On Cancun and the Insurrection

What is the point of being a United States Senator anyway?

Leading The Bulwark…

On Cancun and the Insurrection

AMANDA CARPENTER: What is the point of being a United States Senator anyway?


🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

Joe Walsh on Flyin' Ted and the Limbaugh Legacy

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Joe Walsh joins Charlie Sykes to discuss Flyin' Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley's repositioning, and the legacy of Rush Limbaugh.

Powerless Texas

Slate's Will Saletan returns to consider the McConnell/Trump GOP, Texas's woes, and Limbaugh's legacy.


For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

MORNING SHOTS: Flyin' Ted 🔐

CHARLIE SYKES on Ted Cruz’s Cancun fiasco and Nikki Haley’s wild ride.

THE TRIAD: Finally, Some Good News 🔐

JVL is back and he thinks people are being too pessimistic? WTF?

THE SECRET PODCAST: What Is Government For? 🔐

SARAH and JVL are mad about the Ted Cruz thing because it’s not about “optics.”

TNB: The Flyin’ Ted Livestream 🔐

Olivia Troye joins Bill Kristol, Mona Charen, and Tim Miller to talk about Ted Cruz, Texas, and the future of the GOP.


From The Bulwark Aggregator…


In Case You Missed It…

The Case Against Partisan Bigotry

BRINK LINDSEY: It’s wrong to treat people as your inferiors because you disagree with their views.

To Save Democracy, Principled Conservatives Must Ally with Democrats

RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON: The impulse to start a new anti-Trump conservative party or GOP splinter is admirable—but the present crisis demands a different response.

Not My Party: Krakens, Remnants, and Fears. Oh My! 🎥

TIM MILLER: Grading the Senate impeachment trial. A for effort?

Will Coastal Theaters Reopen in Time for Black Widow?

SONNY BUNCH: Plus: Nomadland reviewed, and an old, black-and-white movie assigned.

What America’s Allies Want and Need to Hear from Biden

ROBERT S. GELBARD AND DAVID J. KRAMERThe president's speech at the Munich Security Conference offers an opportunity to repair transatlantic relations, in part by addressing sources of tension directly.

Judicial Activism Can’t Fix Section 230

DAVID OPDERBECK: Erstwhile conservatives shouldn’t let their hatred for Big Tech negate their suspicion of executive and judicial power.


🚨OVERTIME 🚨

FRIDAY JUKEBOX: Richard Ashcroft’s new single, a cover of Bring on the Lucie, originally by John Lennon.

How was your week? Hopefully, if you’re in Texas, things are getting better. (Unless your name rhymes with Red Booze.) We’re all thinking about you guys, our families, writers, and our pen pal readers.

Up here in the Acela corridor, we underwent a mild two day freeze, but it’s warming up and things are looking up here. Mother nature laughed at my attempt to de-ice the driveway by responding with freezing rain that overwhelmed the salt.

Let’s start off with a palate cleanser… Since we’re not all wealthy U.S. Senators who can travel internationally on a whim. Check out this beautiful abandoned distillery in Italy.

Children do control us… I can attest to this, having been single-parenting this morning while trying to record one podcast and edit another. But to this degree? Writing in Defector, Albert Burneko observes about the Cruz Cancun Clusterf*ck:

Is that how it works in your family? Ted Cruz’s daughters are 10 and 12 years old, the same ages as my two kids. My two kids do not have a vacation card they can play at any time! There is no break-in-case-of-emergency glass over a red Trip To A Luxury Resort In Cancun button in either of their rooms, or anywhere else. In my family now, as well as in my family when I was 10 (or 12, or 17), as well as in pretty much every normal family I’ve ever heard of, the response a child gets to the proposal, “Dad, school is out for this week because of snow, I want to go on vacation to Mexico” goes something like, “And I want a mound of gold bullion taller than our house. Please go clean your room.”

I just love the idea that Ted Cruz, who has never mastered any convincing impersonation of anything like conscience or decency or even a particularly well-informed idea of what people are like, thought this line—With school canceled for the week [because our state is frozen and has no power and no clean water and people are freezing and dying], our girls asked to take a [whole-ass] trip with friends [and my spouse and I said yes to impulsive international travel, in the middle of a pandemic, because we’re rich and none of this really affects us and we can afford to just parachute away from any and all discomfort, unlike all the people presently freezing and dying all over the state I represent in the U.S. Senate]—would in any way modify, rather than highlighting and underlining, what anybody would find repugnant and atrocious in the sight of a U.S. Senator flying to a sunny, warm vacation spot in the middle of a catastrophe endangering tens of millions of residents of his state. These are the fabled political instincts of a dude once regarded as a near-mortal lock to ride Tea Party fame to the Republican presidential nomination, in action!

