Steny Hoyer: Republicans should get off Biden's back about energy because "we're at war"

Are we? Gosh, I’m embarrassed to say that I missed that news cycle.

Who are we fighting?

I’d like to blame this rhetorical misstep on age — Hoyer is older than Biden, which scarcely seems possible — but I think it’s more of a Kinsleyan gaffe.


He said it again in another part of his remarks today:

He eased off a bit in yet another part, describing the current moment more vaguely as “a time of war.” Which is technically correct. It happens to be someone else’s war, but it is “a time of war.”

House Republicans are dunking on him for what he said, which is totally understandable. But when we’re spending the kind of money we’re spending for Ukraine, when we’re giving them top-notch equipment, when we’re all but pointing their guns for them as they target Russian generals, we … are, sort of, at war.

House Democrats aren’t even pretending to the contrary:


You know what the funny part is? A large minority of Americans *still* think Biden isn’t doing enough to help Ukraine. Among Republicans, the share who say he’s not doing enough is twice the size of the share who say he’s doing too much:

I don’t know what else people want Biden to do. Nuke Moscow? Give Ukraine the bomb? Whatever the answer, consider the fact that there’s some share of righties watching that Hoyer clip right now thinking “damn right!” when he says we’re “at war.”

Also, look on the bright side. If “we” are at war, it’s going pretty well for “us.”

U.S. intelligence now believes, based partly in a reading of new captured war plans and documents, that despite earlier statements, Russia has now backed away from any grand plan to take all of southern Ukraine.

“Odesa [Ukraine’s third largest city] is safe from Putin’s army and from coastal landings,” says the intelligence official who worked on the reassessment. “The Russians seem to have abandoned the notion of advancing on Mykolaiv,” the official says, while offensive efforts on the west bank of the Dnieper have been slowed by Ukrainian defenses and the ubiquitous logistics problems…

Despite some slow progress by Russian troops in the northern Donbas area, everything else is stalled, the official says. “Even when Russian reinforcements do arrive, they are coming in piecemeal, in units of 600-700 soldiers that have been cobbled together, in odd conglomerations of forces with no real relationship to their higher headquarters, and with little fighting spirit. Meanwhile, Ukrainian units still have high morale and excellent command and control and are reinforcing.

As an example, the official points to the Ukrainian 58th Mechanized Brigade, which is moving from the north. “Things just do not look good for Russia,” the official concludes. “Air and missile strikes on railroad chokepoints and airfields have demonstrated Moscow’s desperation in cutting off the paths for new western weapons from reaching the battlefield. Still, they are arriving.”


Things look so promising for the Ukrainians, says Newsweek, that the White House is starting to worry that Putin might do something rash. That probably explains Lloyd Austin’s phone call to Sergei Shoigu this morning. The administration is dangling a ceasefire at Russia not because they fear the Russians are about to turn the tide against Ukraine but something closer to the opposite, at which point no one knows how Putin will react. Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling has been bullish about the Ukrainians’ chances against Russia from the start and has grown more optimistic lately:

The upside of letting this play out is the chance that the Ukrainians end up routing the Russian army, thereby neutralizing the threat of Russian regional expansionism for the next few decades and maybe spooking China into thinking twice about trying to seize Taiwan. That would be quite a return on our military and economic investment in Ukraine. The downside is that, uh, Putin goes nuclear in the teeth of impending defeat.


It’s all good, though. The guy in charge of our military may have found out about America’s baby-formula shortage a month after everyone else did but I’m sure he’s on top of this crisis.

By the way, Hoyer’s remarks today weren’t the weirdest comments made by a Democratic leader about Ukraine on the House floor this week. The competition to be the most tone-deaf liberal in Washington is a stiff one but never count Nancy Pelosi out.

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David Strom 1:20 PM | July 18, 2024
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