Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Please Stop Writing, David Brooks.

Riddle me this blogosphere, why does anyone take David Brooks seriously as a political prognosticator when he writes transparently wrong things like this : The current sour mood is not just caused by high unemployment. It emerges from the fear that America’s best days are behind it. The public’s real anxiety is about values, not economics: the gnawing sense that Americans have become debt-addicted and self-indulgent; the sense that government undermines individual responsibility; the observation that people who work hard get shafted while people who play influence games get the gravy. Obama will have to propose policies that re-establish the link between effort and reward. This might be true for David Brooks -- enter the Pundit's Fallacy -- but it strikes me as a bit too abstract for the average American. Hell, it's a bit too abstract for me. It makes a lot more sense to say that that the public's sour mood comes mostly -- if not entirely -- from high unemployment. In at least 11...

Tea Party Candidates Aren't Actually Rebels.

Tea Party candidates plan to buck the party leaders once they get to Washington: Insurgent Republican candidates hoping to win election to the United States Senate have made one thing clear: They are not coming to Washington to make friends. [...] But, while these potential new members of the Senate defeated establishment-favored GOP contenders in their states’ primaries by promising to upset the status quo in Washington, former and current Republican aides aren’t expecting a political earthquake. They say they’re confident that McConnell will deftly handle the new conservative arrivals by incorporating them — and their ideas — into the larger caucus. I seriously doubt that Tea Party Republicans will be in any way distinctive from "regular" Republicans. It's not just that they bear a serious similarity to standard-issue Republican politicians but that the Tea Partiers most likely to win are also strong candidates with roots in the local party establishment. Marco Rubio , for instance...

Obama and the Filibuster.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Barack Obama Pt. 3 www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity There was nothing really remarkable about President Obama 's appearance on The Daily Show last night -- it was mostly boilerplate -- but it's worth noting how much he called out the filibuster as a critical problem in passing progressive legislation: "I will tell you that a couple of things have in our politics are going to have be fixed. One of them is how the filibuster operates. As I said, it's just not in the Constitution. In fairness, Democrats used it when Bush was in office, and felt very comfortable using it, but not to the extent that it is been used today. What we're seeing is unprecedented, and makes it very difficult for us to move forward in serious ways." This is exactly right. It's not necessary to rehash the ways in which the filibuster has sharply limited liberal priorities, but we should acknowledge that...

"Every President Has a Communications Problem."

This, I think, is the key paragraph in Robert Draper 's profile of Robert Gibbs : Panic-stricken Democrats, fearful of losing both the House and the Senate in this month's elections, can console themselves with a perspective check. "Every president has a communications problem," says former Clinton senior adviser Joel Johnson, who points out that at this point in their respective presidencies, Obama's approval rating of 44 eclipses those of Clinton and Reagan. Adds former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart, "Honestly, the guy could walk on water and there'd be exposés on 'What's in the water?' I think they've taken the proper view, which is that they're going to get judged once, and that's in November 2012." [Emphasis mine] Barack Obama 's problem isn't that he can't "connect" with voters or that his administration is too "aloof"; it's that he leads an incumbent party in a time of high unemployment and low growth. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton faced similar conditions, suffered...

The Diminishing Marginal Return of Elections.

Radley Balko wants a little less democracy in the criminal justice system: But there is one change that could at least stop the bleeding: less democracy. As New York Times reporter Adam Liptak pointed out in a 2008 article, America's soaring incarceration rate may be largely due to the fact that we have one of the most politicized criminal justice systems in the developed world. In most states, judges and prosecutors are elected, making them more susceptible to slogan-based crime policy and an electorate driven by often irrational fear. While the crime rate has fallen dramatically since the early 1990s, polls consistently show that the public still thinks crime is getting worse. I don't have hard data, but I suspect that Balko is right; it's hard for our prosecutors and judges to be fair when they have to pacify the demands of a fickle and easily scared public. The theoretically simple act of stopping judicial and prosecutorial elections could open up needed space for discussion and...

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