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What the Ukrainians Need to Succeed
Plus, What Hardship Kitsch Does for Comfortable Millennials.
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CHARLIE SYKES: O Dearie (Again.)
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GISELLE DONNELLY: What the Ukrainians Need to Succeed.
With his delayed and cursory announcement of a “partial” further mobilization of Russian military forces, Vladimir Putin has made several things plain—and inadvertently also made plain what an effective response should be. It is not hyperbole to observe that Putin has opened a window for a decisive Ukrainian victory, if President Joe Biden will only climb through it.
The big headline from Putin’s speech is that he has issued an executive order drafting an additional 300,000 troops, about twice the estimated size of the invasion force this past February. He also laid out plans for annexing territories held in Ukraine to Russia and again rattled his nuclear saber: “I want to remind [you] . . . that our country also has various means of destruction. . . . [W]hen the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin declared. Then, turning to the camera with his best cold-fish, Bond-villain look, “This is not a bluff.”
Judge Dearie is not the kind of master Trump wanted, Hannity is like a North Korea propagandist, DeSantis has thoughts about history, and Turning Point welcomes Alex Jones. And from TribFest, Charlie Sykes and Tim Miller debate immigration deep in the heart of Texas. Your weekend pod.
Benjamin Wittes joins the panel (including Will Saletan) to discuss Trump’s triple legal woes, Putin’s nuclear saber rattling, and Electoral Count Act reform finally happening.
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CATHY YOUNG: The Weakness of the Strongman.
Ever since the brilliant Ukrainian counteroffensive that liberated much of the Kharkiv region in mid-September and forced Russian troops into a panicked retreat, Russia watchers have been waiting for Vladimir Putin’s response. It came on Wednesday morning when the Russian autocrat made a televised address announcing a “partial military mobilization”—a call-up of military reservists—and endorsed rapid moves to annex four regions of Ukraine, including the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, via referendums on unification with Russia.
Obviously, this is an escalation. But toward what, and how could it play out? Drawing especially on Russian sources, let’s review the record of the last few days and see where the smart analysis now stands.
ADDISON DEL MASTRO: What Hardship Kitsch Does for Comfortable Millennials.
If I had a nickel for every time Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” has come on while I’m working in a coffee shop, I’d be able to buy the single on vinyl. I’m from New Jersey, too, and I always hum along, partly because until recently I’d never made out the lyrics. I had assumed it was about a fling, as most pop songs are. “We’re halfway there,” shorn of context, suggests something other than making rent or paying the car loan.
How wrong I was: When I finally googled the lyrics, I realized that, like Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” the signature Bon Jovi hit is a 1980s Jersey Shore working-class struggle song—a genre that testifies to the desperation of life in that time and place as the last remnants of the midcentury postwar economy went to pieces. (Not to be outdone, Long Island’s Billy Joel wrote “Allentown” in the same era, but that song doesn’t pack quite the same punch: Allentown never did have many factories to tear down.)
Happy Friday! I hope you’re having a better day than Trumpy Ohio candidate J.R. Majewski, who is accused of misrepresenting his military service and subsequently losing support from the NRCC. But not before doubling down in the most hilarious way possible.
Let’s do somebody a solid. A friend of mine’s wife was recently diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. This friend is very generous and raised a lot of money for Afghani refugees, which many of you kindly supported. The helpers in our complicated world can need help sometimes, too. Donate if you can.
Hawley fundraising email warns… against teaching kids there’s ‘more than one gender.’ Whoops!
The worst kids show on TV… Has to be ChuChuTV and my kids, I regret to inform you, have discovered it. At least there are memes for us adults.
Make America Great Again, Again, and Again. How many PACs can one man have?
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