Recently at The Bulwark:
LINDA CHAVEZ on Why Russian Propagandists Love Fox News.
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New from me: Actually, Earmarks Are Good.
A long time ago in a Washington far, far away, congressional Republicans were against earmarks.
The earmark ban was a way to own the libs while Republicans controlled Congress, which they did for the better part of a decade between 2011 and 2019. But, it also kneecapped their members’ ability to bring home the pork, which is something that up to that point Republicans were quite good at.
But now it’s 2022 and we’re pretty much all Keynesians now. So Republicans are hip to bringing back the logrolling and horse trading. Earmarks are back, baby! After all, you can’t worship at the altar of the King of Debt and seriously pretend to care about the deficit.
And yet, even though this is yet another example of Republican hypocrisy, I’m here to tell you an unpopular truth: Earmarks are good, actually.
The Russians have become the largest terrorist organization in the world. How will NATO respond if Putin resorts to chemical weapons? Plus, Charlie Sykes says Josh Hawley deserves to be canceled. Will Saletan is back for Charlie and Will Mondays.
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After over 2 years, the American people are over COVID — but is the pandemic over? CNN medical analyst and WaPo contributor Dr. Leana Wen joins Sarah to talk about how MAGA, Swing, and Dem voters are thinking about the COVID-19 Pandemic, everything from masks, to vaccines, to the CDC.
WILLIAM SALETAN: Republican Voters Are Now America’s Foreign Policy Doves.
Republicans aren’t just less interested than Democrats in fighting for universal values, such as democracy. They’re also less likely to support allies. In the Echelon Insights poll, Republicans were less willing than Democrats to “provide military support to defend allies’ security” or to “participate in and provide resources to international military alliances like NATO.”
In an Economist/YouGov survey taken in early February, 27 percent of Republicans—compared to only 8 percent of Democrats—said the United States should withdraw from NATO. A month later—more than a week into the Russian invasion, as NATO countries rallied to help Ukraine—34 percent of Democrats expressed a very favorable view of NATO. Only 12 percent of Republicans agreed.
This rising isolationism on the right has converged with Trumpist sympathy for Russia and hostility to Ukraine. When former Vice President Mike Pence said there was “no room in this party for apologists for Putin,” he was talking—whether he knew it or not—about a faction that does, in fact, take up significant space in the GOP. Even during the invasion, Putin’s favorable rating among Republicans has reached 14 percent, 15 percent, and 18 percent in some surveys—more than twice as high as his favorable rating among Democrats. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to affirm that Putin is a “genius,” that his conduct of the war is justified, and that the best outcome would be a Russian victory.
H. DAVID BAER predicts: Expect a Viktor Orbán Win Next Month.
Given how much the field is tilted, some observers of Hungary (this author included) wonder whether a democratic transfer of power is even possible in Hungary without some kind of major upheaval, something like an economic crisis—or maybe a war.
Could Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine be the tectonic event that dislodges Orbán? Certainly, it has put Orbán in an embarrassing position. Under his government, Hungary has become highly dependent on Russian energy. In 2014 Orbán crafted a secret agreement with Putin to have Russia expand a Hungarian nuclear power plant near the city of Paks, and beyond that, Orbán has repeatedly negotiated long-term deals with Putin to purchase gas. But whatever one thinks about the wisdom of these decisions, Orban’s energy policies have not differed fundamentally from those pursued by many other countries in Europe over the last decade.
What sets Orbán apart from other Western countries is not his Russia-oriented energy policy but rather his cultivated relationship with Putin. In ways that are hard to understand, Orbán has frequently adopted pro-Russia policies at odds with Western interests. For example, Orbán allowed the Russian International Investment Bank (IIB), widely viewed as a front organization for Russian spies, to establish a headquarters in Budapest. Orbán also lends political and financial support to Milorad Dodik, a Bosnian Serb separatist viewed as a pariah in the West, for reasons that seem less aligned with Hungary’s national interests than with Russia’s.
Hope you had a great weekend! Around here, it was spring cleaning. But I still haven’t even gotten to the yard work and irrigation, which I am not looking forward to. Even though it’s not yet spring, the later sunsets and warm afternoon and evening weather are bringing out lots of fun activities in the yard.
Is Stu Varney beginning to turn on Trump?
“I started sleeping in my children’s room simply to try to keep them safe.” The contentious divorce of Eric Greitens, Missouri Senate hopeful, has made its way back to the news, and the revelations are not pretty. Somehow, it’s Mitch McConnell’s fault?
The convoy! I was up in Alexandria over the weekend, and I saw a lone convoy driver from New York that wanted to “Mandate Freedom.” They’re still around, but not making much trouble or news except for how they’re getting trolled by locals.
One bomb at a time, the Russians cut electricity, water, food supplies and finally, crucially, the cell phone, radio and television towers. The few other journalists in the city got out before the last connections were gone and a full blockade settled in.
The absence of information in a blockade accomplishes two goals.
Chaos is the first. People don’t know what’s going on, and they panic. At first I couldn’t understand why Mariupol fell apart so quickly. Now I know it was because of the lack of communication.
Impunity is the second goal. With no information coming out of a city, no pictures of demolished buildings and dying children, the Russian forces could do whatever they wanted. If not for us, there would be nothing.
That’s why we took such risks to be able to send the world what we saw, and that’s what made Russia angry enough to hunt us down.
I have never, ever felt that breaking the silence was so important.
Nearby news… This story in the Post about Afghanistan’s last finance minister, who lives not far from me, really breaks your heart.
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