The good, the bad, and the absurd
I feel like Joe Biden should be mentioned by name in here, somewhere. Yes, he speaks slowly, and sometimes misspeaks, but he’s quietly accomplished quite a bit.
Imagine, if you will, a world where tfg won in 2020. Where would Ukraine, its president and its people be today? I have to believe China would have taken Taiwan, and tfg’s buddy in North Korea would feel free to threaten the south.
Of the very few things I welcomed in 2022, The Bulwark has got to be top of my list. I no longer despair that journalism is dead nor balanced opinion passé. I congratulate you all in putting together this important outlet of truth in a world driven insane by right wing zealots and delusional sycophants.
Re Kari Lake and the MAGA folks she speaks for - The funny thing is these people are angry, vindictive jackasses but don't even know what they're angry at. I'm against woke. What's woke? I don't know. I'm against CRT. What's CRT? I don't know. I'm against Diversity, Equality and Inclusion seminars. Have you ever attended one? No. Has any employer demanded you attend one? No. I'm against drag queens reading to kids. Have you ever been to any such reading? No. Did anyone ever require you to take your kid to one? No. Do you even have any kids? No. I want to ban books by James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. Do you know who those authors are? No. Have you ever checked out books by them and read them? No. I'm against "trans." People who identify as transgender are 0.6% of the population. Do you know any such people? No. Have you ever spoken to any such people? No.
What they're really mad at - and I don't even know if mad is the right word - is their own unfulfilling lives. They are unhappy, frustrated people unable to cope in today's world so they have defaulted to easy appeals to demonization and bigotry which allows them to re-direct their anxiety, anger and frustration. These people would be better served by classes in mindfulness.
Don't forget the polio outbreak in NY state.
This one is particularly crushing because Polio was slated to be the second or third human disease eradicated, and the odds of that are way down now.
Say what you want about the guy as a president, but Jimmy Carter and the Carter foundation are continuing to nudge ever closer to eradicating the Guinea worm, which is a huge accomplishment. 12 cases in 2022!!!
You people are awesome. I always learn something here. Guinea worm eradication! Brazilian fascism. The anniversary of The Waste Land. And somehow I forgot about NASA moving the asteroid. You all have a wonderful New Year celebration with your loved ones. I'm feeling like 2023 is going to be a roller coaster, so let's rest up!
Kari Lake - who easily could have won had she not campaigned as a nutty troll - is emblematic of today’s Republican Party. One big ball of sputtering hate railing at everyone and looking to punish people for perceived grievances. You see that in the anti-abortion legislation as well. It’s really rather pathetic. You wonder how long it’s going to take for these people to tire of carrying around all that hate.
Everyone's take on Kevin M is soooo wrong. The dude's actually a Deep State deep-cover agent working for the Democrats, right out in the open, hiding in plain sight, successfully sabotaging the R's chances to sabotage the J6 Committee right under everyone's noses, and now causing turmoil and division among the new House majority in a bid to be Speaker. This is difficult and dangerous work. He could be found out at any moment and end up as a star on the wall of the Deep State's lobby. The danger! The pressure!! But this guy's as cool as they come. Ice water fills his veins!
Chosen for his uncanny, innate ability to masquerade as a spineless, brain-dead jellyfish while executing actions of a most daring, cunning and complex nature, Agent 000 is packin' balls of steel which require no tanning. James Bond couldn't hold his beer. All those who love this country should be eternally gratefu...uh... what? (muffled whispers in the background) Really?!
Uh...(embarrassed chuckles)...sorry 'bout that. A little mix up in my calendar. It's January 1st that's almost upon us. Had the damned thing turned to April for some reason.
I wanted to write a whole piece on how grateful we should be for Kevin McCarthy. Without his utter idiocy and smug lack of self-awareness, as Charlie said, the committee wouldn’t have been nearly as effective, if useful at all.
Had Cocaine Mitch (or Pinot John) been in Little Kevin’s shoes they would have 1.) indeed put up the original five members Kevin offered knowing full well Pelosi would reject Jordan and Banks; and 2.) replace them with other Good RepublicansTM in their place. This would create a situation where they could have the best of all worlds.
