Wednesday, December 23, 2020

On Lame Ducks, Christmas Trees and Pocket Vetoes

In response to COVID 19, much of America practically shut down for much of 2020.   Many Americans lost their jobs, particularly in the hospitality and restaurant industries.  Congress passed a few bills intending to funnel stimulus money as a lifeline to these economically vulnerable Americans.  But as the second wave of extreme closures hit parts of America during the holiday season, such payments from Uncle Sam to stem the financial pain are critical.

The fourth COVID stimulus were held up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for admittedly partisan reasons.  Prior to the election, Pelosi demanded  $2.5 trillion legislation, which included bailouts of states with underfunded extravagant public pensions.  The Trump White House proposed a $1.6 trillion plan but was willing to increase it to $2 trillion to meet Democrats half way.  Still, Pelosi was intransigent until it appeared that Joe Biden (D-DE) was the presumptive President-elect. So Congressional Democrats only got serious about another COVID stimulus bill until the December rush from Capitol Hill to be home for Christmas

Lame Duck Congress sessions after an election often take a devil may care attitude since the scrutiny of the ballot box won't happen for another two years and some members are not returning to Capitol Hill. 

The Lame Duck 116th Congress was tasked with passing tardy spending bills which were supposed to have been finalized by the end of the Fiscal Year (September 30th).  It seems that the plan from leadership of both parties was to pass a couple of stop gap Federal Spending Bills to buy time from a government shutdown, then rush to pass an  $2.3 Trillion Omnibus Appropriation  Bill that is a Christmas Tree, meaning that there were all sorts of decoration of ancillary legislation which becomes a must pass bill.  

To add to the Slapdash Santa spirit, the powers that be agreed to pass a "skinny" COVID stimulus bill of ONLY $900 million of deficit spending, which earmarked a $600 check to Americans earning less than $75,000. Considering the financial insecurity of many Americans due to COVID, the Christmas rush when it was expected that people would not focus on the goings of Swamp City and the desire for President Trump to mitigate damage to his legacy, this must pass bill was expected to go through..

There were two flaws to this legislative strategy.  While Congress only had a few hours to review a five thousand page bit of legislation before passage, the details started to leak out.  Social media balked when it was discovered that only $190 million the the $900 million is set to go to needy Americans.  The rest of it was a pork Christmas tree, with expenditures for earmarks like $25 million to Pakistan for gender studies, funding for an American Womens' History Museum and an American Latino Museum on the National Mall, and nearly $90 million for Senate building maintenance. This raised the rankles of an already agitated American public. The House passed the combined COVID Relief package and Consolidated Appropriations  measure  (HR 133) by a 359-53 margin and the Senate passed the measure 92-6

The other thing impeding the typical jamming through pork barrel at the end of the year when people won't notice involves the 45th President.   President Donald Trump deems himself a disruptor from the swampy ways of the Deep State.  Even though the mainstream media has been parsing precious little time to President Trump since after the election, the Disrupter -in-Chief leveraged  his social media skills to distribute a viral video.  

President Trump demanded that every American ought to get a $2,000 stimulus check and the bill sent to him should be stripped of the other pork barrel legislation. Trump intimated that he may not sign the tripe bill that was sent to him.  Since Congress procrastinated to nearly the end of the 116th Congress, the President could have a pocket veto--meaning that by doing nothing (keeping it in his pocket) that the legislation fails. 

This puts Congress in a perilous situation.  They recognize that there constituents are really hurting and they will lose confidence in them if they fail on a stimulus, especially when their prior bill was laden with wasteful pork barrel projects that have nothing to do with COVID. While the Comprehensive COVID Stimulus and Appropriations legislation passed by veto proof majorities, a pocket veto does not require resubmission to Congress.  They let legislative time effectively run out for the customary rule of legislation.

The second problem is timing.  The Continuing Resolution only funds the government until December 28th. So if President Trump fails to sign HR 133 and uses a pocket veto, then there will be a government shutdown.  Congress may well get the blame for pushing pork barrel pet projects and giving taxpayers a pittance whereas the President wants to give every American adult $2,000.   To avoid a pocket-veto, they would have to stay in session during the week between Christmas and New Years Day.  And they could not easily do pro forma sessions because the Spending Continuing Resolution expires on December 28th. 