FOX’s Chris Wallace even went on air to criticize Cruz:

Reminds me of the well-known line in Capitol Hill circles from former Senator Al Franken: "I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.”

Inside the Trump hotel… Ever since the bad orange man took control of the lease for the old post office building, I have never stepped foot in it. I don’t want to give him my money. Not even for a story. It became a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the right wing MAGAverse, so resisting the temptation was tough. But I did. Over at Washingtonian, a great story on what it was really like to cater to the D.C. right wing elite.

Here’s my favorite bit:

Trump always had the same thing: shrimp cocktail, well-done steak, and fries (plus sometimes apple pie or chocolate cake for dessert). Popovers—make it a double for the President—had to be served within two minutes and the crustaceans “immediately.” The manual instructed the server to open mini glass bottles of Heinz ketchup in front of Trump, taking care to ensure he could hear the seal make the “pop” sound.

Checking in on the Senate GOP Caucus…

She apparently adopted the laser eyes look, popular among the alt-right, on her campaign account in support of Bitcoin.

Did Manchin sink Tanden’s OMB prospects? Looking like it.

Does Rep. Cawthorn even know what the Vatican is? Not looking like it.

The zinger that failed… The GOP’s new “squad” keeps stepping on rakes…

And more from Boebert:

She did this for a Congressional hearing. Which is something normal people do.

#FriendsofTheBulwarkFriday… If you’ve read this far, you’re probably one of the ride-or-die Bulwark crowd. (Or you’re really bored!) One of my buddies in the world of journalism is Berny Belvedere. He’s been on our podcast, and a lot of people who write for his publication, Arc Digital, also write for us or have been on our podcast. They do interesting work.

If you like what they’re doing, consider throwing in a couple bucks.

They think they're the heroes… Jared Holt, a talented research and writer who specializes in conspiracy theories, has a fantastic op-ed at his Substack, called Sh!tPost, which you should read. Here’s one salient observation:

It’s remarkable how ordinary the people who fall into rabbit-holes can be. They are our neighbors, babysitters, family members, and coworkers. The on-ramps to conspiracy theories are as diverse as ever, spanning from religion to professional fighting and mommy blogs.

The Rise and Fall of L. Brent Bozells… A look in The New Republic at how men named L. Brent Bozell have been snapshots of the conservative movement at different points in history. Reminds me of that scene from Forrest Gump where ( I adapt below) and please read this in Forrest’s voice:

He was from a long great Republican tradition. Somebody from his family had fought and died in every single American culture war.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bozells, they’re as establishment as establishment comes when it comes to D.C.-based conservative royalty. And LBB3 is not very bright when it comes to knowing how the internet works. (Despite running an organization called “The Media Research Center.”)

Lastly… Things aren’t looking good for the North Carolina GOP!

Maybe Robinson is yet another part of the GOP’s “great revolt.” Weird when reporters miss the signs. Imagine writing this in December of last year, as Salena Zito did:

In short, Robinson was just a guy who resonated with people, connecting with them on issues they face every day. His message might have ruffled the feathers of the politically correct, but no one could ever doubt its authenticity. He never assumed he knew better, a mistake Bloomberg made with both his fly-by-night run for president and his push for more progressive candidates in smaller races across the country. 

When, literally months earlier, in October, Robinson was party to this:

Last fall, Raleigh’s News & Observer unearthed an interview in which Robinson spoke with a fringe pastor, Sean Moon, who claimed that the modern incarnation of the four horsemen of the apocalypse includes China, the CIA, Islam and the Rothschild family of “international bankers that rule every single national or federal reserve-type style of central bank in every single country.” 

Rather than objecting to the blatantly antisemitic conspiracy theory, Robinson grunted along in agreement. “That’s exactly right,” he said.

Or, months earlier, in February / March of 2020:

The lieutenant governor, a devout Christian who presents as a brash and unfiltered conservative culture warrior, invoked a number of antisemitic tropes in the years leading up to his election. In strongly worded Facebook posts, he decried a “globalist” conspiracy to “destroy” former President Donald Trump and took aim at Black Panther, the Marvel film whose titular protagonist, as Robinson put it, was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by [a] satanic marxist.” He went on to allege, using a Yiddish slur, that the movie “was only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets.”

Come on. We can all fail our due diligence checks when doing a puff piece, but hey:

That’s it for me for today. I’m going back to be a dad for the weekend. Stay safe out there and drop me a line if you want and I will try to get back to you: swift@thebulwark.com

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