Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Continuing Story of Romney's Mormon Problem

Even with rabid conservative opposition to health care reform, and his role in crafting Massachusetts' system of universal health care, Mitt Romney remains the prohibitive favor for the Republican presidential nomination. He has plenty of cash, a strong national organization, and substantial support from the GOP establishment. That said, given the religious composition of the early Republican primaries, I'm not sure if he'll have enough momentum to overcome this serious vulnerability: Christianity Today explains : Pew finds Huckabee and Romney leading the field among Republicans nationwide, each with around one-fifth of Republicans naming them as their top choice. But there is a religious split among GOP voters, with 29 percent of white evangelicals favoring Huckabee and only 15 percent picking Romney. Evangelical hostility toward Mormons isn't as widespread as it was a decade ago -- a result, in part, of coalition politics (the Religious Right), Romney 2008 and Glenn Beck -- but it's...

Whatever Happened to the Obama of 2008?

If you haven't already, I recommend watching -- or reading -- the president's address on the intervention in Libya. It's not especially persuasive, but for those baffled by the president's current actions -- and wondering what happened to the Barack Obama of 2008 -- it provides an opportunity for inquiry: It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what's right. In this particular country - Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. […] To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and - more profoundly - our...

Crime, White Flight, and Racial Anxiety

Jonathan Chait has a characteristically glib response for liberals who associate "fear of crime" with white racial anxieties: From the 1960s through the 1990s, crime weighed heavily on the public mood, but liberals tended to dismiss it as mere code words for racism. One measure of the liberal mood is political movies like "The Candidate" and "The American President," where virtuous liberal politicians candidly declare that crime is not a real issue at all. In reality, there really was a huge explosion in the crime rate. In 1960, there were 161 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans. By 1980 that rate had risen to 597 violent crimes per 100,000, and it peaked in 1991 at 758 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans. (It has since fallen back into the 400s.) [...] In any case, the salience of crime as a political issue has collapsed. Doesn't that suggest that the fear of crime was not merely racial backlash but an actual response to, you know, rising crime? Chait would do well to contextualize...

Haley Barbour, Slavery, and the Civil War

Insofar that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has a glaring weakness -- aside from his uncanny resemblance to Boss Hogg -- it's his propensity for racial gaffes. In the last six months, Barbour has had to apologize for his praise of the Council of Conservative Citizens (the "uptown" Klan), crass racial "jokes," and overly rose-colored memories of his upbringing in the Jim Crow South. That said, I take the Adam Serwer line on Barbour: not a racist, just a product of his time. And to his credit, he's worked to account for this flaw; when Mississippi's Sons of Confederate Veterans proposed a license plate commemorating Nathan Bedford Forrest (noted war criminal and founder of the Ku Klux Klan), Barbour announced his strong opposition, and most recently, he endorsed the consensus position on secession and the Civil War, namely, that it was the result of slavery: But he has now made a forthright declaration about the events swirling around what some Southerners still call the War of Northern...

Against the AARP

This doesn't come as a big surprise: The tax-writing Ways and Means Committee is planning a hearing to look into the “organizational structure, management, and financial growth” of AARP. [...] “AARP is known for being the largest and most well known seniors’ organization in the country,” Herger said in a statement. “But what Americans don’t know is that AARP was the 4th highest spending lobbying organization between 1998 and 2010 or that the AARP brand dominates the private Medicare insurance market. This hearing is about getting to the bottom of how AARP’s financial interests affect their self-stated mission of enhancing senior’s quality of life. It is important to better understand how AARP’s insurance business overlaps with its advocacy efforts and whether such overlap is appropriate.” Basically, House Republicans are investigating the AARP in retaliation for this : “AARP is proud to endorse the Affordable Healthcare for America Act. We urge members of the House to pass this...

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