweep. Now they’re not so sure.
Even shrewd Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader, R-Ky., agrees with me that the Senate will likely remain blue.
With strong candidates like Rep. Tim Ryan and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in Ohio and Pennsylvania, running against J.D. Vance and Dr. Mehmet Oz, Democrats could pick up open seats.
Vance and Oz are weak; they’ve never faced voters before. There’s an art to campaigning and connecting with commoners at the state fair. It helps to be likable, but the celebrity author and doctor come across as spoiled elites.
Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida are vulnerable, with strong challengers in Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Rep. Val Demings.
A former police chief, Demings starred on the House team of impeachment managers the first time former President Donald Trump was on trial in the Senate.
Oh, yeah — the criminally insane gale-force human hurricane.
Inescapably, the 45th president can’t leave us in peace. There’s no end in sight to his dirty deeds after the latest: The FBI searched his Florida mansion for classified state secrets he stole from the White House.
This summer revealed ugly truths about Trump and the tens of thousands who came to town for a Capitol coup.
Trump’s plot seared into the public mind more deeply during the Jan. 6 committee hearings in June and July. Witness after witness told of his goading a murderous mob on a day Congress was captive in the Capitol — hunting to hang Vice President Mike Pence.
Congress met to certify Biden’s victory, as the Constitution requires. Within moments of the mob’s break-in, crossing police, hundreds were under siege, huddled in the House chamber. Under siege in the “People’s House.”
Americans have never seen what we have seen in events leading up to the unforgettable summer of ‘22.
Going into fall, may Biden’s luck of the Irish calm our nation’s burn — in nature and politics.