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Bill Kristol: Glimmers of Hope

January 18, 2023
Notes
Transcript

The shift in attitudes about defense and foreign policy in Germany has been dramatic since the war in Ukraine began. Plus, will ripping off a dying dog be the tipping point for George Santos? Bill Kristol — fresh off a series of meetings in Berlin — joins Charlie Sykes today.

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

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  • Speaker 1
    0:00:52

    Let me just start off with a quick apology at the top of the podcast for those of you that are subscribers to our morning shots newsletter. If you are a Bulwark plus member, of course, you get my morning shots newsletter, you get JBL’s tried, as well as our entire suite of podcasts. So I put out morning shots every day and usually manage not to royally screw it up. I I am not perfect, but this morning I do the newsletter, which is a little bit different I have to admit. I did something that I don’t usually do, which is engage in public art criticism.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:29

    Talk about the Martin Luther King Junior debacle up in Boston. I imagine a lot of you may have different points of view about all of that. So I wrote about that. And why Martin Luther King Junior should not take it personally because bad public art has been around for a very, very long time something. That the late Tom Wolf chronicled in great detail.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:50

    So I spent some time talking about the devolution, the Uglification of public art, and then, of course, young crude links to some of the, you know, outstanding pieces we have with the blower. Okay. So make the long story short. I press the send button to the hundreds of thousands of people who get the newsletter, only to realize to my complete and abject horror that for some reason I had sent out an earlier version of the newsletter one that did not include everything that had not been edited at all So to my complete horror, I had to redo the newsletter and send out a corrected version. So if you get this in your inbox and you’re reading this going, wait, Charlie promised that I was gonna read something about George Santos, and there’s nothing about George Santos here at all.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:35

    And what’s the rest of all of this? Look again at your inbox because they sent out a corrected version. My apologies for the error. My apologies for decluttering your inbox and hopefully, you’ll understand why you got two of those emails for the price of one. Now, I am explaining this because I also had to explain this to my colleague, Bill Crystal, who had to wait for fifteen minutes while
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:59

    I fixed this problem before we began that. Bill, thank you so much for your patience. No problem at all. I had a very pleasant conversation with Katie Cooper about where to go in Berlin and other cities in Europe. So it was a very It was a pleasant fifteen minutes without you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:13

    I hate to tell you that. And of course, it’s great to have you as well, and I’m gratified to hear that. We’ve all screwed up those kinds of newsletters and I sent you an open letter to sign, which you did thank you. We’ll talk more about that next week. Maybe when it comes out on the Ross supporting the dissidence in Iran, the protesters in Iran.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:28

    And you send out that kind of thing, you just worry. Am I am I sending the right copy? There have been five different iterations of it. Am I changing the name right? So it’s Dear Charlie, not you know, the previous one that I sent to someone else was, you know, dear John and, you know, how embarrassing is it to so these things do do happen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:47

    And and maybe we can talk about that letter when it comes out, but I was I was very pleased to join you in in signing that letter. Well, as you mentioned, you just got back from Berlin where the renewed democracy initiative and America purpose co hosted a series of meetings. So you’re not jet lagged anymore.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:04

    You’re you’re back. You’re you’re you’re you’re can’t ready and rested. I’m back. I’m ready. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:09

    Untermed, unready, but somewhat rested. Right? Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:12

    So I I do wanna hear about this because you did send some dispatches from Berlin that suggested that, first of all, that these conversations about, you know, the future of the west, the future of democracy were compelling and interesting and provocative, but also you seem to be exuding a certain amount of optimism. And and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about because, of course, one of the big questions, you know, hanging over a lot of this is, you know, will the Democratic West, you know, continue its resolve and its unity in the face of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. And there were a lot of questions about your host country, about Germany’s handling of this. So give me your your sense of that. I mean, you you write in the board today that you heard of, you know, a fair amount of tough criticism of chancellor Olaf Scholz’s hesitancy on Ukraine and quite a lot of skepticism about, you know, his proclaimed turning point, you know, for the west.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:05

    But give me your sense. Where are we at? And how disappointed should we be in Germany? So
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:10

