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A.B. Stoddard: Why I’m Joining the Bulwark
Plus: An update on Wisconsin.
Before we dive into the news of the day, I’m really delighted to share a bit of news: our friend and longtime contributor A.B. Stoddard is joining Team Bulwark full-time.
In addition to being a Bulwark contributor, A.B. has been an associate editor and columnist at RealClearPolitics. She has covered the U.S. Congress since 1994, for States News Service, the Hill newspaper, and as Senate producer for ABC News. She returned to the Hill in 2006 as commentator and columnist, where her column won first place from the Society of Professional Journalists, Washington chapter, in 2010 and 2011. She’s appeared regularly on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and, of course, the Bulwark Podcast.
And she’d like a few words with the readers of Morning Shots:
I am joining The Bulwark with deep humility and the exuberance of someone who owns a Space Force hat. More than All In. But even more exciting is that my mom is actually somehow more pumped than I am, and I love that.
I am proud to have been part of the Bulwark family and have been contributing since it launched, so coming on staff feels wonderful—particularly at this awful time.
There is no place like The Bulwark, not even close. A home for the homeless, where you will be informed and warned, enlightened and uplifted, understood and appreciated. And yes, sometimes depressed by the truth and its painful sting.
Yet it is also the unique place where the terrified are guaranteed a good laugh. In the battle to secure democracy scorching humor is a feature, not a bug, at The Bulwark.
I am full of admiration for the writers of The Bulwark, and their well of mutual respect. Fan girl can’t begin to describe it. They are deep thinkers who are open about when and how they change their minds, or why they hold their ground. They don’t avoid hard debates, disagreements or differences - between each other or the two parties.
Last year when the Dobbs decision tore through the country the most honest, fair and informative conversations about abortion I read or heard were—mostly from pro-lifers—at The Bulwark.
Most importantly, all of us at The Bulwark want to protect the system first, and we place that goal above policy—any policy. Without that system we can’t solve any of our shared problems. Self-governance is the North Star, a system of rules not men.
I look forward to hearing from the amazing, engaged, and discerning Bulwark audience as soon as I get an email set up. Please share your ideas, recommendations for the sleep aids I will need next year, and outrage. I’m here for it.
And yeah, I dread next year’s election as much as all of you do. But as Charlie says, we’re going to get through this together.
— A.B. Stoddard
Welcome aboard, A.B.!
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Down to Clown
Tucker is in some corner of Elon’s basement testing to see what he can get away with, while Elon is cozying up with Putin. Plus, Santos’s oppo on himself, and the potential Saudi deal. Tim Miller joined me for the weekend pod.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin:
If Republicans move ahead with this impeachment, it will be for one reason only: because they think they can. “Republicans feel deeply entitled to their gerrymandered majority,” said Charlie Sykes, once a powerful right-wing radio host in Wisconsin and now a founder of the Never Trump conservative publication The Bulwark. “For them, this is an existential issue.”
Impeachment, which requires only a simple majority of the Assembly, may be easier for Republicans than removal, which requires a two-thirds vote in the State Senate. (Given the size of their Senate majority, they couldn’t afford to lose a single vote.) But some observers think that even if Republicans impeach Protasiewicz, they have no intention of actually holding a Senate trial. Once impeached, a justice is suspended from hearing cases while the process plays out. But since the state Constitution is silent on a timeline for that process, Republicans could impeach Protasiewicz and then leave her in legal oblivion indefinitely.
In that case, the Democratic governor, Tony Evers, would never be able to appoint a replacement, and the court would be deadlocked, unable to do anything about either the gerrymandering or the abortion ban.
“Senate Republicans in Wisconsin are basically saying, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to have a trial. We won’t do anything,’” said Sykes, whose ex-wife is a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice. “So in other words, she would never get to due process. And she would sit in limbo, theoretically, forever. So they just wipe away the election.”
1. On 9/11 We Promise to ‘Never Forget.’ But Too Often We Forget the Post-9/11 Combat Veterans.
I HATE 9/11. I hate the commemorations, the Facebook posts blaring “Never Forget,” and the empty declarations that we will stand vigilant.
I didn’t always feel this way. I used to religiously watch the annual ceremonies. And I’d rewatch footage of the horrific event itself. Seeing the iconic images again helped steel my resolve and propelled me to stay dialed in to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They motivated me to fight.
But ever since 2021, when Kabul fell, I have come to despise the public remembrances of 9/11. Why? Because almost nobody speaks truthfully about the wars that followed.
Now I use the anniversary to take stock of all that happened after that day of terror. I look back on my friendships and see what the wars did to us, the 9/11 generation. Specifically, I look at my two best friends, Mike and Alex, and wince at the toll these “forever wars” took on the few who fought them.
If we really want to “Never Forget,” we must remember not only the events of the day but also what we lost in the wars that followed, and what we’re still at risk of losing.
2. Remembering Russian War Crimes in Mariupol
LATE LAST MONTH, a documentary called 20 Days in Mariupol, made by video journalist Mstyslav Chernov and produced by the Associated Press and the PBS program Frontline, opened in Ukraine after having been released in select theaters in the United States and Europe over the summer. Having seen this 93-minute film at a PEN America screening in New York in May and found parts of it almost unbearable to watch—a lot of reviews use the word “harrowing,” and for a good reason—I can barely begin to imagine how it would affect Ukrainians for whom the war it chronicles is not a distant horror but a daily reality.
A grim record of the war’s early days, the film is especially relevant right now when there is renewed talk of persuading Ukraine to negotiate for peace and make territorial concessions—a scenario in which Russia would presumably keep all the Ukrainian territory it currently controls, including Mariupol. The carnage and devastation Vladimir Putin’s army inflicted on this once-flourishing port city in Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region must be remembered.