The McCarthy-Jordan Plan to Weaponize the House
Plus, Toward a True ‘Zeitenwende’
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: There's Nothing "Conservative" About Reneging On the Debt
JVL: DeSantis Is Buying Conservatism Inc. Out From Under Trump 🔐
ATMA 🎧: Is ‘M3GAN’ a Killer Good Time? Plus: will the VFX shops unionize?
JUST BETWEEN US: Is Garland Dragging His Feet on Charging Trump? 🔐
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
AMANDA CARPENTER: The McCarthy-Jordan Plan to Weaponize the House.
If you want to know how twisted things already are under Kevin McCarthy’s days-long tenure as speaker of the House, just look at what’s on tap for the new “Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.”
In one of his first acts as speaker, McCarthy called a vote to create a new panel with sprawling authority to investigate how conservatives are mistreated, and every Republican voted in favor. It will have subpoena power and the ability to obtain classified information and review ongoing criminal probes, including those related to January 6th.
And whom has McCarthy tapped to lead this partisan initiative? Jim Jordan, the hyperpartisan Ohio congressman who also chairs the Judiciary Committee, of which this new panel is a subcommittee.
WILLIAM KRISTOL AND JEFFREY GEDMIN: Toward a True ‘Zeitenwende.’
We’ve just returned from a series of meetings in Berlin. While there we heard a fair amount of tough criticism of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s hesitancy on Ukraine, and quite a bit of skepticism about his proclaimed Zeitenwende. As the two of us have often been critical of our European allies and skeptical about their commitments to a robust defense policy of resisting dictators, we suspect our interlocutors expected us to echo the criticism.
And we do share some of the criticism and the skepticism.
But as longtime critics of a Europe that hopes for peace more fervently than it works to secure its conditions, we think it important to say this: We came back from Berlin encouraged and heartened. We see a glass more than half full. And we think Germany has a key role to play not just in going along with other allies but in shaping a more promising future.
New York Times-bound David French tells Charlie Sykes how he re-thought same-sex marriage, how he felt he was living in a bubble, and how religious liberty is more strongly protected than it’s ever been. Plus, the inevitability of George Santos.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
JOE PERTICONE: The Republican infatuation with Italy’s new right wing
Led by recently elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) is descended from Italy’s post–World War II neo-fascist movement, and its policy positions are comparable to those of other groups in the constellation of Europe’s populist far right. The party’s members are not known for discretion about their views: One member was suspended after reporters uncovered a Facebook post praising Hitler. Meloni herself has insisted that migrant-rescuing boats should be sunk after their crews have been arrested and passengers repatriated.
The Fratelli have typically been backbenchers in Italian politics. Their fortunes changed dramatically last year following a series of events that culminated in the victory of Meloni’s coalition and her election to the prime ministership in the country’s September elections. When Meloni came to power, Republicans in the United States were elated…
FREDERICK BARON AND DENNIS AFTERGUT: Jim Jordan Overreaches in Attacking DOJ Over the Biden Classified Docs.
Rep. Jim Jordan didn’t wait long to start swinging his partisan wrecking ball. On January 12, in his capacity as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he sent the Department of Justice a letter insinuating misconduct that did not occur. And he surely knew it.
Demanding information about the timing of DOJ disclosures regarding classified documents first found at President Joe Biden’s University of Pennsylvania think tank, Jordan wrote: “It is unclear . . . whether [DOJ] actively concealed this information from the public on the eve of the 2022 elections” (emphasis added).
Jordan cannot be ignorant of DOJ’s longstanding pre-election “quiet policy,” in place since at least 2008 during the George W. Bush administration. Under the policy, DOJ takes no public action on cases relevant to an election in the weeks before—much less the days before—that election, if the action might affect the vote.
BILL LUEDERS: What I Learned from My Mom.
In January 1995 my mother, Elaine Benz, sent me a newspaper clipping of a letter she had written to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal. She was 70 at the time. I’m pretty sure it was the only one she ever wrote. It was a response to another letter writer who had opined that anyone foolish enough to work for the minimum wage must be “one big sucker.” My mom’s letter read, in its entirety:
“The letter written by James Arndt made my blood boil. He has no idea what the world is like when one is disabled or blind. To say ‘you are one big sucker’ if you are working for minimum wages shows Arndt doesn’t know what he is talking about. Elaine Benz, Waukesha.”
Up and coming… Are you coming to our events in LA or Seattle? If so, click the links for a Bulwark+ members-only discussion to meet fellow attendees beforehand and see who you might know is coming.
You found what now? TSA found that somebody tried to fly with this.
What if… Family Guy were a 1980s sitcom? Thanks to AI, the fans might be able to create that.
Visiting the Titanic… If I won Powerball, this is something I’d do with my winnings.
The return of Tom Horne… Is not good news for Arizona.
Inside the MTG / Lauren Boebert bathroom fight… That former guy. Ukraine. #OurKevin. As reported by The Daily Beast.
What’s happening in NYC Pizza? A look and some data by Liam Quigley.
A modern history… Of ‘groomer’ politics.
When to fight… And when to dance. A touching essay by Joe Ragazzo.
A look back… At how one evangelical “leader” handled the killing of MLK.
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.