    I think the glass is more half full than half empty, and I think one does sort of forget that. And it’s like here, people we met with. We’re on the Hawkerside, let’s just say the pro giving Ukraine what they need faster and and more thoroughly than perhaps we’ve been doing. Side of things just as we’ve been here. So I think of it as our counterparts over there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:28

    I think tank people, journalists, but also pretty senior government officials and members of the blendish dog, some of them from Schultz’s own party, the socialist democratic party, and the Democratic socialist party, and others from the Christian Democrats or the Greens who interestingly have been the most hawkish and the foreign minister who’s agreeing has been pushing Schultz to do the right thing. So it’s a little bit like here. Are there things to complain about with the Biden administration? Sure. Have there been missteps, hesitancies, and just a general sense that they just should be a little faster and a little more aggressive.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:58

    Yes. But at the end of the day, sort of like here, I think, if you compare it to where we were a year ago, it’s what we might have expected before February twenty fourth, it’s a pretty big change. And so in the piece Jeff Gedden and I wrote for the Bulwark, we used to start peg the speech that Adjesla Schulz gave what I think three days after the invasion, where you said it’s a it’s a site and vendor, which as I understand, it means it means time, you know, what vendor means I don’t know, turn, like, winding your way as well. So, you know, the it’s used in German to meet up, the watershed, a turning point, something like that. And he said, this is a real turning point.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:33

    And I’ve got to say this, there’s a lot of g. It’s a turning point, but he hasn’t quite come through as much as he should have. And I there’s truth to that, certainly. But I think if you look at the forest, not the trees, it’s pretty startling. I mean, Germany has spent decades saying, you know, since we were too early, we don’t get involved in our We don’t sell arms to participants in the middle of armed conflicts.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:53

    They’ve they’ve violated that a little bit, I think, in the last two, three decades, but not much. And here they are. They’ve already sent a ton of arm a lot of arms on it to you, great, and now they’re about to send, I think, the the leopard tanks. And that’s a pretty big step, and they are increasing their defense budget. And what struck me the most though was a little like here, I think, too, the general mood that, okay, I mean, what Putin has shown us is the sort of implications of a world in which the democracies are kind of passive don’t do much to penalize or deter aggression.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:23

    Give a sense of weakness. I will say incidentally for those of us who as you and I were were critical of the Afghanistan withdrawal I was struck how many Germans brought that up unprompted as something that they think influenced Putin. He obviously had ambitions that you created way before. That, but they really suggested Putin that Biden wouldn’t react strongly. I I mean, again, that was not something I I hadn’t really thought that much.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:47

    I mean, I’m aware of that argument, but I It wasn’t something I brought up or Jeff, but they did anyway. But the degree to which as was here, they have just I think they have liberated themselves from that post cold war kind of everything will be fine, and things will get better on their own. In any way, trade is more important than democracy. See. And in any way, Russia, Germany has a particular net issue with it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:10

    We’ve got to work with Russia and so forth. So it was heartening and one thing I was just saying conclusion. Little bit like here too, the younger people were more forward leaning in terms of the ones we met with, at least, in terms of defending freedom and helping Ukraine, standing with Ukraine. Obviously, that’s true of all young people there anymore than it is here. But the older politicians show up to sixty four think of him a little like vibegronously.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:35

    You know, we’ve been around a long time, cautious, mainstream, and in this case, social democrat. Not terrible on things, but not interested. Three years ago, if you’d told them, hey, you’re gonna be the person who’s the Harry Truman of the moment, and reorienting totally reorienting your hard foreign policy. People would have said what? Are you kidding me?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:54

    You know? He’s done it reluctantly, but the people pushing it are often forty years old, not seventy years old, and are younger people who’ve seen Putin, a little more of clothes, who know people from Ukraine, who are following the protests in Iran and who think this is the time to really step up and defend freedom and democracy against against the autocrats. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:14

    Before we let Germany off the hook too much, though, they have been slow. And the cost of the Ukrainians has been huge. As you point out, you know, the US is also know, despite, you know, the tremendous aid we’ve given, miss also dragged its feet in Ukraine and should have had, American Patriot missile, defenses, Abrams, tanks, Bradley fighting, vehicles, and they should have had these things months ago. But it does feel that whatever criticism you could direct at the slow pace of American aid, you’d have to multiply by many, many multiples for for Germany. I mean, I I’m stuck on the whole you know, remembering when they announced that they were going to send helmets at the start of the war.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:56

