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Behind the Curtain: Biden’s Middle East moonshot.

President Biden plans to keep pushing a grand bargain in the Middle East for the days after the war in Gaza — with the hope it could happen before the election, despite Israel’s opposition, U.S. officials tell us.

The plan: Israel gets normalized relations with Saudi Arabia, in exchange for agreeing to an irreversible pathway to a Palestinian state — and allowing the Palestinian Authority to have a role in post-Hamas Gaza.

Moonshot, huh? In a nod to JFK, Biden pushing ‘moonshot’ to fight cancer.

That was the Houston Chronicle in 2022. As Glenn noted back then, it was more plagiarism of Richard Nixon, than a nod to JFK:

Nixon over 50 years ago: “I will also ask for an appropriation of an extra $100 million to launch an intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer, and I will ask later for whatever additional funds can effectively be used. The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease. Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal.”

The War on Cancer, like the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror, was an expensive failure. Of course, to be fair, our government hasn’t even won an actual war in years.

Biden’s “moonshot” actually began at the tail end of the Obama years: “‘Moonshot’ to cure cancer relies on outmoded view of disease,” the New York Times noted on January 18th, 2016:

Recently a group of 15 cancer researchers cut short a meeting at the Food and Drug Administration. The reason: They had been invited to Vice President Joe Biden’s office to discuss his “moonshot” to cure cancer.

“We had no idea what was coming,” said Dr. George D. Demetri, director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard and a professor of medicine at Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

It turned out the vice president was out of town that day, but his staff wanted to know: What could Biden do in his remaining year in office, and over the long term, to advance cancer research and ultimately cure the disease?

The idea that a concerted government push can lead to a “cure” for cancer is nearly a half-century old, stretching back to President Richard Nixon’s failed “War on Cancer.”

The latest, which President Barack Obama formalized in his State of the Union address last week, has a deeply emotional tinge.

Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in May, and the vice president’s very public mourning and call for a “national commitment to end cancer as we know it” as he announced his decision not to run for president has moved and captivated Washington.

Biden’s focus has already made some meaningful difference: He negotiated with Republican congressional leaders a $264 million increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute, the largest in a decade for an agency that has been squeezed by static budgets in recent years.

But the chances of reaching a moment of victory, as the analogy “moonshot” suggests, seem entirely unrealistic.

Curiously, this cynical ABC News journalist is worried that Joe’s original moonshot may never get off the launch pad: Joy Behar: Climate Change Could Prevent Joe Biden From Curing Cancer.

Of course, those “moonshots” are not to be confused with another space-based analogy that often orbits around Joe and his boss thanks to political columnists looking to relaunch ’50s-era metaphors — the “Sputnik moment:”

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● The [Spy] Balloon Really Was a ‘Sputnik Moment.’

—Noah Rothman, Commentary, February 13th, 2023.

● April of 2022 had seen another Sputnik moment, courtesy of Bloomberg.comThe Chip Shortage Was Supposed to Be a ‘Sputnik Moment.’ What Happened?

● Yet another Sputnik moment for Biden in late 2021:

And for Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, covering multiple presidents over the decades, it’s been Sputniks all the way down since 2000.

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