Ron Elving

The Republican Party has tackled countless controversies since its birth in the 1850s, but it is hard to find a precedent for the posture it finds itself in today.

Most of what Republicans espouse as a unified minority in Congress comes straight from the party's identical platforms for 2016 and 2020.

But a glaring new feature has been added to the party's agenda at the insistence of former President Donald Trump. Its adoption among Republican candidates and officeholders bespeaks his undiminished grip on the GOP's most passionate voters.

Democrats in Washington are divided.

You've no doubt read and heard news reports that detail the recent infighting, as headline writers for weeks have been digging to find synonyms for discord, disarray, dissent and disagreement.

The party is portrayed as split, on the outs and at odds.

And in the game of Washington power politics, party unity matters. Disunity kills.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Speaking sorrowfully to the nation from the White House last week, President Biden lengthened a chain that was already far too long, a chain of presidential remorse — and vows of revenge — over the loss of American lives in faraway conflicts few Americans understand.

"We will not forgive, and we will not forget," said Biden, with an intensity he rarely shows, speaking of the deaths of 13 U.S. military personnel at the Abbey Gate to the Kabul airport are the latest additions to an honor roll that was also far too long.

In Afghanistan the world is witnessing disastrous consequences associated with a rare area of agreement between President Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Even if President Biden gets his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill through the Senate with some Republican help, he will still face a tougher climb and a partisan wall in seeking to pass a massive $3.5 trillion spending bill chock-full of Democratic priorities.

Republicans are not on board with that bill, so Democrats are trying to pass the legislation with a simple majority vote, using a maneuver known as reconciliation.

In the days and weeks just ahead, the elected leaders of our federal government will perform a series of ritual dances that few Americans will understand.

You may turn away with a dismissive gesture or a rolling of the eyes. But these seemingly arcane exercises will, in fact, represent — and may even resolve — real conflicts over national issues of enormous importance.

Most Americans can celebrate Independence Day this year with a new appreciation of what it means to be free.

Roughly half the nation has now been fully vaccinated and participation is higher among older, more vulnerable adults. The several vaccines are exceeding expectations for effectiveness, even against variants of the virus.

More and more of us are returning to at least a semblance of our prior lives.

President Biden's first meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin could be the most contentious between the leaders of the two countries since the Cold War ended three decades ago.

Biden has an agenda of grievances, complaints and protests pertaining to Russian activities abroad and Putin's suppression of dissidents at home. Putin has shown no interest in altering his behavior and has his own lists of accusations about U.S. actions in Europe and the Middle East.

Federal safety officials found it necessary this past week to remind Americans not to put gasoline in plastic bags. Hey folks, that's dangerous. Remember?

As many times as Joe Biden must have imagined the moment, he never could have imagined it looking like this.

After two failed bids for the White House and a third that began with a series of stumbles, there he finally was on Wednesday, mounting the podium to address a joint session of Congress for the first time as president of the United States.

Yet what he saw before him could not have been as he dreamed.

As we approach President Biden's 100th day in office at the end of this month, some observers are flattering him with comparisons to two legendary Democratic presidents of the 20th century — Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Those names reportedly came up when historian Jon Meacham convened a group of his colleagues at the White House in early March for a private session with Biden. And since then, the aptness of comparing this new president to such transformative figures of the past has become a matter of some debate in Washington and beyond.

The Saudi crown prince may escape punishment for his order to kill a columnist. A pandemic relief package is moving through Congress. Donald Trump remains popular with conservative activists.

In the last 28 months, the Republican Party has lost the White House and lost control of both chambers of Congress.

With the shock of those setbacks still sinking in, the party has been rocked and riven by former President Donald Trump's refusal to concede, a pro-Trump riot in the U.S. Capitol, and an impeachment effort that even some Republicans backed.

A month has passed since the shocking invasion of the U.S. Capitol by rioters bent on blocking the official recognition of the presidential election results, but the aftershocks have not stopped.

More than 200 people have now been charged with various crimes, ranging from illegal trespassing to attacks on police officers to conspiracies to kidnap members of Congress. Federal authorities have opened investigations into about 200 other individuals who have yet to be charged.

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