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A Defeat For Moreno ("Nardo19672") Tomorrow Will Be A Blow Against GOP Collaboration With Putin

The MAGA War Against Ukraine

"Captain Cuck"

Northeast Philly is a safely Democratic district with a D+41 partisan lean. Just 38.6% of the residents are white. Biden beat Trump there by nearly 43 points. Josh Shapiro won the district two years later with 76% and John Fetterman took it with 72%. Brendan Boyle, a moderate Democrat, was first elected in 2014 last cycle, Boyle was reelected  with a similarly massive margin, beating Republican Aaron Bashir 141,229 (75.7%) to 45,454 (24.3%). Boyle raised $1,688,903 (72% of that from PACs) and Bashir didn’t raise enough to require an FEC report. Bashir is the Republican candidate  again this cycle. Boyle’s progressive primary opponent, Salem Snow, raised $40,167 and withdrew before the election— as he had done in 2020. He’s running again this cycle as well. 

I’m sure you get the point. Brendan Boyle is as safe as any incumbent in the country. So it doesn’t make all that much sense that the brand new American Ukraine PAC kicked off a series of fundraisers for members of Congress supportive of Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression with Boyle. The PAC wants to help members of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. There are 90, from both parties. Some, unlike Boyle, are in tough races and actually need help. In fact, Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), caucus co-chairs, are fighting for their political lives. So are caucus members Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rob Menendez (D-NJ) and Greg Landsman (D-OH). And 4 members— Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and Adam Schiff (D-CA)— are running for the Senate. Gallego’s opponent. Kari Lake, is a pro-Putin psychopath who would be an existential threat to Ukrainian aid if she were elected. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t throwing a big fundraiser for Gallego, for example, make more sense? And make a bigger splash?

The new PAC is headed by Jed Sunden, the founder of Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s primary English-language newspaper. There’s nothing surprising about the group’s goal of raising campaign cash for its congressional allies and for Ukraine-friendly candidates. The biggest problem the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus has is getting the $60 billion aid package onto the floor of the House. (It already passed the Senate.) Working at the behest of Trump— who is the ultimate pro-Kremlin American politician— Marjorie Traitor Greene has pledged that if MAGA Mike allows a vote on Ukraine aid, she will offer a resolution to vacate the chair. Even if MM survives that— with Democratic votes— his legitimacy will be shot to hell.

On Friday, Greg Sargent reported that MAGA Mike “seems ready to stick a shiv in MAGA.” I’ve known Sargent for over a decade and he’s not that kind of reporter who would write something outlandish just to get attention. If he’s saying something like that, he has good reason to believe it. He noted that MM’s statement that he’s considering holding a vote on a Ukraine aid package both fast-tracked without committee hearings and separate from an Israel aid bill, is a big deal. That would put MM at odds not just with Putin, but with Trump as well, since he “has urged Republicans to oppose it. So how realistic is it that a stand-alone vote on Ukraine funding might actually happen? And why is Johnson saying this right now?”

Let’s first point out that a lot depends on how Johnson structures such a measure. As Democratic Representative Brendan Boyle told me, the amount of funding will be essential to watch, as will the question of whether it’s really a clean vote.
“Is he really going to allow a straight up-or-down vote on the robust package that’s needed?” Boyle asked. “Or will there be a poison pill attached?” Still, Boyle said, the mere fact that Johnson has indicated this at all is a “positive step in the right direction.”
On that score, it’s worth noting that Johnson is in a brutal position right now. The MAGA noisemakers get all the attention, but a large bloc of House Republicans appears to want to vote for Ukraine aid, and many are influential in their own way. Boyle says Republicans have told him that a number of senior Republicans are pushing Johnson to hold this stand-alone vote, which is one reason why Boyle views a vote as “plausible.”
There’s also an important reason why some leading Republicans, especially committee chairs— and perhaps even Johnson himself—
are more inclined toward voting on Ukraine aid than many of their more MAGA-inclined colleagues are. As GOP lobbyist Liam Donovan points out to me, committee chairs get briefed on intelligence—that is, the real inside dope— showing what will happen if Ukraine doesn’t get funding.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t privy to these things,” said Donovan. “The people who are shrieking the loudest about this are probably the least clued in.”
By contrast, Johnson “now has the benefit of these briefings, and he knows as much as anybody about the geopolitical dynamics here,” Donovan said. “That has to motivate him at some level.”
Johnson might also be feeling heat from what’s transpired in recent weeks: The Senate passed a mammoth bill last month that included $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, and a host of border security measures that Republicans themselves had demanded. The House killed it on Trump’s command.
Meanwhile, various factions in the House— made up of Democrats alone or members of both parties— are advancing discharge petitions that would go around Johnson to force votes on Ukraine aid. That might be pressuring vulnerable Republicans in swing districts to get on board, but Johnson doesn’t want them to join with Democrats against his will, so a stand-alone vote might be emerging as a less-bad option to him. All this points to an interesting paradox at play in this debate. Initially, Republicans sought to package Ukraine aid along with border security provisions because the idea was to give hard-right Republicans a way to support the former by sweetening it with the latter.
But Trump ordered Republicans to kill that compromise, because preventing constructive reform on immigration is much more critical to his presidential campaign than blocking Ukraine aid is. Donovan, the GOP lobbyist, points out that this might be why a stand-alone vote could now appeal to Johnson: MAGA diehards might ultimately be somewhat less opposed to Ukraine aid than to giving Democrats a win on the border, so they might let Johnson get away with the former as long as it’s not linked to a border deal.
“In the Republican zeitgeist, immigration is the single most visceral issue,” Donovan told me, making it a “much more fundamental red line” in the House GOP conference. By contrast, he said, many in the conference recognize that on the Russia-Ukraine war, “it’s important not to lose this fight.”
It’s probably a bad idea to get too hopeful about Johnson’s stated willingness to hold a stand-alone vote on Ukraine aid. The eagerness of GOP leaders to do the bidding of Trump and MAGA Republicans can’t be overstated, and if they object too loudly, Johnson might back off. But the mere fact that he’s signaling a readiness to shiv MAGA on this matter is striking, and bears watching.

Tomorrow, Ohio Republicans can take a serious swing at the GOP’s collaboration with the Kremlin by defeating the pro-Putin (closet case) Bernie Moreno in the Senate primary. If he loses— despite Trump’s support— it will send a message to Republicans about Trump’s failure to control the narrative. And speaking iof Ohio and closet cases, one way Moreno is fighting back at the revelations of his weird relationship with the LGBTQ community is with this anti- Frank LaRose ad, trying to depict him as pro-trans. Moreno is one sick cookie.


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