    I mean, talk about a slow rule by the Germans, the helmets. So, I mean, how much criticism is warranted for Ola Schultz basically sitting back while thousands of Ukrainians were killed. I mean, it it’s not No. K. He’s finally getting it right, but he’s gotten it right after, you
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:17

    know, a horrific failure to step up at a at a crucial moment. Too harsh? No. That’s fair enough. And we had Ukrainians, both Ukrainians and the people who were living in Kiev, or Revolve, who came to these meetings.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:31

    So we got that Ukrainian sense of point of view and sense of urgency and sense of terrible tragedy and disappointment that more hadn’t been done by a lot of people. So I think that’s important to stress when we set the glasses a little more than half full, but that still implies it’s, you know, forty percent empty or something. One thing this did bring on to me is the US has to lead. I mean, there was zero chance that Germany was gonna go further than the US. And I would say very small chance that Germany was gonna go quite as far as fast as the US.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:00

    So if we want Germany to be it, you know, to put it in a simple right away at eighty percent, we have to be at ninety percent. And the fact is we were at sixty percent I’m obviously, these are pulling it out of a half, but you know what I mean? And Germany was there for forty percent. And this was true. There were participants from other countries and some of these informal off the record discussions.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:17

    Degree to which they all look to the US is standing apart from really the gulfs in a couple of states, Poland, right near Russia. None of them was gonna go out ahead of us. Some of them have been terrific. Those those eastern countries, but and and the Baltic countries. But for the mainstream countries in in Western Europe, they need us to go to lead.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:36

    So, again, the such a familiar theme, some of us have been arguing for a long time, but it really was brought home in a very concrete
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:42

    way. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:43

    people said, look, if you need to send the Abrams, then Schultz will feel pressure to send the leverage, but just the German tech. And he will eventually, I think he will agree to on Friday at Raumstein is a big meeting, which our defense secretary is leading. But if you hesitate, if the vibes, you send out or once of uncertainty or hesitation, there’s so much pressure within the system there to continue to hesitate that you’ll do so. So the irony is it’s the opposite where people say, well, Europe will step up if America pulls back a little from America’s gotta let Europe will
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:12

    only step up if we step up first and even more. So the more decisive and I think the most clear departure from past policy, which you identify, is the idea of change through trade. There had been this naive notion that Germany and and the West could induce Vladimir Putin to, you know, be more reasonable if you just, you know, open the doors for trade. And as you point out, this belief that the commercial ties coupled with earner’s dialogue could soften the heart of accrual dictator, that’s been dropped. And we’re seeing this rapid elimination of dependence on Russian energy, that strikes me as a long term shift in the end of of a very strong illusion that gripped the west
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:59

    for a very long time. No. That’s well said and that’s I think that’s important and I there is trying to give up several times in these discussions with a sort of, correct, sort of caution a little bit of jeez. We could do this with Russia. It’s not a bad powerful economy at the end of the day and most of it is oil and gas.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:15

    And I think Biden seems the Biden administration did more than I realized at least to help the Germans liberate themselves from Russian gas with LNG and various small things they did that made it a lot easier for us to export natural gas and the Germans to import it and others to import it. To them and so forth. But anyway, they are liberated from German gas, which is kind of amazing. Yet just a few years ago, they were building and defending the building of the gas line that would have made them permanently dependent on Russian gas or much more dependent on Russian gas. So it’s a pretty big change.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:47

    But I mean, a lot of people said, China not letting ourselves become dependent in the same way on China. That’s really gonna be a challenge. And obviously, that’s something that we’re debating here in terms of some of the high-tech stuff and all that. These changes take a little longer than one would like. And but I I guess I’m somewhat encouraged that intellectually I kind of felt in terms of attitude some people at least have turned the corner or or turning the corner might be a better way of saying it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:12

