My Call With Ron Johnson: He Knows Biden Won But Won’t Admit It

Mark Becker writes: The Wisconsin senator says it would be “political suicide.”

Leading The Bulwark….

My Call With Ron Johnson: He Knows Biden Won But Won’t Admit It

Mark Becker: The Wisconsin senator says it would be “political suicide.”

🎧 On the Pods…🎧

Josh Kraushaar on the Senate Suicide Squeeze

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Josh Kraushaar joins Charlie Sykes to discuss the GOP's suicide squeeze to retain control of the Senate, and the potential for optimism on centrist governance in the 117th Congress.

🔓The Next Level: A Man Stands Up

A Super-Sized episode this week with the RonJon bombshell, Gabriel Sterling’s cri de coeur, and the first shots of the GOP’s post-Trump civil war.

We’ve unlocked this week’s Next Level podcast because it was too good not to share. Members of Bulwark+ get regular access to this and other exclusive content.

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark…

Putting the Iran Assassinations in Context

Shay Khatiri: The killings—believed to be Israeli operations—suggest what U.S. allies feel they have to do when the U.S. won’t confront Iran.

The Hard Facts on Hard Time

Brent Orrel: We need to align criminal justice policy with today’s realities.

How Trump Hurt America’s Reputation for Truth

Mona Charen: Four years of dishonesty at home and praising lying dictators abroad.

From Bulwark+…

But unlocked in the spirit of giving… (And we’d like you to become a member if you’re not already.)

The Fire Rises

Jonathan V. Last writes in his Triad newsletter:

Suppose that President Donald Trump beat Joe Biden in the popular vote by 3 million votes, but lost the Electoral College, 304 to 227, by a combined 70,000 votes in a handful of swing states.

What are the odds that Joe Biden would eventually have been sworn in as president?

Maybe you’re not as pessimistic as I am. But I doubt there are many of you so optimistic as to say “100 percent!”

Which is to say that we have arrived at a point in American history where the unthinkable has become thinkable

REMINDER: We’re going to have a livestream tomorrow night to talk about the election, the GOP, and the remaining election #truthers with David Frum. If you join before tomorrow evening, we hope you’ll be able to tune in.

The Madness That Grips The Right

In Morning Shots, Charlie Sykes observes:

As the MAGAverse rhetoric intensified, one of Georgia’s top election officials made an emotional plea for decency, and singled out Trump’s own rhetoric. “Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language,” said Gabe Sterling, the voting implementation manager with the Georgia Secretary of State's office. “Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up. And if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”

Remember, as Charlie writes, “cults aren’t built on facts.” And the high church of MAGA is no different.


David Perdue, call your office. Is this bad?

RIP Walter Williams. The libertarian economist died today at the age of 83. He was somebody whose work inspired me to get involved in public policy. Here’s a fun story about him from his colleague David Henderson.

I have had my disagreements with Williams over the years and, perhaps, departed from his way of thinking in some ways, but I’ll always be thankful that he inspired me to think, even when I disagreed. RIP.

Conservatism, Classical Liberalism, And Public Life

Do make sure you tune in to this panel hosted by our pal (and Bulwark contributor) Andy Smarick over at the Manhattan Institute.

Shep Smith’s Fresh Start. When I was a young college grad working on the hill, perhaps the highlight of our days was when Shep Smith covered something live. Maybe it was a car chase… Well, usually it was a car chase. But Shep was the best of Fox daytime, and I’m glad to see he is continuing his broadcasting career at CNBC. In the New Yorker, there’s a wonderful profile of him:

“I’m doing great,” Smith said the other day, over Zoom. “I feel like I have a new lease on life.” Wearing a blue shirt and AirPods, he was wide-eyed and cheery—like Kimmy Schmidt if she had escaped from a right-wing news network rather than from a doomsday cult.

I’m shocked that Smith, who is a no-bullshit sort of guy, lasted as long as he did. Another anecdote:

He doesn’t watch his competitors’ shows. “I get really stressed out by all of the yelling at each other about how mad everyone is,” he said. “I know you’re mad—this is clear. You on the left and you on the right and those of you stuck inside, you’re all angry. I get it. So everybody’s about to vote and we’ll move on. I like thinking about, Are our votes going to get counted? Is this going to be fair? We’re diving into data on what’s happening in Pennsylvania, what’s happening in Texas right now, in Harris County. Can you vote? Is your vote gonna count? These are the things I care about. I don’t care about people yelling at each other. I’ve had enough. I can’t take any more yelling.”

Good for him.

Let’s do some good. The US Postal Service has a great, albeit somewhat depressing, service they offer called “Operation Santa.” Be forewarned. Some of these letters are absolutely heartbreaking to read. But you can go on and make some kid’s day. Watch the trailer.

As my kids sit here playing with their MAGNATILES and their $20 Target gingerbread house, I think about how lucky they are, how lucky I am, and these kids, who aren’t as lucky. Please consider “adopting” a letter.

Senator Mark Kelly. The Arizona Democrat was sworn in today, taking over for Martha McSally. And before taking the oath, he paid tribute to the late Senator whose seat he occupies, John McCain, to pay his respects.

Eric Metaxas and the losing of the evangelical mind… Writing at the Religion News Service, Robert K. Vischer argues:

First, this will not be a quick fix. Trump’s willingness to entertain conspiracy theories may have contributed to his supporters’ eagerness to do the same, but this problem will not end with the Trump presidency. Critical discernment is not a light switch to be turned on and off at will; it’s a discipline to be cultivated. Christians who want to pull their fellow believers back from the conspiratorial worldview need to commit for the long haul.

As with the GOP, so, too, our churches. It’s going to be a long haul.

Do as I say… Not as I do… Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, decamped to Cabo San Lucas and gave a public address via Zoom saying “stay home if you can...this is not the time to relax.” Come on, man.

Well, that’s it for me for today. Tune in tomorrow night for our special livestream with David Frum! Members will be sent details in both my newsletter and an hour before. We will archive the discussion on the same page that provides the details, so if you can’t make it, just click through to the page with the Zoom information, and you’ll see it shortly after.

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