Recently at The Bulwark:
SONNY BUNCH: 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Co-Writer Chris McKenna
TIM MILLER: 2021…Not THAT bad
Thanks for your support of The Bulwark by being a member of Bulwark+. If you like today's edition, please share it with someone who you might think would value it.
PAUL ALEXANDER wonders: Is Eric Adams the Democrats’ Next National Star?
Just after midnight in Times Square on Friday night, as the ball drops and the new year begins, Eric Adams will be sworn in as the 110th mayor of New York City. Following David Dinkins, he is the second African American elected to the office. But he is the first mayor of New York who is a retired police officer, the first mayor to have attended New York public schools since Abe Beame in the 1970s, and the first Democrat in recent memory to run for mayor as a centrist, a moderate political position he embraced early on and from which he never veered. While conventional wisdom says the left has all the mojo in the Democratic party—think the Squad, Bernie Sanders, the Progressive Caucus—Eric Adams is proof a centrist can create sizzle and even win in a liberal bastion like New York City. His victory has also put him on the radar screen for moderate Democrats across America looking to get behind a centrist who could have a national profile.
“He created his own lane,” says Kandy Stroud, a longtime Democratic party insider and a native New Yorker, who believes Adams’s key to success was his decision to eschew the politics of New York’s current mayor, Bill de Blasio, an unapologetic progressive. “Adams appealed to a more down-the-middle Democrat. He didn’t need Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It just goes to show there is an opportunity for a moderate Democrat to win. Then again, Eric Adams has star quality. He’s his own dude. He’s cool.”
A panel of Bulwark favorites share their predictions (AKA warnings) for 2022. They also take time to give a shout-out to the people who aren't shouting — the people on the ground helping others and working to save democracy. Bill Kristol, Tim Miller, Sarah Longwell, and JVL join guest host Mona Charen on today's episode.
ADDISON DEL MASTRO has this nice reminiscence on products past.
I can still remember the smell of the ancient electric radiator in my bedroom in my parents’ house in New Jersey. It’s still in their basement—in its original box!—but the thermostat broke, and it’s lived ever since in that limbo between active use and the landfill where durable, possibly fixable, broken products go.
I’ve got a similar stash in my own home, too—maybe you do in yours? Our household is only four years old, and we already have a dehumidifier with a bad fan and a dead humidifier with stripped, rusted internal screws. I fully intend to fix them one day. They’re cheap and lightweight, but they aren’t junk. A certain amount of what we consider to be the junkiness of products is really our own throwaway ethic, which itself is bound up with the low cost of replacing these products and the value we put on the time we would have to spend repairing them.
But anyway. I couldn’t describe that smell, exactly, but it signaled the dark cold of winter, and its partial alleviation, every bit as much as a lit-up Christmas tree. Rolling in the heavy, oil-filled electric radiator—what kind of oil was it?—was a little seasonal ritual for me. The smell was a little like the inside of vintage electronics—the kind of thing that brings to mind both the real solidity of those products themselves, and even a certain imagined stability of the society that produced them. It was, like Proust’s madeleines, the smell of nostalgia.
I hope your New Years plans are in store! We had hoped to smoke a brisket, but alas, the weather is not going to cooperate. I may make my variation of Tony Chachere’s chili or try something new. Now is that short lull between when your family goes home, and when the end-of-year holidays end and you have to get back to work. It’s much shorter than you expect.
A Cleveland mystery, solved. Do read this report about a man who stole $200k from a Cleveland bank and then evaded those who tried to catch him for decades, until he died.
Ghislaine Maxwell… in Full.. Vicky Ward had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein in the early 2000s. Her boss at the time, Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, neutered the story. But now, Ward has released the full transcript of her interview with Maxwell and if you’ve been paying attention to her case, it’s worth the read.
Christianity and Trumpism… At The Atlantic, Peter Wehner has a damning piece about DJTJ.
Translating the teachings of Jesus into public life, and figuring out how they ought to influence the duties of the state, is a complicated matter. A decade ago, I wrote a book with Michael Gerson, City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era, in which we dealt with that issue, among others. But what we heard from Donald Trump Jr. was something very different. He believes, as his father does, that politics should be practiced ruthlessly, mercilessly, and vengefully. The ends justify the means. Norms and guardrails need to be smashed. Morality and lawfulness must always be subordinated to the pursuit of power and self-interest. That is the Trumpian ethic.
Charlie Sykes on El Rushbo. At Politico, Charlie looks back on the Limbaugh legacy.
The way you write laws matters… Potentially accidentally banning cars after 8 p.m. is a good way to lose re-election.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.