First, the R members on the committee would, either on their own or under inevitable overwhelming pressure from the conservative eco system, throw as much sand in the gears as possible. They could do this by pretending to be serious and having “deep concerns” over the subpoenas sent out. They would end questioning of every witness by asking if person X ever heard Trump say verbatim “I want murders done by my idiot supports who are here in this exact time and place at the eclipse”. Or they would just go crazy and make the whole thing so frustrating that people tuned it out. Meanwhile, Gym and Jim would be on Tucker every night being aggrieved at their removal at the hands of the evil, elite wokester Nancy Pelosi. To add insult to injury, if Ds only had 6 seats, Nancy would be under quite a lot of urging from within the caucus to only put on Ds and thus almost certainly Cheney, and definitely Kinzinger, wouldn’t have been assigned.
But Kevin can’t think that far ahead and thought one good (MAGA) news cycle where he could fundraise off of being mad because he was “banned” from selecting his own members was the end goal. It’s like he’s got a pawn all the way to the end of his opponents board, yelled “king me!” and walks away from the table, unknowingly forfeiting the match.
If you're not following what is going on in Brazilian politics, you definitely should. Some recent highlights:
1) Bolsonaro claims the election was stolen from him via vote-switching machines (sound familiar?)
2) Bolsonaro supporters are camping outside of military barracks trying to get the military to do a coup--and there are many Bolsonaro supporters in the military
3) Bolsonaro supporters violently stormed the federal police headquarters
4) Bombs have been planted and discovered by federal police (sound familiar?)
5) Lula de Silva (newly elected president) wants to ban assault weapons in Brazil after Bolsonaro legalized them years ago with over 600,000 assault weapons now in circulation in Brazil (sound familiar?)
6) Federal police have already gotten into shootouts with Bolsonaro supporters who have refused to surrender their firearms (sound familiar?)
If Lula is sworn in peacefully and the assault weapons ban goes into effect against an increasingly armed and conspiratorial conservative crowd there, we get to see what the outcomes look like from a distance while we suffer from lots of the same social/political problems as they do. I suspect we're going to see a lot of Brazilian Wacos/Ruby Ridges and some potentially serious shootouts between Bolsonaristas and federal police. It's gonna get spicy down there next year folks.
I have nothing of substance to add to Charlie's excellent summation of the year nearly past, and I appreciate the overall optimistic tone. There are good things going on, things we can build on. So let's do that.
What will 2023 bring? It feels like the calm before the storm of 2024, when we see if our diligence and our progress have been either substantive or illusory. It could become the year that MAGA regroups and puts fear and loathing back on our immediate horizon. Or it could be a time when we find our inspiration from others who live outside of the firestorm. Yesterday, minding my own business at an Uncle Mike's Bake Shoppe in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I was approached by a stranger who stuck a gift card into my hand and said, "I just used this, and there still is some value left on it. I'd rather share it with you -- use it for whatever you like." It was a small gesture in the bigger picture of things, but at the same time a welcome and needed reminder that random acts of kindness are not dead, and that the world and society that we live in each day is not necessarily the one we hear about in the 24-hour news cycle bombardment.
Whatever the Trumps and Lakes choose to do on the macro level in 2023, I'm resolving to be more like the woman at Uncle Mike's and lead by that example more than by the anger and frustration that MAGA makes me feel. Also at our micro level, there are good things going on, things we can build on. So let's do that too. Each one, reach one, and make every day a net gain. Wishing all of your here a good end to 2022, and an even better 2023 -- safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous. And, please, share them all as you can.
Wow. Charlie has analysis like nobody else. The whole month subscription fee is worth just one powerful article like this! Bravo 👏🏼
Happy New Year, and many thanks to the Bulwark staff and to this great community here - you guys are enriching my life and helping me keep my sanity!
Charlie is spot on as usual! Love the description of the demise of the supposed heir to the Orange guy and big-time loser, Kari Lake, and the success of reasonable Democrats who were pushed across the goal line by moderate Republicans and independents who said enough of the crackpottery, lunacy and just plain moral rot of the pathetic election deniers.
I have to admit that Tim Miller drew me over here to check out the Bulwark and to my delight, Tim is just one of the flowers in this Garden of Sanity. Thanks for all you do and have a Blessed and Productive 2023.
Re: Kari Lake's obscene gesture - I grew up in a Polish and Italian immigrant community. If memory serves, many years ago I was informed that the proper way to do the "Italian Salute" was to place the RIGHT hand on the LEFT arm which was then raised into the air. So it would appear that, in addition to her other spectacular failures, Ms. Lake cannot even signal "Up Your's" correctly.
Great summation, Charlie! Hope you are sufficiently refreshed! Happy New Year!