Correction: The original version of this column said former gov Chris Christie had not commented on the late Colin Powell's passing. He had, and I missed it. I have updated the column to reflect his tweet.

Welcome to The Daily 202! Tell your friends to sign up here. On this day in 1953, the Associated Press advises me, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” was first published. The dystopian novel describes a future in which the government bans books and “firemen” burn them.

The big idea

This is no longer Colin Powell's Republican Party. If it ever was.

In November 1993, with President Bill Clinton in the White House, former president Ronald Reagan gazed into the Republican Party’s future and saw Colin Powell. In 2021, with former president Donald Trump eyeing a run for reelection, Reagan’s party mostly no longer exists.

At his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif., Reagan bestowed an award on the Army general and declared: “I know I shouldn’t say this, but I have a confession to make. I just might have had an ulterior motive for inviting Colin Powell up here today to my presidential library.”

“You see, I am hoping that perhaps one day he’ll return the favor and invite me to his,” Reagan said, to laughter and applause from the crowd — and a chuckle from the guest of honor, seated on the stage next to the podium.

Though some 1995 polls showed Powell ahead of Clinton, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff opted not to run, saying he lacked the “passion and commitment” required (there was also the little matter of his wife Alma fearing for his safety).

Powell declared himself a Republican and later became President George W. Bush’s secretary of state. But he went on to endorse Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020 and was sometimes diagnosed inside the GOP as a RINO — Republican in Name Only.

Still, in 2014, when prodded about his party affiliation, Powell told MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports”: “I’m still a Republican, and I think the Republican Party needs me more than the Democratic Party needs me.”

Reaction from potential 2024 candidates

It’s a generation later, but one measure hints at how much the Republican Party Powell might have led has changed: the number of potential candidates for the 2024 GOP nomination who stayed quiet Monday as tributes poured in from across the political spectrum.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) paid tribute to a life “as historic as it was extraordinary,” Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Powell “always put his country first,” and former vice president Mike Pence called the late general “a true American patriot.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered flags flown at half-staff to honor “a trailblazing soldier, leader, and public servant.” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R)  also followed President Biden’s proclamation that flags would fly at half-staff through Friday, but does not appear to have issued a more expansive statement. Former governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) called Powell “an outstanding public servant & great American.”

But Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) does not appear to have commented. And former ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley hadn’t weighed in as of this writing..

Trump himself issued a statement Tuesday morning attacking Powell

“Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday. He was a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!”

In a June 2020 CNN interview, Powell had called Trump a chronic liar who had “drifted away” from the Constitution after the former president threatened to use active duty military on protesters. Powell also said he’d be voting for Biden.

At the time, Trump tweeted that Powell was “a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East wars.”

He later followed up by mocking Powell’s “pathetic interview,” called him “weak” and zeroed in on the former general’s early 2003 speech to the United Nations to justify the invasion of Iraq, citing sketchy and later discredited claims the country had weapons of mass destruction.

Final break with the GOP

Powell’s final public break with the GOP came after the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed and ransacked the Capitol, beating Capitol Police and interrupting the certification of Biden’s election victory.

On CNN, host Fareed Zakaria asked Powell if Republican leaders “realize in a sense they caused, that they encouraged at least this wildness to grow and grow,” leading to the riot.

“They did,” Powell responded. “And that’s why I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican.”

But the Republican Party Powell had once promised to “move once again close to the spirit of Lincoln” had already started to move away from him, perhaps as early as 1992.

In my colleague Karen Tumulty’s acclaimed biography of Nancy Reagan, she noted how the former first lady had only reluctantly agreed to speak on her husband’s behalf at the 1996 GOP convention, worried the party had taken a “dark turn” years earlier and that the gathering would be as “venomous” as the one in Houston in 1992.

“Maybe if Colin Powell runs …” Nancy Reagan mused.