A third issue is populist agitation.  When the 117th Congress convenes on January 6th, they are supposed to certify the Electoral College results.  Since President Trump is positioning his Congressional forces to contest some of the election irregularities in several battleground states.  In conjunction with the Congressional vote, President Trump has called for a rally which he promised will be wild.  Imagine the animus  of a large group of "deplorables" against elected officials who won't "Stop the Steal", but due to their greed and indolence are holding back significant COVID relief packages for ordinary Americans. 

It is unclear if and when additional COVID relief payments are doled out, as well as the fate of contested election.  But because of lame ducks, Christmas trees and pocket vetoes, the next few weeks in Washington won't be as the Establishment had planned.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

On Entitlement and Narratives


Now that the mainstream media has moved on with the presumption that Joe Biden is the President-elect, the chatter is now about the trappings of his Administration.  As the public is growing accustomed to “the new normal”, there is a kerfluffel concerning honorifics attached to the First Lady, Jill Biden.  Staff surrounding the wife of the President-elect have made it clear that she be referred to as “Doctor” Jill Biden.  

Jill Biden earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware in English in 1975.  Jill Biden earned a  Masters degree in education with a specialty of Reading from West Chester State College  in 1981 while working as a teacher.  In 1987, Jill got a Masters in English from Villanova University. Years later, she returned to school for her doctoral studies under her birth name Jill Jacobs. In January 2007, she was awarded a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree from the University of Delaware in “Educational Leadership”. She published  her dissertation: Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs as Jill Jacobs-Biden.  The thrust of her thesis is that Delaware Technical and Community College (where she was an instructor) needed a Student Center. 

So Jill Jacobs-Biden earned a BA, a MA in Reading, a MA in English, and a Ed.D in Educational Leadership. That is a bit of sheepskin to hang on the walls. The specialty education in reading probably was quite instructive as Jill acted as a reading specialist.  Dr. Jill prowess as an Education Leader combined with her intimate connection to a 34 year senior Senator from Delaware likely scared up funding for the Community College’s student centers (as there are multiple campuses). 

That being said, it seems a bit presumptuous to demand that the public and the pliant press refer to her as Doctor Jill Biden.   Being a political junky, I’m reminded of when former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) dressed down a polite General testifying on Capitol Hill for calling her “Ma’am”, as she had worked so hard to get that title of Senator.  Of course, who can forget Dr. Evil from Austin Powers demanding his honorific after six years in evil medical school.

Not all public figures choose to preen their pedigrees.  Even though Bill Cosby also earned a Doctor of Education degree, he did not insist on being addressed with the honorific “Doctor”.  Then there is Ben Carson, a world wide renowned brain surgeon who served as President Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  In his many media appearances, how often was he called Doctor (despite his medical degree) or did he insist on being addressed by that title? 

America’s incoming Gaffer in Chief Joe Biden once explained why his wife sought higher degrees: 

“She said, ‘I was so sick of the mail coming to Sen. and Mrs. Biden. I wanted to get mail addressed to Dr. and Sen. Biden.’ That’s the real reason she got her doctorate.” 

 It is unclear if Joe Biden followed that up with his patent “I’m not joking.”   In some senses, the quote  might have been intentional deprecation to charm a lunch bucket audience.  Still, Joe often says uncomfortable off scripted things which reveal truths so judge for yourself. But Joe does not seem impressed by the aura of Dr. Jill’s status.

When a Wall Street Journal opinion writer penned a piece mocking Jill’s people insisting that she be called Dr. Biden, it created some controversy. Those prone to support a nascent Biden Administration defended Doctor Jill, claiming that calling her anything less was misogynistic. 

Tucker Carlson bothered to read her thesis and found it riddled with typos, creative math and extremely awkward phrasing, which seems striking considering her Master’s in English.  

Some parts sound slapdash and poorly edited.  Still the University of Delaware awarded her a Ed.D. 

Tucker Carlson rejected inevitable claims of sexist and affirmatively asserted that Jill was much smarter than her husband Joe.  Carlson’s conclusion was that the controversy swirls around classism, that there are expectations of a certain sort of person that they have the right credentials, be they academic or accorded by a prestigious professional position, not to create but to lord over you.   They have the presumption that their titles and status gives them “gravitas”.

