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Dysfunction, Despair, and Donald
Plus: The U.S.-Saudi Unhappy Marriage.
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A.B. Stoddard: Dysfunction, Despair, and Donald.
LAST WEEK, WHEN AN MSNBC anchor played a clip of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz, said, “I couldn’t tell if you cut away to Kevin McCarthy or a commercial for low T.”
It’s remarkable: McCarthy is not only Gaetz’s “leader” atop the House GOP conference, but he is third in line from the presidency. This kind of casual slagging from a member of the same party doesn’t ever happen to a speaker of the House, but for McCarthy it was just another day ending in y.
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GISELLE DONNELLY: The U.S.-Saudi Unhappy Marriage.
THIS WEEK THE NEW YORK TIMES confirmed that the Biden administration is considering accepting a deal that Saudi Arabia has been dangling for some months: In return for Riyadh’s normalization of relations with Israel, the United States would offer the Saudis formal security guarantees. The pact, says the paper, would take “treaties in East Asia”—that is, Japan and South Korea—as their model. This is a questionable idea.
EVE TUSHNET: Meet Me in the Middle of the Air.
WHEN I WAS A CHILD, THE MAKERS OF PUBLIC CULTURE in this country conspired to persuade me that people can’t fly. They did this by showing me flying people. After school I’d watch The Greatest American Hero on ABC, whose theme song (“Believe it or not—I’m walking on air!”) taught me that walking on air was incredible. Virginia Hamilton’s beloved collection of black folktales, The People Could Fly, taught me that flying was a vanished gift of other people’s ancestors. And every kid knew the advertising slogan for the 1978 Superman film, which promised the impossible: “You’ll believe a man can fly!”
It started at an IHOP… With a chance meeting, eventually it ended in marriage. It might end up with Bob Menendez in jail for corruption. Read the charges. I cannot police the left since I am not the left, but I do hope that we’ll see calls for Menendez to resign from Democrats. (They’re starting!) I know they’re wary of doing the right thing after Al Franken, but it’ll pay off! Menendez did step down from his committee chairmanship. Especially since he’s almost certainly going to jail: there were fingerprints and DNA on the literal bribes!
Happy Friday! To all those at the Texas Tribune Festival with our colleagues on various panels there. Hope the event(s) are fun and have a great weekend!
This meal just cost us $78 at Reagan National airport... This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.
Speaking of people who like nice things… Justice Clarence Thomas is in the news again.
Meanwhile, in Missouri… A convicted sex offender escaped from custody in the hospital. Thankfully, he was quickly caught.
And in Arizona… Some heavy hitters, including my former boss Jon Kyl, have lined up behind Chris Christie.
The joys of cobbler… Our friend and former TWS colleague Haley Byrd Wilt has this lovely personal Substack about life, parenthood, and cooking. Check it out!
The American Face of Authoritarian Propaganda… For Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin, Tucker Carlson fulfills a need.
Finding a way to mix guns and legal pot… Arkansas has a state solution, but a federal one is still very much needed.
WH COS Jeff Zients on Fast Politics… Joining our friend Molly Jong-Fast to talk about what’s going on in the West Wing and the 2024 election.
Remember when pundits said Ukraine had nothing to worry about… If Republicans won?
Russian Admirals… On the defensive! Here’s a missile hitting the Russia Black Sea Fleet HQ. A direct hit! Adm. James Stavridis says “if true [that an Admiral was killed] it would likely be the highest ranking naval officer killed in combat since WWII.”
The missing F-35… 911 call is something to behold.
Trump fires his “most competent attorney…” What will this mean for his many civil and criminal defense(s)? I’ve stopped reading into the ever-revolving door of his changing counsels.
Такер Карлсон сегодня вечером… Did not have Tucker being simulcast in Russian on my bingo card. Maybe Laura Ingraham can teach him?
Coming soon to the high court… Drag shows and the First Amendment, courtesy of Lone Star judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a favorite of The Federalist Society for favorable rulings and his district.
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A positive anthem to lean on despite all the negativity. See? We’re not all doom and gloom. Just mostly.