Discover more from The Bulwark
The Foolishness of Scott Adams
Plus: How to Save American Drinking in Five Easy Steps
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Freak Shows and Faux News
JVL: Out Sick. 🔐
JOE PERTICONE: Examining Ron Desantis’s Tenure in the House
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
WILLIAM SALETAN: The Foolishness of Scott Adams.
“I resign from the hate group called black Americans.” (Adams is white.)
“The best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from black people. Just get the fuck away.”
“It makes no sense whatsoever as a white citizen of America to try to help black citizens anymore. . . . It’s over. Don’t even think it’s worth trying.”
Adams wasn’t done. The next day, he continued…
MONA CHAREN: Please Lie to Me, Tucker.
Oh, how conservatives loved to hate the media. I witnessed it firsthand for decades. In any speech before a conservative audience, the jokes about media bias got the loudest laughs and heartiest applause. Among conservative writers and thinkers, examples of bias were a staple of our output. It was evergreen. In 1992, conservatives sported bumper stickers reading “Annoy the Media: Reelect George Bush.”
I certainly did my share of press criticism (and I’ll reveal my jokes if you’re interested). The leftward tilt of the big prestige press was irritating for those of us on the other side, and compounding the offense were ritualistic denials that emanated from the likes of CBS and the New York Times. We’d cite chapter and verse of slanted reporting; we’d reference surveys showing that only 7 percent of reporters and editors called themselves Republicans; and still we’d be waved away with the patronizing explanation that reporters’ personal views didn’t taint their work.
Master interlocutor Mehdi Hasan says come to a debate prepared — bring receipts and know the other side’s best argument better than they do. And Democrats: The heart beats the head almost every time. So, don’t bring a policy paper to a knife fight. Hasan joins Charlie Sykes today.
Eliot and Eric chew over the developments in Ukraine. They consider divisions within and among West European governments, the question of what defeat of Russia and victory for Ukraine means in practical terms, the lingering overestimation of Russian possibilities and underestimation of Ukrainian potential on the battlefield, and the potential role of China providing lethal aid to Russia.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
CLARE COFFEY: How to Save American Drinking in Five Easy Steps.
As we enter the part of the year known as the Mark Wahlberg 40-Day Challenge, it is perhaps worth taking stock of our overall relationship with alcohol—why we drink, how we drink, and its relation to our happiness and virtue. On an individual level, this is an accounting that everyone must do for themselves. But on a cultural level, I believe there are five changes that could make American drinking more humane, more elegant, more fun: more worthy of such a potent engine of both delight and danger.
ADDISON DEL MASTRO: Charting the Murky Prehistory of the Retail Supercenter.
The “supercenter,” occasionally identified by its European designation, the “hypermarket,” is a retail format most American shoppers associate with Walmart. First appearing in the late 1980s—the sunny and deeply capitalist Reagan era—and exploding in the 1990s and 2000s, the Walmart Supercenter dominates the big-box discount market. Walmart, in fact, is not only among the top brick-and-mortar retailers, but also does the highest volume of grocery retailing.
The first Walmart Supercenter opened in 1988, but it was inspired by a 1987 test concept that Walmart called, after the European name, Hypermarket. The Hypermarket, with some tweaks, became the Supercenter. And that, you might think, is how the supercenter concept was introduced in the United States. Walmart itself suggests so.
Happy Thursday! Things don’t seem to be going so hot at CPAC, but if you care for a sampler platter of the lunacy, our friends at the Republican Accountability Project have you covered. A reminder: Principles First is this weekend, and I have heard from a number of you! I will be there Saturday, along with a number of my colleagues. See you there! (If you don’t have a ticket, you can still get one.)
The differences between liberals and conservatives… May boil down to one belief.
Republicans to achieve rare victory on the hill? A bill to overturn a softening of D.C.’s criminal laws might be headed to the President’s desk. Democrats are divided on the issue: the city council supports it, the mayor does not. Biden said, in a tweet: “I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.” (The D.C. criminal code changes reduce the mandatory minimum for carjacking from seven years to four.)
Russia can’t protect its airbases… From off the shelf drones. One of them landed on an AWACs radome. Next time, put some C4 on it!
Meanwhile, in the “Free State of Florida…” A State Senator is proposing a bill that would require bloggers to register with the state if they’re going to write about elected officials, like Dear Leader Ron DeSantis. The headline is not at all an exaggeration, and if you look at the legislative text, the reality of the proposal is worse.
I’m old enough to remember when conservative bloggers correctly freaked out when Dianne Feinstein proposed that the shield law should apply to “real” journalists. Many of these same chuckleheads will probably cheer if DeSantis signs this blatantly unconstitutional proposal into law. Precious Ron DeSantis must be protected at all costs!
An American Orbán… Jon Ganz has an interesting thread about DeSantis and his similarities to the Hungarian autocrat.
Rolling back taxes you increased… S.V. Date on DeSantis’s Disney tax gambit.
ChatGPT enters the realm of digital dating… SkyNet finds another avenue into our lives. It’s only a matter of time before it gets involved in breakups and divorces.
In local news… The mayor of College Park, Maryland, home to the University of Maryland, resigned last night after being arrested for distributing child pornography. And as D.C.’s free buses for all plan launches, the city discovers a shortfall. Whoops!
DOJ greenlights suits against Trump. Impacted parties from the failed insurrection of January 6 can sue the former guy for his role. Good.
The time cancel culture was good… Nicholas Grossman on why Scott Adams facing the music is a good thing.
Can Trump repeat 2016? The “party chooses” theory faces its biggest test, argues Ron Brownstein at The Atlantic.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.