Putin Compounds His Bad Decisions
Plus, Swing Voters and the New Abortion Reality
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DAVID J. KRAMER: Putin Compounds His Bad Decisions.
Vladimir Putin’s string of disastrous decisions in 2022 isn’t over yet. His orders to mobilize hundreds of thousands of Russian servicemembers—possibly more than a million—and to hold phony referendums in partly occupied portions of Ukraine demonstrate that he just doesn’t know when to quit.
These terrible moves compound a series of miscalculations and catastrophic choices that began with his absurd justifications for reinvading Ukraine on February 24. Putin grossly underestimated Ukrainians’ ability and determination to fight and defend their land and freedom, misread the West by assuming it wouldn’t unite around sanctions or provide assistance to Ukraine, and overestimated his own military’s capabilities.
Peter Wehner joins the group to discuss populism’s rise in Europe, the crisis in evangelical churches, and some personal stories.
Kevin McCarthy tries/fails to argue he’s not a spineless suck-up, the [Blame] America First crowd goes full Alex Jones, and the fake mad get tied in knots over Lizzo and the flute. Plus, Trump really had the USS John McCain moved out of sight. Tim Miller joins Charlie Sykes for the weekend pod.
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RICH THAU AND SUSIE PIEPER: Swing Voters and the New Abortion Reality.
An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade. Concurrently, an overwhelming majority of Americans think abortion should be legal in at least some cases. But how will these views translate to voting behavior among swing voters?
This month, as part of our Swing Voter Project, we asked focus groups of Trump-to-Biden voters across North Carolina what’s changed for them when it comes to their likely voting behavior in the wake of the Dobbs decision.
GISELLE DONNELLY: Olaf Scholz and Why Germany Is Failing to Lead.
It may be a long time before it is known with any degree of certainty who blew holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, although, to anyone other than Tucker Carlson, Russia is the most likely perp. But even if the attacks remain in the murky waters of “gray zone warfare,” they do make one thing undeniably clear: Any hope of a post-Ukraine-war return to “normal” in Europe is likewise broken beyond repair.
This is particularly unfortunate news for Germany and the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a rather shaky coalition of three parties: Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the Free Democrats. After sixteen years of Angela Merkel, the lack of experience was always going to be a problem; German pundits often deride Scholz as the small-minded “mayor of Hamburg”—which was his sole executive post prior to the chancellorship—or as an SPD party functionary.
A Friday that feels like a Monday… Much to the consternation of my twins, I had to return our rental car today because ours was in the shop for repairs due to a rear-ending. We got a MINI Countryman. The girls named him Coopah. They adored him. It was a very fun car! The repairs were finalized and after removing the car seats, I set off to return the car and return to normalcy. Until the system told me the tire was flat. It didn’t look flat, like a slashed tire. So I drove it to the nearest gas station which… had an out of order air pump. Great. Could I use Fix-a-Flat? I called. The rental agency said yes. It worked. I returned the car and… lo and behold. A nail.
Which got me thinking: How do nails end up on the road? It was my rabbit hole for today. The long and short of it is: people are lazy. Contractors and truckers aren’t that different than the rest of us. You should clean off your car’s snow and ice before you drive, but many don’t. Friday PSA: Always take a little extra time to do the right thing.
Abolish the VA? Matt Gaetz is at it again.
The end of the fast food play area? One thing COVID took from my twins on road trips was the play area. But they’re disappearing. Here’s a look at why that may be.
TikTok is bad… But this is good.
Sign me up… A documentary about Bond scores?
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