Leading The Bulwark…
Mona Charen: You can tell a lot about the state of the party by the people who are joining it, the people who are leaving it, and the people it’s pushing out.
On the Pod…
On today's Bulwark Podcast, Josh Kraushaar joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss the 2020 election, the VP debate, President Trump's COVID gamble, and the GOP's down-ballot problem.
JVL, Sarah Longwell, and Tim Miller talk about Trump’s steroidal exuberance, when (and if) he was tested, and whether or not the bottom is falling out on the president’s campaign.
The Next Level is a podcast we created for members of Bulwark+. You can listen to this episode, but soon it’ll only be for members. Give it a listen! And remember, when you become a member of Bulwark+ you get access to cool member-only features like our post-debate livestream chat!
From The Bulwark Aggregator…
From Today’s Bulwark…
Arch Puddington and David J. Kramer: Nothing Trump has done to smash norms and corrupt institutions is new. He’s copying autocrats from around the world.
Tim Miller: About last night’s eruption of more than 40 drug-induced tweets and retweets.
David Priess: The vice presidency remains an insignificant office most of the time. Let’s use these debates to gain better insight into whether these potential vice presidents, when it matters, will be what we need them to be.
Thanks to all for the kind birthday wishes! I even got a fun story related to my George W. Bush campaign bar stool from reader Greg Jenner:
I just read your story about the stool. I am pretty sure I played a role in that speech. At the time, I was Acting AS for Tax Policy at Treasury. My wife and I were in MA that weekend visiting friends. I was on the golf course Saturday morning when the WH called asking me to fact check his speech. There went my round of golf.
They wanted to verify that X% of the tax code focused on the estate tax (making the point that it was unfair AND complicated). I told them they were wrong, that it was a MINUSCULE portion of the Code. They were disappointed but revised the speech.
The other takeaway is that the WH gave a damn about accuracy and the words coming out of W’s mouth. Flash forward 16 years. Inconceivable! :-)
Yep, that was the speech, alright. Greg also adds:
Seeing the Code on the stool triggered that memory - to this day I can picture the hole we were on, getting the call, arguing with the WH (FYI I did not have the Code in the golf cart!) and completely losing my focus on golf.
Keep in mind, this was Labor Day, 2004. Long before the era of truly “smart” smartphones. In 2020 you can easily go into the tax code with a few taps. In 2004, even the best Blackberries or Palm Pilots didn’t make that easy. It was a different time.
Just wanna stay up all night… There’s nothing that we wouldn’t rather do… than stay up all night talking about politics with you.. If you’re a Bulwark+ member, you can see a Zoom live chat with JVL, Sarah Longwell, Amanda Carpenter and others and ask them questions! You can always email your questions, too: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members will get an email from me at the beginning of the debate with the Zoom / call-in information.
Maybe I’m Immune… James Corden is an immense talent. How you turn around this song and be able to pull it off so quickly is beyond me.
Having a normal…
“A play in four acts…” Ari Fleischer never disappoints when it comes to being a Trump toadie.
Playing golf with Charles Barkley… At The Athletic, there’s a cornucopia of Barkley stories from people who have played golf with him. Here are a few of my favorites:
Blake Derman (caddie): Charles was on nine. He was like 220 to the hole or something. He was out of the rough, decent lie, and he was gonna hit an 8-iron and lay up to like 105 yards. I was like, “Chuck, I’ve already got the hybrid in my hand.” I go, “Chuck, layups are for basketball. Come on. Hit the hybrid.” He says, “All right, I’ll trust you.” So he hit the hybrid, and right before he hit, he was like, “Mama Barkley didn’t raise no bitch.” And I was like, “That’s right, sir.” He knocked it on the green, then left his eagle putt like 20 feet short, and we were all dying laughing, man.
Roy Green (former NFL player): Right before he went to TNT, I said, “Chucky, I need some new clubs.” He said, “F—k you, I ain’t buying you no clubs.” I said, “OK, I’ll tell you this. I’m going to either raise our bets when we play, or you’re going to buy them for me. I mean, either way, you’re going to get them ’cause you’re not gonna beat me so let’s just do this a little quicker.” (Cracks up.) So he went and got me the clubs.
Rob Dillon, a financial consultant who had a chance to win $1 million if he sank a 20-foot putt in Lake Tahoe in 2000: Jerry Rice was holding the flagstick for me, Grant Show from Melrose Place was patting me on the back. But I missed it. I came up short. I knew it as soon as I hit it. Charles said, “Man, how do you leave a putt for $1 million short?” I walked past him and didn’t really acknowledge that he said that. I said, “Bro, you’ve never won anything. Come on. Give me a minute.” He said, “You realize you just cost your wife $1 million???” He said, “The least I can do is buy you a beer.” Ten minutes after that putt, I’ve got a picture of him, my wife and my son, with my son in his lap and we’re drinking a beer.
I’ve never played golf with anyone famous, but if I wrote up a wish list, Sir Charles would be right up there at the top.
The Luckiest Man… If you’re looking for something to add to your reading pile that is worthwhile, our friend Mark Salter’s latest is coming out here in a week on his life working with the late, great John McCain.
The McCloskey Grift… The recently-indicted gun-toting lawyers from the Central West End apparently have set up a webpage where they’ll generously accept your donation. I wish I were kidding…
Yard Signs Don’t Vote. As we’ve previously highlighted, yard signs are just a form of signalling your priorities. Yet, people are obsessed with them. People put up dozens of them. They steal them. Some even electrify them or come up with elaborate schemes to catch people messing with their yard signs like a Rube Goldberg cartoon.
Here’s a story of a man in Iowa who was busted for stealing a Joe Biden yard sign. The local paper The Dickinson County News wrote it up. And then, the man went around stealing newspapers from local convenience stores.
Yard signs do not vote. They are not important. They can be a nice way to signal your opinion on something, but they are not worth getting obsessed over. Much less committing multiple acts of theft to cover up the theft of one.
That’s it for me today, friends. We’ll see Bulwark+ members tonight after the debate. Questions, concerns, comments? You know how to reach me: email@example.com.