What's happening now

North Korea launched short-range ballistic missile, South says

“North Korea launched the projectile from its east coast, near the port city of Sinpo, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports. “Pyongyang has been developing its ability to launch ballistic missiles from underwater and has tested the technology a handful of times in recent years to varying degrees of success. ”

WHO-led program aims to make covid-19 pills accessible 

“A World Health Organization-led programme to ensure poorer countries get fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments aims to secure antiviral drugs for patients with mild symptoms for as little as $10 per course,” Reuters's Francesco Guarascio reports.

  • “The plans highlight how the WHO wants to shore up supplies of drugs and tests at a relatively low price after losing the vaccine race to wealthy nations which scooped up a huge share of the world's supplies, leaving the world's poorest countries with few shots.”

Federal judge says University of North Carolina can consider race in admissions

“Students for Fair Admissions, a group backed by conservative legal strategist Edward Blum, had sued the university, alleging that its admissions policies discriminated against White and Asian American students,” Bryan Pietsch reports.

  • “U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said that ‘race is not a defining feature’ in the university’s admissions process, adding in her ruling that the school had made good-faith efforts to consider ‘race-neutral’ admissions strategies.”

Rachel Levine to be sworn in as four-star admiral

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, the nation’s highest-ranking openly transgender official, is also set to become its first openly transgender four-star officer, Dan Diamond reports. Levine will be an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, “a 6,000-person force that responds to health crises on behalf of the federal government, including administering coronavirus vaccines and delivering care after hurricanes.”

Lunchtime reads from The Post

Tuberville declines to play role of MAGA firebrand

Tommy Tuberville's first full day in the Senate was Jan. 6. Huddled in a storage closet with other Republican senators, the group wondered whether they should change course from their original plan: to object to the certification of Biden's victory.

“Some Republican senators changed their minds after the closet huddle, but Tuberville’s vote was not in question. Coach stuck with the play and formally objected to certifying the electoral college votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania,” Ben Terris reports.

  • Star player: Tuberville “led four NCAA Division I football programs over two decades, including a lengthy stint at Alabama’s Auburn University, and his celebrity has allowed him to arrive to Washington with the kind of social capital most freshman lawmakers could only dream about.
  • How he got here: “Tuberville owes his Senate seat to Trump’s endorsement. His primary opponent, Jeff Sessions, had angered the president when, as attorney general, he recused himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. 'He immediately ran for the hills, Trump said of Sessions at a campaign rally for Tuberville. And so Alabama voters sent Coach to Washington — a living, voting example of Trump’s vengeance against anyone more loyal to checks and balances than they are to him.”
  • But but but: “In the nine months since, however, Tuberville has surprised people by declining to play the role of MAGA firebrand. He’s been trying to position himself as a relationship builder and an aspiring insider. He’s hired staff from outside MAGA world. He’s done PSAs about getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. He called Trump’s rhetoric leading up the Jan. 6th a ‘mistake.’ And while he believes there were “some problems” with the 2020 election, he is not yet convinced that voter fraud caused Trump’s loss.”

… and beyond

A shortage of adoptable babies?

The Atlantic's Olga Khazan debunks the idea that “there are so many babies out there who need a good home” and explains why the trend has changed in recent years.

“At a glance, this shortage of adoptable babies may seem like a problem, and certainly for people who desperately want to adopt a baby, it feels like one. But this trend reflects a number of changing social and geopolitical attitudes that have combined to shrink the number of babies or very young children available for adoption.”

What Manchin wants

The New York Times's Emily Cochrane offers a crash course in Manchin's goals, including: “a much cheaper, less generous, more targeted and less environmentally friendly measure than the one Mr. Biden and Democrats envision” for their domestic policy bill.

  • The highlights: a plan of no more than $1.5 trillion, steeper tax increases, weaker climate change provisions and less generous, more targeted federal aid.

The Biden agenda

Biden to huddle with Democratic lawmakers

Biden to huddle with warring Democrats over economic agenda

The president will meet with top House and Senate dems on Tuesday “as the White House scrambles to cobble together a new economic package that can satisfy ambitious liberals and spending-weary centrists alike,” Tony Romm reports.