While I can appreciate Tucker Carlson’s populist points, I believe that is only part of the story.  Culture plays some part in the application of honorifics.  In Latin countries, there is the tendency to address someone with a degree as “doctor” to lend credence to their arguments.  In Poland, they are sticklers in demanding the use of honorifics for doctors, academicians and professors.  But America was founded in an egalitarian environment which eschewed peerages and fancy titles.  

Generally, in our culture we reserve the honorific Doctor to those with medical degrees. In academic circles, they may apply doctor to give their dissertations distinction.  For some clergy who have garnered advanced degrees, such as the Dr. Martin Luther King, we accord that honorific. If one sought to be accurate, lawyers who have earned a Juris Doctor would be lawyers, but calling them Doctor would seem pretentious (especially after receiving their bills).  Even attorneys would insist on signing with Esquire or JD are deemed kind of pretentious.

Following George Washington’s wishes, even the US Chief Executive is given a diminished honorific “Mr. President”, although we accord it much more prestige due to the power he (or she) wields.  

But the presidential honorific is tempered with the esteem of the occupant.  Many feel that President Trump did not receive “all due respect” from a contemptuous press.  And after the shenanigans of the electoral Compromise of 1877, many referred to President Rutherford B. Hayes as “His Frauduency”.  I fear that unless the questions about election irregularities are cleared up before Biden’s inauguration, that mocking title may make a revival.

Being a denizen of the District, it is easy to see most things through a political lens.  Thus I believe that narrative is another important element of entitlement.  More than just Tucker Carlson’s assertion that people of a certain class are expected to have certain trappings, political opinion makers can spin them to give additional gravitas to those with whom they give favor.  President Barack Obama was portrayed as being a Constitutional because he taught at The University of Chicago.  But if one digs deeper into that assertion, Obama was only an instructor and his curriculum was more about Saul Alinsky and being a community activist. 

Defying Biden’s bumbling reputation, Joe Biden is esteemed in academia.  Joe Biden has honorary degrees from the University of Scranton (1976), St Joseph’s University (LLM 1981), Wiedener University Law (2000), Emerson College (2003), Delaware State University (LLD 2004), Suffolk University Law (2005), Syracuse University (LLD 2009), Wake Forest Univeristy (LLD 2009), the University of Pennsylvania (LLD 2013), Miami Dade College (2014), University of South Carolina (DPA 2014), Trinity College, Dublin (LLD 2016), Colby College (2016), and Morgan State University (DPS 2017).  See how smart you can look giving commencement speeches.  

But Joe Biden’s academic prowess does not stop there.  For years, Joe Biden co-taught a political science course at Wiedener University on Saturdays.  Joe Biden raised enough money under his name for the University of Pennsylvania to create the The Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.  Joe also joined the University of Pennsylvania Annenburg School of Arts and Sciences as Ben Franklin Presidential Practice Professor, but it is unclear if he actually taught anything there or if he served in other ways. 

The University of Delaware named their School of Public Policy after him as he donated his nearly half century of papers to them.  Some scholars wanted access to Senate paperwork during the campaign but they were off limits.  Enquiring minds want to know why. 

 In the minds of opinion makers, one has respectability with lots of degrees or holding diplomas from prominent schools, which can elicit the cynical retort:  “Oh sure, but he went to Harvard”.  

However, such  respect is not accorded to those on their political naughty list. Consider President George W. Bush.  As a Republican, one is typically typecast as evil or stupid.  In the case of “W”, it was the latter.  Bush was painted as being stupid, despite being an alum of Yale and earning a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard.  He went to the “right” schools but Bush isn’t a Democrat so he was demeaned as a dummy.  In fact, while occupying the Oval Office, President Bush read a book a week.  But that did not go with the prevailing narrative.

Ronald Reagan did not have storied academic career, earning a BA from Eureka College.  Reagan was typecast in critical conventional wisdom as an amiable actor who knew how to read his script in “B” movies, the TV teleprompter and on the radio.  Yet after his death, it was discovered that his weekly scripts which delved deep into political conservatism was written by his own hand.  But that contradicted the narrative foisted upon the public by elitist opinion makers.