    And there was surprisingly there was a someone said he had made a point to a meeting with very senior government officials. Someone had said, one, do you think we this kind of ends and we go back to business as usual. And he said, we’re not going back to business as usual. It’ll be a new normal. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:27

    And there was a little bit of bristling at that and, you know, we don’t know that. But but I he said that was actually a lot of people said, yeah. That’s you know, we may not like it. We may have hoped that it would work out. They had a pretty good run-in Germany for the last, you know, twenty, thirty years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:41

    But they have to adjust to and think through how to shape a new normal. The other point I’d like is there’s still a little bit too much of they’re reacting to Putin, which obviously we all are. Into the invasion or into the war, but they they haven’t quite crossed the bridge to, okay, let’s shape the future, not just deal with this very terrible invasion, like you and I months ago, I I used this analogy. You know, you know, you know, you used sort of fixing up an accident on a highway and maybe correcting some of the unsafe aspects of a highway? Or are you building, like, a new highway, basically?
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:13

    You know? And I think they’ve kinda moved to yes, they need to rethink what you just said, the belief and trade, the sense that they can stay out of things, the sense that they don’t need to be pretty aggressive in helping those who are fighting to defend themselves. I I think a lot of that is again, it changed a little more than I expected. So I’m I’m slightly upbeat. It’s very important on Friday at this rhombstein meeting that they announce the the tanks.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:39

    I mean, tanks aren’t the only weapon. Some experts say they’re not even the most important at this point. But it’s become symbolically so so important to signal that they’re overcoming and we’re overcoming that kind of fear that, oh my god, this is
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:52

    an escalation and god knows what will do. You use the word epiphany, you know, saying that what you’re seeing now is as close to an epiphany for a tree that in the past has defined itself as civilian power now rediscovering the value of deterrence and art of power. And as you were talking, I was thinking, I wonder, maybe it hasn’t happened yet, but you did mention, you know, how this might color our attitudes towards China because there had been this deep belief if you engaged in trade and dialogue, this would soften the the Russians. Obviously, that has been discredited. Now the question comes, okay, So what should our attitude now be going forward to China?
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:30

    I wonder whether or not it hasn’t happened yet. But as you suggest, there is that feeling that maybe we’re undergoing an epiphany in relationship to that power as as well. I mean, I would I don’t know whether you had the same reaction. I was struck by how strong the bipartisan vote was for that select committee on the that’s posed by China. It’s headed by Wisconsin congressman Mike Gallagher.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:53

    I get a sense that a similar change might be happening here. You know, the Germans have had their skills fall from their eyes about, you know, engagement and dependence on Russia and perhaps Americans are going yet. We really wanna ever be that dependent on the Chinese. Think that’s happened in the last five, six,
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:10

    seven years. You just look at this overall debate. I do think that committee is a little more important than a typical congressional committee I haven’t followed a close case that maybe should have, but Gallagher’s head of it. It is genuinely bipartisan. And I think not widely lopsided.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:24

    I think maybe they made that one nine to seven or something, nine publicants, some of the Democrats, some of these other committees, they make, you know, fourteen to five or whatever. So I think Gallagher wants to end up with bipartisan report, bipartisan recommendations. And he himself, though I think you and I have critical of him for going along so much with, of course, McCarthy and not helping not supporting this journey and stuff. Still, he is instinct is he is more of a Republican who understands that you gotta have the country united to make these things work. And that could become a bit of a model, I don’t know, overstated, one committee for, you know, at least in some areas, Republicans just getting off the you know, insane, performative demigodgery and idiocy at actually being serious.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:06

    And Democrats saying, okay, on this area, we’re gonna kind of bracket some of the other stuff. And you know, Mike, you’re voting for all these idiotic things. What Arthur wants you to vote for, which he is, unfortunately, in terms of, you know, all the party line votes on the other committees and so forth. But in this thing we need to work together. So I think it’d be interesting to see how that plays out over the next two years.
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    0:18:25

