Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

There Is No Such Thing as a Mandate.

In the current issue of The Forum , Georgetown political scientist Hans Noel has an excellent piece on political myths called "The Ten Things Political Scientists Know That You Don't." It's lengthy, something you should set aside for when you have some spare time during the day, but it's worth reading in full. That said, there is one point I want to highlight now, because it will be very salient in about three weeks: Take items #1, #2, and #3 together, and it is hard to interpret elections the way that politicians and pundits want us to. Economic fundamentals guide voters who might not have well-defined attitudes to vote in a system that cannot satisfy all the demands of democratic decision-making. This is not a formula for sending a clear message to anyone. [...] These narratives are created after the fact by people who want you to think one thing or another. Winners claim a mandate to change everything, and losers explain it all away as an anomaly. But exit polls saying that some...

This Is Why Obama Needs Judges.

This doesn't strike me as a big surprise: A federal judge in Florida has allowed key parts of a lawsuit against the federal health care overhaul to proceed, presaging a long legal battle over the legislation. Judge Roger Vinson of Florida's Northern District, a Reagan appointee, ruled that two elements of a lawsuit brought by Bill McCollum and 19 other attorneys general, along with the National Federation of Independent Business, could proceed. The key words here are "Reagan appointee." Besides being ridiculous, one of the side effects of the GOP's war on the judicial nomination process is that the federal judiciary remains slanted in favor of conservative ideas. Between Reagan , Bush , and George W. Bush , Republicans have had 20 years to put their stamp on the federal judiciary, and it's been successful. Liberals still have a chance to counteract that, but it depends on a more reasonable GOP (highly unlikely) or an administration willing to fight Republican obstruction on judicial...

Tea Partiers and Their Ethnocentric Views.

At the Tea Party 9/12 rally, a libertarian-minded student from UCLA took the time to snap a photo of each sign present. As the Washington Post reports , she found little in the way of racism: Ekins photographed about 250 signs, and more than half of those she saw reflected a "limited government ethos," she found -- touching on such topics as the role of government, liberty, taxes, spending, deficit and concern about socialism. Examples ranged from the simple message "$top the $pending" scrawled in black-marker block letters to more elaborate drawings of bar charts, stop signs and one poster with the slogan "Socialism is Legal Theft" and a stick-figure socialist pointing a gun at the head of a taxpayer. [...] Only 5 percent of the total mentioned the president's race or religion, and slightly more than 1 percent questioned his American citizenship. Of course, whether or not Tea Partiers love racist signs is a little beside the point; the question of racism has less to do with whether...

Blame the Senate!

Yes, progressives are frustrated with the White House for its occasional timidity, but they would do well to take a page from Nancy Pelosi and direct a little more of their anger at the Senate: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday urged progressives and pundits alike not punish House Democrats in the 2010 elections for the lethargy and shortcomings of the Senate. [...] "I appreciate what Paul Krugman says," said Pelosi. "It would be helpful though if some of those people who are saying these things [noted] that the House did more. Remember, we did more. We passed jobs bill after jobs bill after jobs bill that were not picked up in the Senate because of the need for the 60th vote... we know what we need to do and that's what binds our caucus." Under Pelosi's leadership, House Democrats passed a stronger stimulus bill, a cap-and-trade package, and a more liberal health-care reform bill, to name a few. House Democrats have already passed a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and if it...

The Successful.

Andrew Sullivan briefly lays out his ideal balance for deficit reduction: I think the ideal balance is roughly $2 of spending cuts for $1 of tax hikes. Most of the tax hike is going to come from people like me; and I don't like it, and do think it adds a disincentive to work harder. But I also realize that spending cuts in entitlements will hurt many and we're all in this together (or should be). If we don't do something serious soon, the US will default, and these worries will seem puny. And there's no one's income left to tax but the successful's - and a gas tax or VAT (the better options) seem totally unacceptable to most Americans. I don't want to get into the details of deficit reduction (though it suffices to say that I disagree with Sullivan), but I did want to note Sullivan's habit of referring to the rich as "the successful." Whether he realizes it or not, in conflating the two, Sullivan is disparaging the good majority of people who like their lives but never had the...

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