This shaping of narrative is not limited to intellectual perceptions. Opinion makers can shape public perceptions of First Ladies too.   When she was First Lady, Michelle Obama was a fashion plate, adorning the covers of numerous magazines which glowed about her stylings, despite having a more muscular figure.  Then there is Melania Trump, who truly was a fashion model prior to coming to the White House, yet she has not been in one fashion magazine photo shoot or cover.  Some critics have criticized how the Slovenian immigrant can’t speak English well.  Of course that naysayer omitted that she speaks five languages. But pushing the narrative is more important.

To be fair with First Ladies, this narrative is not just shaped by the press or conventional wisdom. Pat Nixon did not want to be in the spotlight and wanted to support her husband’s middle class public persona.  So as early as the Checkers speech of 1952, she was content to wear that cloth coat and steer clear from fashion coverage.   President George Herbert Walker Bush’s wife Barbara cultivated the nickname “The Silver Fox” because of her grandmotherly demeanor. “Bar” was happy to play up the perception that her wardrobe mainly consisted of clothes from the Sears catalog.  Those narrative nuggets demonstrate how some choose to deprecate themselves rather than emphasize entitlement. 

Normally, narrative is entitlement in action by opinion makers.  I suspect that Jill’s insistence at being called "Doctor Jill" may be more than just an ego message.  Considering her degree in Educational Leadership and her numerous side-by-side appearances with her husband at their sparing 2020 campaign appearances, the public may be being set up for a more active role in a presumptive Biden Administration.  Doctor Jill may seek to have a guiding hand publicly as well as privately, for educational policy. There has been Democrat talking points about making Community College free to students and the pandering promise to wipe out student debt.

To paraphrase Dr. King, I personally wish for a world in which people are judged by the content of their character rather than the title of their honorific. And what a wonderful world it would be.

Monday, December 14, 2020

"Biden Did You Know?"--An Advent of Truth?

For many Christians, Advent is a a time anticipation for our ultimate salvation via the incarnation of our Messiah Jesus the Christ.  To get to that point, the faithful are asked to prepare by contemplating the end times and final judgment.  That is why the liturgical readings are prophetical and often tinged with a sense of calamity. This preparation exposes hard ultimate truth and raises questions as to how we comport ourselves in the here and now.

In our culture we prefer the unbridled joy of Christmas Carols rather than the brooding meditations of Advent hymns, like "Wake, Oh Wake" and "Veni Emmanuel".  One of the new contributions to the Advent repertoire is "Mary Did You Know?",  a Protestant carol written by Mark Lowry 1984 and later set to music in 1991 by Buddy Green of the Gaither Vocal Band.   The lyric were written as reflections between acts of a Christmas play which posed hard questions as to whether the Blessed Virgin Mary understood everything that would be implicated by her fiat, her assent to what God asked for in the Annunciation. 

In the wake of the instances of election irregularities and accusations of coordinated voter fraud in Election 2020,  Eric Metaxas did a a filk written by by John Zimrak  and produced by Chris Hines of the contemporary Christmas-tide classic in "Biden Did You Know?

This video could be dismissed as a piece of propaganda from a Trump supporter blowing off steam at the victory of his opponent former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE).  More sympathetic listeners might find it hard to hear as Mr. Metaxas is not a natural soloist.  But the video raises some uncomfortable questions that the presumed President Elect must address as nearly half of Americans are under the impression that Election 2020 was stolen. Metaxas combined pop cultural film references, graphics which illustrated his points along with video evidence indicated election night Malarkey (sic), such as the Fulton County Georgia suitcase of hidden ballots, the Detroit TCF Cobo Center  hidden vote count center and CNN's chyron of over a hundred thousand ballots instantly switching columns. 

Even though Election 2020 was conducted during the COVID19 pandemic, the Biden presidential campaign was conducted in an extremely unorthodox fashion.  During the General Election campaign, Biden basically hid in his basement with a message of  defeating Trump and COVID19  using a wholesale campaign strategy. Biden ads ran heavily, along with allies like the Lincoln Project.  Other campaign events included poorly attended Zoom calls and scripted "interviews" with friendly media (and Biden reading off a teleprompter or being corrected by his wife DOCTOR Jill Biden--sic).    

