Discover more from The Bulwark
Can Wes Moore’s Progressive Patriotism Make Him a Democratic Star?
Plus, Is the United States Ready for the Next Nuclear Era?
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: The Sublime and the Shambolic.
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
JIM SWIFT and TIM MILLER: Can Wes Moore’s Progressive Patriotism Make Him a Democratic Star?
Below the razor-wire fence that marks the outer perimeter of the Chesapeake Detention Facility, Wes Moore presses the flesh at an adjacent street fair run by Baltimore CONNECT, a local health-care-focused nonprofit. He walks among the pop-up tents and talks with men and women he hopes will support his bid for the governorship of Maryland. Campaign staffers occasionally peel away to take care of tasks resulting from his one-on-one conversations. One staffer reports being asked to find housing for a woman trying to leave an abusive marriage. Without experience in social work, the staffer isn’t sure where to start, as is often the case for members of the campaign who receive these directives from a boss with a palpable desire to show he can be of service.
Moore knows just how important assistance like this can be, and what can happen to those who don’t receive it: A dark, defining moment in his life came when, during his childhood, his own family was devastated following a bad encounter with the health care system.
Three weeks prior to this Baltimore event and just an hour south, Moore, 43, stood in front of a very different crowd as the warm-up act for Joe Biden. At a rally with the president inside the Washington Beltway, the politically hyper-engaged audience heard Moore deliver a message of opportunity, love of country, and respect for democracy. It’s a message that Democrats hope will resonate with the more affluent moderates—the Larry Hogan types who want politicians who share their values.
Oz is critiquing Fetterman’s clothing style, Obama supporter and liar Kari Lake is a contender, Marjorie Taylor Greene has been normalized — and Elise Stefanik is trying to stay in her good graces. Plus, progressives may be in for a reckoning. A.B. Stoddard joins Charlie Sykes.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
CATHY YOUNG: The Dictator and the Diva.
Of all the different reasons given for Vladimir Putin’s decision last week to order “partial mobilization” of Russian reservists, the most unusual one has been offered—perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek—by Oleksiy Arestovych, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: that Putin’s move was provoked by a defiant antiwar declaration from a 73-year-old Russian singer who has been likened to Madonna, Tina Turner, and other goddesses of American pop music. What’s more, Arestovych has also asserted that the singer, Alla Pugacheva, had not only emasculated Putin (he put it rather more colorfully) but “driven a wooden stake through [his] coffin.”
A bit of a stretch, perhaps; but Pugacheva is a fascinating figure, and her open antiwar stance could be a big deal, particularly as Putin’s “special operation” becomes more and more of a blatant fiasco.
ERIC S. EDELMAN AND FRANKLIN C. MILLER: Is the United States Ready for the Next Nuclear Era?
The United States faces the most complex configuration of questions about nuclear weapons since the onset of the nuclear age. The most important new factor is the potential that the United States will have to deal simultaneously with two near-peer nuclear powers. Unlike in the Cold War, in which the United States primarily focused on nuclear competition with the Soviet Union, today it faces trilateral nuclear competition with both Russia and China. This situation is unprecedented.
The Chinese nuclear arsenal is expanding rapidly. The commander of Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richards, described the growth of China’s arsenal as “breathtaking” and former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten called it “unprecedented.” For many years, China was thought to maintain an arsenal of about 200 nuclear warheads. That estimate has since grown to about 350, and could expand to 1000 or more by 2030. As it acquires more warheads, the People’s Liberation Army is also developing a full nuclear triad much earlier than most observers anticipated, as well as capabilities that could call “strategic stability” into question. In addition to China’s first air-refuellable bomber and its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, the test last year of what seems to be a fractional orbital bombardments system raises the prospect of a short or no-warning attack—an extremely destabilizing development.
Meeting Wes Moore… I discovered Wes Moore (I am a Virginia resident) writing up the primary that put Dan Cox on the ballot as the GOP’s nominee. His win was a bit unexpected. It was nice to see him on the trail and chat with him. But let’s talk about the library book.
In researching Moore, I took out a version of his book adapted for a YA crowd and read a bunch of it. And I had it with me when I met him so I asked him to sign it, not for me, but for the next person, presumably a kid, who would take it out. He did.
And then, I realized that while it made for a good kicker, I inadvertently gotten the likely future governor of Maryland to deface a library book. Libraries aren’t known for signed copies. Having already returned it, I called the library and confessed and offered to pay for another copy if it was against their policy. It was. (Can you imagine a right wing pundit or pol going to the library to sneakily sign their books with Let’s Go Brandon?)
So I went to another branch of the library and donated $5, the value of the book on the market, to the library fund. I told the librarian there the story and she sided with me. I showed her the story and she spotted the slip! And, she wanted to put it in the newsletter for the “friends of” readers. Looking in the system, that copy has been put in the book sale. I understand, but on the plus side, The Bulwark compensated the library, and somebody will buy the book and get a surprise, which was my intent all along.
Meanwhile, let’s check in with the special master… Things don’t seem to be going so hot when you’re fighting the Trump-appointed judge who picked you.
Mitch McConnell endorses Electoral Count Act… Sticking it to the would-be election stealers in his own caucus. Time will tell. With Mitch and doing the right thing, I’m reminded of the story of the Zen Master and the little boy.
DART update. We did it! Here’s the impressive footage. Now to wait and see how effective it was. (It did cost $324 million, but that’s a small price to pay if it can save humanity.)
Betrayed by ‘Perla’… The man who Ron DeSantis’s ‘Perla’ hired to help recruit people for his stunt, rightly, feels betrayed. The cruelty is the point.
Do Missouri Republicans want to combat hunger? Actions speak louder than lights.
From Yale to Jail… The story of the founder of the “Oathkeepers.”
Inside Chernobyl’s “Tomb” after the Russian invasion… Things could be way, way worse.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.