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Leadership and Leverage
Plus: Will Narcissist Trump’s Bizarre Praise for Hezbollah Hurt Him?
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: It's Steve Scalise’s Mess Now. Maybe.
JVL: Do Not Harden Your Heart 🔐
JOE PERTICONE: House GOP Squabbles Over Defusing a Time Bomb 🔐
ADDISON DEL MASTRO: A City Where Nobody Lives
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GISELLE DONNELLY: Can America Still Lead?
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN wishes to be “crystal clear”: “The United States has Israel’s back.” His speech on Tuesday was—according to Michael Oren, a distinguished historian who served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States during the Obama administration—“the most passionately pro-Israel” speech ever delivered by an American president.
Biden has also said that America will back Ukraine “as long as it takes” to win its freedom from Russia. Last December, Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during Zelensky’s trip to Washington where he received a standing ovation from a joint session of Congress, that he and his people “continue to inspire the world” and it was “an honor to be by your side.”
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THE CLASH IN THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE this Congress began with the prolonged speakership balloting in January, flared with the ousting of Kevin McCarthy last week, and even now is still stumbling along with uncertainty. But the basic reason for all this instability—the GOP’s prosciutto-thin majority in the House—also creates an unusual opportunity. Could pragmatists finally claim the leverage they need to defeat the extremists who have taken over the GOP?
It will only take one member to get the ball rolling. Could it be Rep. Ken Buck, who says he is refusing to vote for either Steve Scalise or Jim Jordan in the speakership contest because of the Big Lie? Or the unpredictable Rep. Nancy Mace, who joined the Gaetz rebellion last week and this week rejected Scalise as too racist? Or the Ukrainian-born Rep. Victoria Spartz, also uncommitted in the speakership contest, who is distraught that she “cannot save this Republic alone” and has decided not to run for re-election? Or Rep. Don Bacon, who said the extremists are “destroying our conference and apparently want to be in the minority”?
DENNIS AFTERGUT: Will Narcissist Trump’s Bizarre Praise for Hezbollah Hurt Him?
DONALD TRUMP HAS DEMONSTRATED YET AGAIN that he is a man without a single ounce of human decency. At an event in West Palm Beach on Wednesday night, just four days after Hamas’s brutal attack on Israeli civilians, Trump did the unthinkable.
Not only did he fail to recognize the horror of Hamas’s war crimes, something that even staunch critics of Israel’s treatment of civilians in Gaza have done. Trump actually went out of his way to praise Hezbollah, Hamas’s Jordan-based military counterpart: “You know, Hezbollah is very smart,” Trump said. “They’re all very smart.”
Happy Thursday! Tonight’s a big night for Phillies fans, and I’m pulling for you, but after TNB tonight, I’m watching my Saint Louis Blues make their regular season return. Is Philly a ToD as JVL issued a watch for? We’ll see!
The Curse… Is going to be on my priority watch list come November because everything Nathan Fielder touches turns to gold (in Canadian dollars).
Speaking of expelling members… Our colleague Adam Keiper remembers the standing ovation given to…. Jim Traficant? #BeamMeUp.
Qatar and U.S…. Shut off access to $6B Iranian oil fund.
IRS updates tax gap projections for 2021… And the “projected annual gap rises to $688 billion.” Mark Goldwein observes that more than half comes from small business. Back in 2021 I got dragged over the coals by conservative pundits for arguing that we should give the IRS the tools to be effective.
An attack on no-fault divorce… is another attack on the core rights of women, writes Kim Wehle at her Simple Politics Substack.
The Dekleptocracy Project… Friend and contributor Kristofer Harrison has started a new NGO. Harrison tells me the hope is to “demonstrate how existing tools and authorities can be used to achieve tangible statecraft objectives against authoritarian governments.” If this is of interest, sign up for their newsletter!
‘Bothsidesism’ About Hamas… Is a Moral Failure. Must read Russell Moore.
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