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  • Speaker 1
    0:20:31

    Okay. Well, speaking of the House of Representatives, we’re now getting the committee assignments and that should not come as a surprise to anyone at all, but Marjorie Taylor Green all Gosar, George Santos, all getting their committee assignments. Looks like Margaret Taylor Green is getting some pretty significant Assignments, both Green and the Gossar, have spots on the oversight and accountability committee, which is gonna be launched all those investigations into president Biden, Merger Taylor Greens, also on the Homeland Security Committee, which, of course, they’re gonna use as a cudgel beat up on the homeland security secretary. So your thoughts about that. I keep coming back to the fact that it wasn’t that long it was in two thousand nineteen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:10

    The Republicans still had enough sense of red lines that they were willing to strip Iowa congressman Steve King of all of his committee assignments when he embraced White Supremacy. That was two thousand nineteen. Fast forward to now, Marjorie Taylor Green, Paul Goss, are both of whom trafficked in conspiracy theories, lies, tradition, etcetera, named to some of the most powerful high profile committees in the House of Representatives. So build. We knew it was trending this way, but this really is MTG’s house, isn’t it?
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:40

    Yeah. You
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:41

    know what it is? And she got two plumb committee spots, which is pretty unusual. I haven’t looked personally. But if you go through very senior members of the House, they’re on one very important committee, maybe you would cut that off on on two. At least the two she wanted the most.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:56

    She supported McCarthy. She has a CS credibility, sort of called Fat among in Mago World. She ended up being a bit of a broker, I think, in getting the votes at the end from the, you know, sixteen or something of the twenty that McCarthy needed. And also helped my before that, I think, you know, lock up the two hundred he he had. So I think this was an explicit deal that she made with McCarthy you know, she’s ridiculous in so many ways, you might say, but she’s not, I think, without some cunning as the kind of inside player.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:22

    And she really maximized her role in this And so it’s not just that OG and McCarthy’s being nice to someone. He shouldn’t be nice to. She is an actual power player. As is Jim Jordan, in the house. And that makes me very skeptical of the people who say, well, McCarthy can manage them and stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:38

    Jordan is gonna be head of judiciary. And the judiciary committee and pretty ruthless, I would think, in exploiting the powers of that committee. And Marjorie Taylor Green is there on oversight. And I’m with security with a direct line to the speaker. So I’m gonna be at
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:51

    a panel later today and, you know, talking about the new Republican house majority. And one of the questions that I’m going to be asked, I’m I’m guessing, is well, you know, are there still moderate Republicans? Are there still normal Republicans? And what role would they play? And I think my answer is going to be, well, yes, there are moderate Republicans, but they keep empowering the crazies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:13

    And yes, they could play an important role in some of the upcoming debates, including on the debt limit. But so far, we haven’t seen any willingness to break with this new majority. So the the face of this Republican majority is not the moderate Republicans or people like Mike Gallagher, quite frankly, who’s gone along with all of this. But it’s going to be Marjorie Taylor Green, Jim, Jordan, Paul Gossar, and people like George Santos. And apparently, Kevin McCarthy thinks that that’s that’s a good idea.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:43

    But, I mean, give give me your sense though, where are the moderate Republicans and what should we expect? Should
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:48

    we expect anything different than we’ve seen from them over the last five, six, seven years? I think people do expect at the end of the day twenty, then we’ll both raise the death limit and and sign a discharge petition if it comes to that and if a lengthy tries to hold the hostage. But I don’t know. I’ve become a little more nervous than I was. It’s just two, three weeks ago partly because of the Georgia jail, like, green, you know, getting on the committees and the way the the fight for the speaker showed out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:13

    When we’re nervous that I don’t know, will all those people be willing to break simply with McCarthy? Or will they sort try to be negotiators, and then suddenly we’re negotiating up against some debt limit deadline with things that the Democrats can’t then hold all their members for. Clearly, the Democrats gonna take the burden of increasing the debt ceiling, which I don’t know that much of a burden anymore. It used to be considered politically so damaging. I think people kinda know that it’s or posturing and ridiculous and dangerous to to not pay your debts.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:41

    So I I kind of think the democrats can do this, but it would be very helpful. I mean, my Gallagher to take one. He intend other Republicans to just say now they’re gonna vote to increase the debt ceiling. That would take a huge burden off the markets. It would mean that what the right time they could do the discharge petition, which does take a little notice.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:59