During the normally intense two months before the November 3rd vote, the Biden campaign called "lids" (no news today) at nine am for a fortnight. Biden's running mate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) did not try to outshine the top of the ticket on the hustings.  When Joe Biden deigned to be seen in public, he mostly appeared in Delaware or within even driving distance of Philadelphia.  Such "rallies" were more media events, with basely a score of attendings sitting in COVID correct socially distanced circles. 

By the end of the General Election campaign, Trump counter-protesters were overshadowing the curated Biden/Harris campaign events, so much so that Joe Biden, the candidate calling for unity, called them
chumps and ugly folks.  Harris held "rallies" in secret locations and may have employed body doubles at events. These do not seem like tactics of a campaign which supposedly won 80 million votes, 10 million more than President Barack Obama. 

 This Biden/Harris unorthodox campaign conduct sharply contrasted with President Trump, who help scores of rallies which attracted  tens of thousands of attendees per event, many unruly off the cuff pressers.  Donald Trump definitely won 10 million votes more than 2016, with marked increases of support from African American and Hispanic voters.  Trump had coat tails, with Republicans winning 27 of 27 key House races and the GOP only losing two Senate seats when they had 23 races to defend.  Trump won 18 of 19 bellwether counties.  Yet supposedly Trump lost by six million Popular Votes and lost several battleground states by small margins bolstered by midnight ballot drops thusJoe Biden wins 306 Electoral Votes.  In the abstract, that doesn't make sense, but these facts may be derided as  sour grapes.

In retrospect, there were several odd remarks from Democrats about the Biden campaign the post election aftermath that when they are juxtaposed with the election anomalies that give a skeptical body politic cause for pause as to "Biden did you know?".

One of Joe Biden's persistent traits is being a gaffe maker  So often, his off the cuff remarks seem blunderously off-message,  wrongfully boastful,  and actually quite odd (e.g. "Corn Pop").  I was willing to consider those moments as being the Biden gaffe machine, which has been heighted due to obvious cognitive challenges and overplaying his "aw-shucks Uncle Joe" persona.  But sometimes these gaffes reveal uncomfortable truths, albeit in a clumsy manner.  A pithy maxim in the District of Calamity is that a gaffe is a politician telling the truth.  Joe Biden has said: "A gaffe in Washington is someone telling the truth and telling the truth has never hurt me."  OK, let's test that premise.

One of the most striking verbal blunders was when Joe Biden actually said that [Democrats] had put together the biggest and most extensive voter fraud organization in history. Wow, what a gaffe!


Perhaps he meant to say "Get Out the Vote" organization.  But let's examine this gaffe with the facts.  In the 116th Congress of 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi put forth HR1, which was a measure that sought to imposes mail in voting nationwide. Note this was a year BEFORE the Wuhan Flu reached the shores of America.  When that measure did not pass, a couple of COVID relief bills were held up in reconciliation bills because Speaker Pelosi insisted that liberal mail in voting laws be imposed nationwide.  The Democrat National Committee spent considerable resources shepherding mail in voting laws in the states, despite the fact that the Carter/Baker Commission concluded in 2004 that mail in voting was prone to fraud. So was it a Biden gaffe or Joe telling an inconvenient truth?

Prior to November 3rd, there were warnings from Democrats and the media that because of COVID19 that we would not know the results of the election immediately.  In fact, I recall some Democrats warning that it might appear that they would be down but in the end they would be victorious.  Former Democrat Presidential candidate First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton implored Joe Biden not concede if the election is close, perhaps ruing her concession which complicated "The Resistance" after the 2016 Trump victory.  

What is more likely is that Democrat leaders realized that when then Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. conceded and then retracted the concession after the 2000 election that they lost some of the narrative which impeded their victory in the contested election coverage. I believe that there was so much pressure on President Trump to promise to abide by the election results, and after November 3rd to extract a concession is to give the psychological impression that the cake is baked and to normalize the presumptive Biden/Harris Presidency.  But true to character, President Trump is a fighter and chooses to brawl in the legal system for what he believes was a wrong result due to illegitimate votes.

