You don’t even need to live near the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans to know where the Republican Party is headed. All you have to do is look at the human jellyfish that is Kevin McCarthy – a quivering, flapping piece of protoplasm so transparently without a heart or a soul you can see right through him.
And yet, like the oceanic creature he resembles, McCarthy can sting. The innocents he is getting ready to lay low with what’s left of his power in the Republican Party are far, far away, suffering the steady bombardment of Russian artillery, missiles, and drones. Yes, Kevin McCarthy, that tower of democratic principle and dedication, is getting ready to abandon the Ukrainian people to the psychotic ravages of Vladimir Putin, who has decided he wants their land and whatever is left of their cities and infrastructure when he’s finished bombing them.
Politico reported yesterday that aides to President Joe Biden are pointing to an “internal rift” in the Republican Party over spending for Ukraine and are forecasting slippage of support for the war that is raging 4900 miles from their comfy offices on Capitol Hill. In fact, it has already happened. The only votes against the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine in the spring were cast by Republicans – 57 members of the House and 11 Senators opposed the aid package intended to help the beleaguered country fight back against the Russian invasion that was at that point only a couple of months old.
Conservative – or shall we say, radical – Republicans went out on the stump and said they were voting against aid to Ukraine because it wasn’t offset by cuts in domestic spending. They didn’t spell out what cuts they were thinking about in the spring, but they haven’t been as shy lately, popping right out of the closet and putting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the chopping block if they take over the House in 2023.
Republicans also made the case that money spent to defend our allies in Ukraine – and the rest of Europe if Putin’s slavering about a new Russian empire is to be believed – could be better spent to defend our southern border and bring down inflation, however the hell that’s supposed to work.
It's all about bashing Biden and the Democrats, of course, only this time they’re not using grade school textbooks on “sex” and scary trans kids. They’re getting ready to make a political issue out of the war in Ukraine. All those graves found in the forest outside of Izium and in fields outside Bucha? Tough luck, Ukrainian civilians. Republicans are more interested in cutting the budget and squawking about the “war” on our border than they are about the very real shooting war that’s killing Ukrainians overseas.
McCarthy told Punchbowl News on Tuesday that if Republicans take the House in November, aid to Ukraine isn’t going to be “a free blank check. I think people [Republican House members] are gonna be sitting in a recession and they're not going to write a blank check to Ukraine." While “Ukraine is important,” McCarthy told the Washington D.C. political website ($300 a year for a subscription), he went on to emphasize that Republicans have other priorities, including of course “the border” – read: all those brown people invading our cities and taking our jobs – and preventing women from controlling their reproductive health. Also, in for some serious cuts is funding for COVID research and even the vaccines and treatments which are currently free to Americans because the federal government is paying for them.
So elect Republicans, Kevin McCarthy told Punchbowl News, and watch the bodies pile up in Ukraine and right here at home as new variants of COVID send the death count way, way up.
The White House calculus is that Republican support for Ukraine won’t crater, because what will happen if Ukraine suffers losses on the battlefield and Russia “emerges triumphant?” Politico forecasts a “political blowback” against Republicans if that were to happen. But a quick look at recent history reveals that the MAGA-centric Republican Party doesn’t give much of a shit about blowback – see also: what happened after Roe was overturned. Oh, a few of them gave their anti-choice websites a quick bath, but just look around you. Republicans are happily running full speed ahead on their anti-woman, anti-immigrant, crime-crime-crime agenda. You think they’ll be shy about running on starving Ukrainians of weapons, ammo, food, and other supplies?
I’ve got a bridge to sell you…
Meanwhile, over in the country the Republican Party is getting ready to consign to the ash heap, Russian cruise missiles and kamikaze drones continue to fly, hitting towns and villages along the front lines in Eastern Ukraine and in the south near Kherson as well as the usual civilian targets in Kyiv and other major cities. With winter on the horizon, the Russians unveiled a new set of targets this week, too: power plants. A Russian cruise missile hit the Burshtyn coal-fired power station in the Ivano-Frankivsk region yesterday along with more missiles causing multiple explosions in Kyiv, Chernihiv and Vinnytsia, the Kyiv Independent reported this morning. President Volodymyr Zelensky announced yesterday that three powerplants in Ukraine were destroyed in the previous 24 hours.
On Tuesday, Zelensky told the Kyiv Independent that fully one-third of Ukrainian power plants had been destroyed by Russian missiles. Ukraine uses vulnerable thermal power plants to generate steam to heat homes and businesses, according to The New York Times.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that Russia is preparing the ground for a false-flag attack on the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant near Kherson. Russian forces are under heavy attack from the Ukrainian army in the Kherson area. They have pulled back from multiple defensive positions recently and are beginning to "set conditions for Russian forces to damage the dam and then blame Ukraine while using the resulting floods to cover their own retreat further south into Kherson Oblast," the ISW reported this morning.
Meanwhile, an independent podcast out of Russia known as “Naked Pravda” is reporting that its sources, including someone who works inside the Russian FSB, or Federal Security Service, say that Russia’s “irrecoverable losses,” including soldiers killed, wounded, or gone AWOL, total 90,000 since the beginning of the war. That figure is close to a Pentagon estimate in August that Russia had lost 70-80,000 on the battlefield. The British Defense Ministry has also stated that Russian losses, including KIA’s and soldiers wounded badly enough they could not return to the battlefield, stand at about 80,000.
So that’s where things stand in Ukraine. Russia can’t win a single engagement on the battlefield. Their loses are going up so fast, Putin is sending young, barely trained recruits to take the place of seasoned soldiers who have been killed. And Putin has turned to terror-bombing Ukrainian civilians with cruise missiles and armed Iranian drones to make up for his inability to show any Russian gains in Ukraine.
With all of this going on in Ukraine, what are Republicans doing in this country? Why, they’re following the Jellyfish-In-Chief’s lead and laying the groundwork to turn the war in Ukraine into one of the top issues they’re going to hammer come the 2024 campaign – which will begin on November 9, the day the midterms are over, even before the outcomes are completely decided.
No sense in wasting any time consigning the citizens of Ukraine to the ravages of Donald Trump’s friend, Vladimir Putin, is there? Kevin McCarthy is out there leading the way. Could his hero, Donald Trump, be far behind?
Watch them turn the next fight over the debt ceiling into an excuse to hang the Ukrainian people out to dry. Four Republican members of the House, all of whom expressed interest in running the Budget Committee if their party takes over next year, told Bloomberg last week they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats come to heel on entitlement spending and other issues like the border.
They did not specifically mention support for Ukraine, but Republicans will do anything to win, anything, including causing a global financial meltdown while the bodies pile up in Ukraine.
Watch this space.
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.
Reprinted with permission from Lucian Truscott Newsletter