    I think it’s thirty it has to sit for thirty days before it can compress it before. And, you know, they could begin to tea up, they could get the Republicans and the Senate to go along. And if they if the Democrats wanna give them what are two little things, you know, that would be fine too, I suppose, you know. But doesn’t feel like that’s gonna happen, but that would
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:15

    be the responsible thing to do. So that’s exactly what they should do because even the threat of this is dangerous to the economy, but they’re not going to do this because My fear is that any of these grown up normal Republicans, you know, allegedly, you know, it whatever, you know, they put the quotation marks around that, that if they were to announce that they’re gonna support a discharge petition, that they’re going to vote with Democrats, it will be the equivalent of the impeachment vote in terms of guaranteeing that they will get a primary and that they will be excommunicated in exile. And Mike Gallagher is not gonna do that because he just got his own plumb. Committee assignment. And he knows that if he breaks with fellow Republicans, I mean, you know, Crysvita can let loose, you know, the flying monkeys of the
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:57

    right. So I guess the best
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:58

    alternative is they privately tell the bad administration they’ll be there at the end, but they just wanna talk about it and they just wanna make it one quick photo to last minute and but it’s not as good obviously and it’s and and you worry how how firm they’ll hold. And again, it’s not as if Jordan and Green and McCarthy, you know, are gonna be passive. Right? They’re gonna increase the pressure. They’ll be Trump will be saying whatever he says, what if the scientist also weighs in and suddenly all the leading, you know, Republican presidential candidates are one side of this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:27

    And I’m more worried. I I started missed the destiny stuff, not dismissed, but, you know, minimized my own mind. How serious the threat that was, but I’m more worried about that now. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:36

    am too. And I, generally, my default setting has been to tune out those debates because there’s, you know, there’s a lot of heavy breathing and there’s drama, but ultimately it’s kabuki dance because they’ll come up with a deal at the very end. So if you tune out to it, you you kind of know at the end of the movie. I’m sure you’re concerned about this because I don’t know that’s possible because we don’t know how much Kevin McCarthy has given away. We do know this that anything that was around that Kevin McCarthy could give away he gave away.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:03

    Anything that he could slice off of his soul, he sliced off of his soul. Let’s etcetera, you know. I mean, if you want me to go back to the self glding reference, but the guarantees that he made, made, make, compromise, impossible. So that’s why they’re trying to talk themselves into thinking, well, we can play this game of fiscal chicken without too much damage because we’ll pass this resolution telling the treasury to prioritize payments to the bondholders, Social Security payments, and the military and we’ll basically cut everything else, and and that’ll be a
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:34

    political winner for us. What could go wrong, Bill? Yeah. Exactly. And the George Santos thing, which you’ve covered it on both in on these podcast and also in in the newsletter, very wittingly, I I wittingly essay, and and interestingly, you’ve kind of noticed all the stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:50

    It’s unbelievable. The key is coming out. You know, it’s not a trivial thing because one can imagine an also universe which Kevin McCarthy’s doing a lot of things we don’t like. But he does say, look, I mean, we need to bracket the question to George Santos. There has to be an investigation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:03

    There are real questions that have been raised. Not gonna support a motion to kick him out of the Congress right now, but it’s a legitimate question. You can imagine him saying that. He hasn’t said that. You can imagine McCarthy deciding the last couple of days look, we’re we’re gonna put off putting what committees because we just don’t know, frankly, what’s gonna happen with the ethics committee investigation and the legal investigations.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:22

    If he clears it all, you know, he can join the committees in two months. But for now, we’re just gonna let him be, you know, a member of Congress for none of the committees. That wouldn’t have been a crazy thing to do. And of course, he didn’t and he put him on committees. I don’t know if they’re very important committees, but the degree to which McCarthy is digging himself into a situation where he can’t support getting him to say those, I think, unless he’s, like, literally convicted of a, you know, federal crime or state crime.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:47

    Is pretty striking. Right? And so, again, I think it shows the way in which something we’ve seen so much over the last six years. Right? The the kind of one step leads to it other.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:56

