Reforms to Repair Our Democratic Guardrails

Trump’s abuses while in office—including his attempt to overturn the election—shouldn’t be allowed to happen again.

Leading The Bulwark…

Reforms to Repair Our Democratic Guardrails

NICHOLAS CONNORS: Trump’s abuses while in office—including his attempt to overturn the election—shouldn’t be allowed to happen again.

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🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

Peter Hamby: What's Nikki Haley Up To?

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Peter Hamby joins Charlie Sykes to discuss Impeachment 2.0, the Democrats' Sizzle Reel and the GOP's whataboutism play, and the repositioning of Nikki Haley.

Convict Him

Jay Nordlinger joins to discuss the impeachment trial, the Romney plan for families, and the firing of Don McNeill from the NYTimes.

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

MORNING SHOTS: The Heart of the Impeachment Case 🔐

CHARLIE SYKES on why Trump will do it again.

THE SECRET PODCAST: Impeachment Was a Bad Week for America 🔐

Instead of holding Donald Trump accountable, the impeachment trial has exposed that the rot goes even deeper than we thoughts.

THE TRIAD: The Avatar Rule of Politics Is Killing America 🔓

JONATHAN V. LAST: The problem isn't the politicians. It's their voters.

SCREEN TIME: Actually, It’s About Ethics in Film Criticism 🔓

SONNY BUNCH: Plus, 'Judas and the Black Messiah' reviewed.


Benjamin Wittes from Lawfare joins Mona Charen, Charlie Sykes, Amanda Carpenter, and Sarah Longwell to talk about impeachment 2.0.

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Case You Missed It

What Good Is Impeachment, Anyway?

LINDSAY M. CHERVINSKY: It has never successfully been used to hold a president accountable—but Congress should still try.

Not My Party: Guilty, Guilty

TIM MILLER: Not My Party is back with a new episode on Trump's second impeachment trial.

GOP Senators Support the ‘January Exception’

BENJAMIN PARKER: By voting to halt the impeachment trial, 44 Republicans showed they believe misdeeds in a president’s last weeks in office are unpunishable.

Mitt Romney Is Trying to Save Policymaking

MONA CHAREN: In 2021, it’s news when a legislator suggests a policy reform for any reason other than naked ambition.

Donald Trump Isn’t on Trial. The Republican Party Is.

CHRIS TRUAX: We know Trump is guilty. We don’t know (yet) whether the Republican party can be saved.


QUESTION TIME. I hope you’re all enjoying the impeachment trial and its subsequent reruns as much I am.

We're going to kill a friend, Yevgeni. We're going to kill Ramius… That scene from the acclaimed movie The Hunt for the Red October came to mind regarding yesterday’s newsletter and my old mentor Josh Mandel. There were some things I missed:

Mandel said he contracted COVID-19 last year, leading to a bad cold and losing his sense of taste. He hasn't yet decided if he'll receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"I'm a strong believer in individual liberty and personal freedom and it should be up to every individual to choose what's best for them." 

But he took shots at former Gov. John Kasich, whom Mandel called a RINO (Republican in name only) and "fake Republican," as well as U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump.

Mandel said Gonzalez was more interested in "being liked by Harvard elites and the journalists and the cocktail party circuit than doing the right thing."

Now, a journalist who Josh mentored, and helped spark a love of politics, even inspired, I have to ask:

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

This is bonkers.

I’m not alone! It’s always disheartening to see when a friend disappoints you, but the venerable George F. Will writes in Washington Post column today:

As the trial proceeded, there appeared a new aspirant for membership in the Republican senators’ large Lout Caucus: Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), et al. In Ohio, Josh Mandel announced his candidacy to replace Rob Portman, the temperate conservative and meticulous legislator who is retiring in 2022. Mandel said the impeachment “got my blood boiling to the point where I decided to run.” His blood boils frequently: This will be his third Senate run.

His agenda for creating a more perfect union is “to pulverize the uni-party,” meaning “this group of Democrats and Republicans who sound exactly the same and are more interested in getting invited to the cocktail party circuit than they are in standing up for the Constitution.” With his stupefying unoriginality, Mandel sounds exactly like innumerable congressional Republicans who clawed their way to Washington by espousing an anti-Washington-cocktail-circuit stance as conservatism. Mandel has perfect pitch for populism’s rhetorical banalities.

As I type this sentence, I am wearing a t-shirt from Moriarty’s Pub. A place I love to frequent, and did with none other than Josh Mandel. I don’t get invited to cocktail parties. Come on. COVID-19. Duh. But if I did, I wouldn’t probably go because I live out in the boonies. I’ve spent more time with Josh Mandel at a bar than I have George Will. In fact, I’ve never met George Will. I saw him walking at a Nats game once but didn’t want to bother him. Mandel’s faux populism is total bullshit.

WHAT WILL YOU DO AFTER TRUMP IS GONE? That’s a common question we at The Bulwark get. We’ve always known our answer. But those who seek to make excuses for the bad orange man are having a harder time.

A well deserved standing ovation.

This was for officer Eugene Goodman, who is being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, along with other officers.

Thank you.

Donald Trump is a greeter now? This argument is kind of amazing.

But wait, it gets better.

Read the whole thing, from Tim Alberta.

#StopTheSteal: Timeline of Social Media and Extremist Activities Leading to 1/6 Insurrection

Read every word of this timeline. It’s important.

Off we go. The Lincoln project has had a rough few weeks. Today, co-founder Steve Schmidt resigned.

A tragic story. A former campaign staffer killed himself outside of his boss’s house. Why? We don’t yet know. We eventually will, and it will probably be depressing.

Is the sequel better than than the original? Jordan Klepper seeks to find out:

“I will destroy you.” Yikes! This doesn’t seem like a good way to endear yourself to the press corps.

The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to the sources. Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.

Seems to run counter to the whole “I will fire you” if you talk down to people principle Biden espoused.

Here’s what happened:

With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”

Inconsistent and unacceptable.

Have we seen this movie before? Our friend and former colleague Chris Deaton noticed a similarity between Ted Cruz talking to a reporter and Ted Cruz talking to a fellow elite Republican.

The shocking conclusion? No matter who you are, you will come to the same conclusion that Andy Ferguson did:

Later we sat together in the back seat of a car driving to another speech. Cruz spoke in personal ways about going to his alma mater, Princeton, but the word clumps from the speeches, the set pieces that he arranges in one sequence or another and seldom departs from, were always within reach. He spoke of his father again. He mentioned the great divide in America, again, and was quoting Margaret Thatcher when I realized he was giving a speech again, except this time at close quarters, only a few feet away, in the back seat of a car. I made a quick calculation of how many vertebrae I would damage if I slipped the lock, opened the door, and did a tuck and roll onto the passing pavement. The answer was: too many. So I contented myself with looking out the window at the Houston exurbs until the speech wound down and I could ask another question, after which the speech resumed and I watched the endless series of tire stores and taco stands and Jiffy Lubes roll by.

The longest field goal ever. If you’ve ever tuned into one of our livestreams, you might have seen the autographed picture in my office from Phil “Robo” Dawson. One of the greatest kickers of all time. If you love the science of sports, and kickers, you will love this video:

That’s it for me for today. Questions, comments, concerns, observations? You know how to reach me:

See you Monday.

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