Discover more from The Bulwark
Kunce to Hawley: Quit Your ‘Fake Populism’
Plus: After the Protests, Will Georgia Face West or East?
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: DeSantis Sends Putin a Message
Just Between Us 🎧: DeSantis's Moment of Truth 🔐
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
New from Me: Challenger to Hawley: Quit Your ‘Fake Populism’
A person’s watch can tell you a lot about him or her. Watches can project authority and power, as Vlad Putin likes to do; they can convey humility and solidarity, as with Pope Francis’s cheap Casio. The message of a calculator watch is simple: I am a nerd, it proclaims. And Democratic senate challenger Lucas Kunce, who says he has played Magic: The Gathering “in every place he’s lived,” is nothing if not a nerd.
Kunce is embarking on his second Senate run in two years. After losing in a 2022 Democratic primary, he’s now campaigning to face fleet-footed Republican incumbent Josh Hawley in 2024.
CATHY YOUNG: After the Protests, Will Georgia Face West or East?
In the year since the start of Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, echoes of that senseless war have reverberated in other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union—and not to Russia’s benefit. Tensions have been mounting in Moldova, which now seeks closer ties to NATO in the shadow of Russian aggression. Armenia, which has long relied on Moscow’s protection in its conflicts with Azerbaijan, now clearly doubts the Kremlin’s reliability as an ally and is showing an interest in better relations with the United States. Russia’s position in Central Asia has been indisputably weakened. And in recent weeks, these tensions have erupted in an especially dramatic way in Georgia—the small country at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Asia that, in a way, was the site of the Kremlin’s first trial run for the war of aggression in Ukraine.
Last week, tens of thousands of Georgians marched through the streets of the capital city of Tbilisi and then gathered outside the parliament building to protest a bill that would have required organizations—including media outlets—to register as “foreign agents” if they received more than 20 percent of their funding from foreign sources.
Ron DeSantis chose to pander to Tucker Carlson on Ukraine and shows himself as unserious on one of the biggest issues of our time. Plus, socialism for Wall Street and Silicon Valley elites. James Hohmann joins Charlie Sykes for today’s podcast.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
MONA CHAREN: Waxing Obnoxious.
University of Pennsylvania Professor Amy Wax has no patience for victimhood complaints. Asked whether she considers mid–twentieth century British politician Enoch Powell (whose writing she assigned and who gained fame for his “rivers of blood” anti-immigration speech) was a racist, Wax was indignant:
Can you define racism for me? Is so-and-so a racist? Where are we getting with that? Define racist. I have no idea what you mean. It is a bludgeon that is a promiscuous term. You define what a racist is, and I will spend two seconds addressing that question because it is sterile.
And yet, Wax herself is competing for victim status by upping the ante on obnoxious public remarks and almost daring the law school at which she teaches to punish her.
[M]any members of Congress took the opportunity to indulge in one of their favorite pastimes—the blame game. Some on the right have identified a convenient culprit for the failures: the banks’ diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and investments in environmentally friendly businesses. In cable news-speak, they failed because they tried to “go woke.”
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer aired this sentiment during an appearance on Fox News, saying, “We see now coming out they were one of the most woke banks in their quest for the ESG-type policy and investing. This could be a trend, and there are consequences for bad Democrat policy.” Comer added, “I think we need to keep an eye on all the banking sector right now.”
Happy Blustery Pi Day! It’s windy here in Washington, but while my team got blown away by VCU in the A10 tourney, there’s still time for you to join our Overtime NCAA March Madness Bracket! Nothing complicated, just standard ESPN rules. Fill out your bracket today!
There will be prizes. I haven’t picked them all yet, but some free Bulwark+ subscriptions, some merch, and a couple surprises. I’m open to ideas, too, so reply to this message if you have any creative prize ideas—that are realistic.
A cold day for Democracy! Not a lot of people knock on my door aside from neighbors, but it always makes my day when a candidate (or surrogate) come by to campaign or get a signature to get on the ballot. Democracy in action.
Meanwhile, in local news… Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff is a fugitive from justice, as he was to face trial for fraud yesterday.
In Michigan, Right to Work is on death’s door. What will its legacy be?
Nick Cattoggio on the schism… Ukraine is gonna split the field. “What would you get if you asked ChatGPT to craft a Ukraine policy optimized to pander to Tucker Carlson viewers rather than to maximize American interests?” he asks… You’d get Ron DeSantis, whom he calls ChatRON. It’s been a tough 24 hours for the DeSantistans to reckon with, as they sing “Stand By Your Man” on Twitter.
Speaking of bots… They’re killing it on the LSAT, and learning to ‘see.’ But totally not going to become SkyNet.
I have a feeling… That this is about to change, because nothing screams: call my office! by insisting groups of people do not exist, like those with food insecurity.
Only the best people… Meet Matt Gaetz’s controversial new staffer!
96 seconds… Of Tucker Carlson parroting Russian propaganda.
The anatomy of a bank takeover… Here’s what it’s like when the FDIC takes over a small bank.
“Their downfall came when they got into this crypto business…” A history of Signature Bank, which was shuttered over the weekend.
No “weaponization…” Has been found. A bipartisan group of former investigators from Capitol Hill see “Jordan's far-right snipe hunt as a mockery.”
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.