    The slope is slippery. And they’re gonna dig themselves into defending George Santos. And not just march to jail and green defending him, which is already happening and at least tophonic maybe, but you know, McCarthy at some point saying, we’ll forget it. You know, the voters can decide on this in twenty four, but we’re not doing
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:11

    anything. Okay. So the latest on George Santos. Now here’s the question to keep in mind. Is this the tipping point.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:21

    Okay? We know all of the sleeves and all the lies that Kevin McCarthy has been willing to to tolerate. We we we know that he swallowed everything, all of this stories. The amazing stories. Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:32

    I was a, you know, star volleyball player. You know, I whatever. I mean, all of the lies from from George Santos that he was able to brush up. But now we have this story, this latest story. Disabled veterans saying that George Santos stole three thousand dollars from a dying dog go fund me campaign.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:54

    Spoiler alert He steals the money allegedly, and the dog dies. These two New Jersey veterans are saying that George Sandoz who at that time was going by the name Anthony DeVolder. Promised to raise money for this lifesaving surgery for a service dog and then disappeared. Now the reason I’m raising the question some people online are raising the question. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:14

    Is this the tipping point? Have you ever noticed that people have well, tolerate almost everything, but when it comes to dogs, or small children, actually dogs, or even one in children. You know, the cool heated dogs ripping off, you know, for the service out, that’s going to be the red line. What’s amazing about this story is that it is so cinematically awful that on the one hand you’re laughing at it. On the other hand, thinking about what it says about our democracy and our political system that this guy is in the Congress of the United States and sitting on committees, and the Republican Party has decided that it’s going to make itself hostage to him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:54

    So does the dog rip off thing? The dog who died because George
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:01

    Santos ripped him off. Bill,
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:03

    could that be the tipping point? I don’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:07

    know. I mean, for you, sir, obviously, because I’m way past the I’m way past the tip warmer. We had a good we had a very little talk with him when we were for seventeen years. And so, yes, it’s terrible. And the degree of just flat out gripped the ceiling from his roommate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:24

    Didn’t he wear a five hundred dollar scarf that he stole from the roommate? I didn’t know there were five hundred dollar scarf. Anyway now. Thank you, Bill. So that was to the January fifth rally.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:32

    Right? I mean, it is cinematic in the sense that he stole from everyone, he lied to everyone, he seems to stolen in Brazil. He stole in New York. He stole from roommates. He stole from GoFund B funds for service dogs.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:44

    He lied. We have the text. That way, I think the veterans put up a couple of text from the time. Oh, yes. We have a five zero one c three at charitable foundation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:51

    Your money is being audited. I mean, just flat out hundred percent grift I’ve gotta think he’s breaking laws when he does that. I’ve gotta think people are gonna bring charges. And maybe at that point, finally, the Republicans say enough that it is amazing. Safar.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:06

    The dog’s name is SAFar. I’m I’m looking at this one post by Richard Austof. To everyone who helped me and Saphyr raised the money for her surgery. I’m sorry to say that we were scammed by Anthony DeVolder and Friends of Pets United, whatever. Through a series of bad veterinary contacts and subterfuge regarding payment, SAFIRE has not received veterinary care, and her growth is three to four times bigger than it was when the campaign is fulfilled, she’s facing euthanasia within months.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:33

    And I’m sorry to tell you the SAFIRE died on January fifteenth two thousand seventeen. And after being out of work with a broken leg for over a year, Olof could not afford the dogs used in Asia and cremation said I had to panhandle. It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do. This is a disabled veteran who was ripped off by Santa I contacted Sandoz told him, you’re messing with a veteran. So you need to give back the money or use it to get, you know, another dog he was totally uncooperative on the phone.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:06

    The guy’s complete sociopath. And Sandoz still came up with some bullshit story that he planned to use the money to help other animals and these veterans said, well, you can’t do that because you raise the money specifically for this service dog, for this disabled veteran, and his service dog and George Sandoz screwed him up. I mean, at this point, it becomes less comedic and more like, this is a really horrible human being. And Republicans, do you really want this horrible human being to be your outwardly facing, you know, symbol And I guess after six years of going along with Donald Trump, I think we have the answer. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:43