  • “The flurry of activity foreshadows what is shaping up to be a frenetic, final sprint to end the year, with the president’s economic agenda hanging in the balance. Adding to the challenge, liberal Democrats have held up another unrelated bill — a roughly $1.2 trillion proposal to improve the nation’s infrastructure chiefly brokered by [Sens. Joe} Manchin, [Kyrsten] Sinema and other moderates — in an attempt to maximize their negotiating position around a second new tax-and-spending package.”

The president's dilemma: Satisfying Manchin could come at a cost

Joe Manchin has left Biden's proposed climate change strategies and social services expansion are in a tenuous place. “As negotiators sift through the details of what’s in and out of the proposal, it’s Manchin’s priorities that are driving much of the debate, infuriating colleagues and complicating a deal,” the Associated Press’s Matthew Daly and Lisa Mascaro report.

One at-risk plan: paid leave

Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion plan called for providing up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, caretakers for seriously ill family members and people suffering from a serious medical condition.” the New York Times's Madeleine Ngo reports.

  • “But as Democrats try to shave hundreds of billions off the overall policy package to appease moderate holdouts, paid leave could wind up shrinking to just a few weeks.”

Democrats to scale back plan to raise more money from wealthy tax cheats

“Initially, the Department of Treasury and Senate Democrats had proposed requiring financial institutions to provide the Internal Revenue Service with additional information on bank accounts with more than $600 in annual deposits or withdrawals,” Jeff Stein reports.

  • “After a backlash, the new proposal will instead require the provision of additional information for accounts with more than $10,000 in annual deposits or withdrawals, a measure Democrats have been considering for weeks but have not formally endorsed, the people said.”

A bigger, bluer Northern Virginia, visualized

“The populous northern suburbs of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties — crucial to a statewide win — backed former Gov. [Robert F.] McDonnell in 2009. But in the dozen years since, Northern Virginia has become much bigger and bluer, posing a daunting challenge to any Republican running statewide,” Laura Vozzella, Antonio Olivo, Daniela Santamariña, Shelly Tan and Ted Mellnik report.

Hot on the left

Times columnist Michelle Goldberg discusses what happens when miscarriages can be considered manslaughter, focusing on the story of a woman who was found guilty of the crime this month after telling hospital staff that before her miscarriage, she had recently used methamphetamine and marijuana.

“For years now, the anti-abortion movement has been working to change state laws to define embryos and fetuses as ‘people’ or ‘children.’ This has resulted in women being punished for things they do, or don’t do, while pregnant. Often, these prosecutions target women who take drugs.”

ProPublica reported on a case in Alabama in which a woman was charged with ‘chemical endangerment of a child’ because she twice took half a Valium when she was pregnant.”

Hot on the right

Conservative radio pundit Dan Bongino has threatened to quit over a coronavirus vaccination mandate instated by his network's parent company, Jeremy Barr reports.

"Several Cumulus radio hosts have already quit or been terminated because of a stated preference not to be vaccinated for personal or medical reasons, and Bongino is threatening to join them. Though the host’s team says that he has been vaccinated on the advice of his doctors because he has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Bongino is objecting to a mandate on behalf of rank-and-file employees who don’t want to get vaccinated."

Today in Washington

Biden, Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen are slated to meet with House progressives to discuss the president's legislative agenda at 2 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., Biden, Harris and Yellen will meet with bicameral group of moderates in the Oval Office.

In closing

Noodle, the 13-year-old pug, now controls the mood of the Internet. Nearly every morning, Noodle's owner posts a TikTok as he tries to rouse the dog from slumber. If Noodle will stand up, it's a “bones day," full of hope. If he won't, it's a no bones day, and viewers are advised to be careful out there.

NBC's Kalhan Rosenblatt explains the better-than-a-horoscope phenomenon here.

The week kicked off with a bones day, but we weren't so lucky today. Fingers crossed for a bones day tomorrow!

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.