Prigozhin’s Death & Debate Reactions
Plus: The return of TNB.
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CHARLIE SYKES: The Vivek and Nikki Show
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CATHY YOUNG: Prigozhin’s Ultimate Fall from Grace.
IN THE WAKE OF THE BRIEF AND BAFFLING rebellion that shook Russia two months ago, led by onetime Vladimir Putin crony and Wagner mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, one question in particular perplexed many people: Why did Putin, who publicly accused Prigozhin of treason, nonetheless suffer him to live? Now, it appears that the answer to this question is: Putin was just waiting for the right moment to strike.
Prigozhin reportedly died with several other top Wagner men when his private jet crashed on Wednesday evening near the city of Tver on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, most likely due to being shot down by Russian anti-aircraft fire. If the Wagner boss is indeed dead, this ends a very colorful if utterly reprehensible career. But at least for now, the mystification of which the (allegedly) dead man was so fond continues to surround the story of his demise.
🎥 PODCASTS AND VIDEOS 🎧
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🐘 DEBATE COVERAGE📺
GABRIEL SCHOENFELD: A Bizarro, Boring Debate.
DID WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S Republican presidential primary debate change anything? Or will the twice-impeached, four-times indicted, mentally fraying Donald Trump continue his seemingly inexorable march to the Republican nomination?
With Trump absent—his counterprogrammed prerecorded chat with Tucker Carlson has, as of this writing, supposedly had 55 million views—what was most remarkable about the debate was the seeming normalcy of the discussion. Issues, actual issues, were debated: debt, inflation, abortion, the environment, crime, homelessness, drug policy, gun control, education. Some of it was extreme, as when Vivek Ramaswamy declared that the “climate change agenda is a hoax.” Or when Chris Christie called for a ten-year prison sentence for Hunter Biden’s minor gun possession violation. But with Donald Trump out of the picture, it was, for the most part, refreshingly . . . boring.
NICHOLAS GROSSMAN: Big Issues. Little Candidates.
THE MODERATORS ASKED some serious questions about foreign policy, but with few exceptions, the candidates at Wednesday night’s Republican debate in Milwaukee were at best unserious about two of the world’s biggest challenges: climate change and the war in Ukraine.
In response to a question from a young voter asking if the candidates care about climate change, Ron DeSantis attacked the moderator for posing it as a raise-your-hands yes/no, then went into an apparently prepared attack on President Joe Biden’s response to the Maui fires. Then Vivek Ramaswamy called climate change a “hoax,” appealed to conspiracy theorists by claiming he was the only candidate onstage willing to tell the truth, and said “the anti-carbon agenda” is a “wet blanket on our economy.” Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, ostensibly among the serious candidates in the race, both went with economic nationalism, trying to attack China and Biden together, arguing against green energy without proposing alternatives.
WILL SALETAN: DeSantis’s Debate Dodges.
POLITICIANS OFTEN DODGE difficult questions. But even when measured against the typical political coward, Ron DeSantis’s performance in the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday was outstanding. In just ten minutes of total speaking time, the Florida governor spectacularly contorted himself to evade four of the debate’s biggest, clearest questions.
CHRISTIAN VANDERBROUK: Who Are They? Why Are They Here?
Remember Admiral James Stockdale?
“Who am I? Why am I here?” the Vietnam war hero and Ross Perot running mate asked self-deprecatingly during his introduction at the 1992 vice presidential debate.
Wednesday night’s Republican debate could have used some of that existential angst. Why did eight candidates, whose chances of winning the GOP nomination range from slim to infinitesimal, go to Milwaukee on a late summer evening to pretend otherwise?
BILL LUEDERS: Climate Change Question Gets Short Shrift.
THE TEMPERATURE IN MILWAUKEE on Wednesday reached 100 degrees, a record high for this date. July was the hottest month on record, worldwide. Almost certainly, 2023 will be the hottest year since modern record-keeping began.
During Wednesday night’s raucous debate in Milwaukee between eight contenders for the GOP nomination for president, no one mentioned the brutal heat that had engulfed the city and state. But moderator Martha MacCallum, a Fox News mainstay, did cue up a discussion on global warming by flagging some obvious recent signs that something is amiss, including that California has just experienced its first tropical storm in decades.
🚨 OVERTIME 🚨
Happy Thursday! Tonight is the return of Thursday Night Bulwark! Bill, Mona, and JVL will break down last night’s Milwaukee circus revelry for Bulwark+ members.
It’s a shorter Overtime today, as I’m traveling, and we’re chock full of debate #content.
Trump promised Wisconsin 13,000 Foxconn jobs… They got 1,000 and this stupid orb.
MAGA diehards are posting fake mugshots… In solidarity with the would-be election thieves.
In a blow to Twitter… Meta’s Threads is here for desktop use. See you around!
The fate of East Cleveland… A wrecked city.
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