Three days before the election, in a prominent rally in the Motor City along with Barack Obama, Joe Biden said something truly strange:  "I don't need you to get me elected, I need you once I'm elected...".  Sure, a candidate might long for support for his policies (whatever the actually are) once in office, but at a Get Out The Vote Rally affirmatively saying "I don't need you to get me elected"--Huh? It's hard to explain that away as a simple verbal blunder.

One other rhetorical oddity which makes one wonder "Biden did you know?" is how readily Biden publicly sees his departure from the Oval Office.  Quite understandably, it is prudent for a frail, gaffe prone 78 year old to announce that he was chary about running for a second term.  But towards the end of the campaign in Tampa, Biden referred to the Harris/Biden Administration. Politicians tend to be ego driven so juxtaposing your running mate as top of the ticket might be telling the public something. That theme was echoed by Kamala Harris proclaiming "The Harris Administration under Joe Biden as President."  It's it's kind of presumptive or is it a plan.  Then there was a the post election Biden/Harris CNN interview when Joe claimed that if we ever really disagree, then I'll develop a disease and resign. 


Biden was comparing his relationship with President Biden and applying it to the Harris Administration with President Biden (sic).  One would expect such action with a subordinate.  But isn't Biden supposed to be Chief Executive of the United States?  In and of itself, this might have been another one of Joe being Joe.  Yet a month before Election 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a bill to create a commission to study applying the 25th Amendment to Presidents unable to carry out their duties?  Coincidence or messaging? 

Advent carols are all about anticipation of a messiah as an ultimate truth. Thus we ought apply  Advent principles to our own age.  The truth is that  regardless of who prevails in the Election 2020 overtime, certainly we won't find a messiah.

I may be more like in Monty Python's Life of Brian:  "There's a mess here alright but there's no messiah."

Alas, to shift pop metaphors,  I fear that it may be more of a dark winter and winter is coming.

Monday, December 7, 2020

A Day that Will Live in Infamy

Rescue operations on the U.S.S. West Virginia after the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941

December 7th 1941, a date that will live in infamy.    Those words uttered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his address to Congress have resonated in the 70 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii.

Americans were shocked out of their inclination to isolationism during the 1930s by what was understood as being a sneak attack by Japanese forces.

Recent scholarship calls into question how much of a surprise the Japanese strike was to the American government.  In his new book December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World, Craig Shirley points to a recently declassified FBI on Franklin Roosevelt.  On December 4, 1941, a memo from the Office of Naval Intelligence warned the President that:

In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii.

Unlike Loose Change 9/11 conspiracy mongers, Shirley does not purport that FDR knew of the attack and did nothing or blew the response. Instead, the author of December 1941 suggests that there were more pieces to the puzzle.

This was certainly true on the diplomatic end.  American and Japanese diplomats  had been engaged in a tense series of negotiations over a US embargo of oil shipments to Japan in the three months prior to December, 1941.  FDR’s Secretary of State Cordell Hull had presented Tokyo with a 10 point ultimatum on November 26, 1941 which stunned Japanese diplomats who had just suggested a 90 day cooling off period.

Most American history books key on the difficulty of translating the Japanese cable that delayed delivery of the demarche, which was supposed to have been handed over just as the attack on Pearl Harbor began. But American sources had intercepted a Japanese Foreign Ministry draft memorandum that was tantamount to a declaration of war. But FDR saw nothing new in the message and took no further preparations.  In addition, Japanese researcher Takeo Iguchi debunks the myth that war was caused by a misunderstanding, as internal Japanese government documents indicated that Japanese Army and Navy prevailed over the Foreign Ministry to keep their war aims secret.

Another interesting angle of the Day of Infamy is why President Roosevelt only asked Congress for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan.  On the evening of December 7th, FDR was shaken as he expected America to be hit but not hurt in any conflict with Japan. Historian Shirley pointed out that FDR and his War Cabinet considered declaring war against all three Axis powers, Japan, Germany and Italy.  But in the end, FDR only chose Japan, as America was still healing from the Great War and isolationism.  Oddly enough, it was German Führer Adolph Hitler who declared war against America in self written speech before the Reichstag on December 11, 1941. There might have been a markedly different outcome had America kept its attention towards the Pacific and Europe had to fight for itself aside from Lend Lease with the British Empire.