    I mean, we’ve kind of crossed the the horrible human being thing. Right? Yeah. They they crossed that line a while ago. That’s that’s,
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:52

    you know, that trip is sailed, I guess. But on the other hand, of course, it was dangerous to take on Trump. As president and as leader of the party with his, you know, huge support. Yeah. Among Republicans, it’s it’s only not quite as dangerous to take on George Sanders.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:03

    One point that hasn’t gotten quite enough attention and I haven’t fallen because they but you should certainly hammer away on the dog thing, Charlie. You have a lot of credibility on that issue. Well, I I I intend
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:11

    to. Yeah. But I’d say the other thing
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:14

    is A lot of Republicans knew a lot about this in twenty twenty one and twenty twenty two when Santos was running for the second time. People who had encountered his lies he had a need who had intended to be Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff to — No. — raise money from big donors. And McCarthy’s chief of staff had out about this. I guess they got the guy stop presumably told McCarthy about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:34

    And they just thought, well, it’s appropriate to say nothing about a congressional candidate who’s doing this and not to they could have moved in twenty twenty one and probably blocked them from getting the nomination, found someone else to run, let some of this stuff out to to news media. The degree to which the Republican Party is complicit in Santos’s lies today because they’re defending him being congress, but also in the two years, at least two years. Maybe they’re not responsible for what he did in twenty seventeen, but at least for what he did for for finding out about this and doing nothing is
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:02

    really,
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:02

    I don’t know, kind of amazing. I’m in their end. They’re all just It is kind of amazing now. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:08

    It it isn’t. I I think the the New York Times documented the fact they knew about him. They had done the Apple Research. He had members of his staff who resigned, you know, key players and donors who realized that they had been lied to, so there’s no secret here. It’s you know, and there are things that they could do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:24

    I understand this is more about math the Republicans right now than about morality because they have such a small minority. They need his vote and they know that if he goes, that seat’s gonna flip back to the Democrat. But they could have denied him seats on the committees. Right? And still had him, you know, it’d be one of their two hundred and twenty two votes to preserve the the majority.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:44

    Right. In fact, Kevin McCarthy is not even willing to do that. You know, it’s a tell, but unfortunately, Bill, it’s not telling us anything that we shouldn’t know
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:52

    about these guys and shouldn’t have known about these guys for a long time. I guess what it’s telling us and maybe we should close with this. But what it’s telling us is that even though Trump personally may be fading, may not, we don’t quite know, but some indications certainly that he’s not as strong as he was three, four months ago, Trumpism fear of Trump voters, the other forms of, you know, Trumpist behavior seemed unfortunately pretty much a strongest ever in the Republican Party. One,
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:19

    and I think it’s been ingrained and internalized that that as long as somebody votes your way, you’re gonna look the other way and and it really doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter they lie on their resume. If it doesn’t matter if they cavort with Russian oligarchs or if they come up with, you know, mysterious funny money or even if they rip off, you know, dogs it was predictable that that there would be a cultural and moral disaster for a party that decided to embrace Donald Trump, particularly after access Hollywood, I don’t think that any of us realize that the rock would go as deep or as persistent as it’s turned out to be. But You know, that’s that’s why we do this. That’s that’s what’s life is about is that we continue to learn. Bill Crystal, thank you so much for joining me and for your report from Berlin.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:04

    I appreciate it very much. Thanks, Charlie. And thank you all for listening to today’s Bulwark podcast. I’m Charlie Sykes. We would back tomorrow.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:10

    We will do this all over
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:12

    again. Bolder podcast is produced by
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:15

    Katie Cooper, an engineered and edited by Jason Brown.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:30

    Former Navy SEAL Sean Ryan shares real stories from real people, from all walks of life. On the Sean Ryan show. Wealth strategist, Rob Luna, if you could solve a problem in this world, better than anyone else, you’re gonna make a lot of money. And that’s really what a business’s ultimate goal is whether it’s your business or a manufacturing business. It’s about solving a problem, making a bigger impact in people’s lives than anyone else on scale.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:57

    I mean, I’ve been trying to scale my business, but I can’t find somebody to conduct these interviews. Yeah. I was shot Ryan Show on YouTube or wherever you listen.
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