Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Against the Traveling Mayor.

Riffing off of the news that longtime Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is retiring, Matthew Yglesias briefly reflects "on the slight oddness of the American idea that the next Mayor of Chicago should be some other politician who happens to be from Chicago rather than some other mayor who’s done a good job." As far as he sees it, it makes more sense to shop successful mayors around to different cities in need of improvement, rather than the alternative, which is hoping that the city produces a politician with the skills to repair or improve the area. Dave Weigel agrees and adds that this fits the model for police commissioners, where a "successful commissioner in a smaller city is rewarded by getting to the big show in New York and Los Angeles." The problem, of course, is that mayors aren't unelected bureaucrats chosen for their technocratic skills; they are politicians elected to represent the concerns of their constituents. Even mayors with a technocrat's flair for public policy must...

One Faction Among Many.

For those of us on the train for Senate reform, Elizabeth Drew 's Politico piece is worth reading, as she offers a very strong -- and very convincing -- defense of the chamber's status quo. The short of her argument is that reformers are vastly overstating the extent to which the body is paralyzed or "dysfunctional"; by and large, Drew argues, this Senate has "essentially met all of the president's major goals," including one of the most significant public-policy "breakthroughs" in a generation. Yes, the Senate hasn't moved on climate change and immigration, but as Drew notes, those are issues where there is significant disagreement within the Democratic caucus. As I've argued before , I think this line of defense misses the damage intense minority obstruction does to the Senate's other priorities; in addition to passing legislation, the Senate is responsible for confirming the president's executive-branch and judicial nominees. Thanks to the filibuster and other parliamentary...

Empathy and the 11th Circuit.

Apparently, racial discrimination doesn't exist for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals: Last month, for the third time and in the face of a 2006 rebuke from the United States Supreme Court, the federal appeals court in Atlanta said there were no racial overtones when a white supervisor called an adult black man “boy.” “The usages were conversational,” the majority explained, repeating what it had told the trial court after the Supreme Court ruled, and “nonracial in context.” Even if “somehow construed as racial,” the unsigned 2-to-1 decision went on, “the comments were ambiguous stray remarks” that were not proof of employment discrimination. I find it extremely difficult to believe that 11th Circuit Court is this ignorant of the well-known racial significance of the term boy as applied to African American men. Not only does the 11th Circuit Court represent parts of the Deep South -- Alabama, Georgia, and northern Florida -- but the opinion was co-written by Judges Edward Carnes and...

American Taliban, Cont.

Yesterday, Gen. David Petraeus condemned the planned book burning by right-wing Christians in Florida as harmful to American interests: Gen. David H. Petraeus on Tuesday denounced plans by a Florida church to burn copies of the Koran this weekend, saying the demonstration could ‘endanger troops’ and damage the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. ‘It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems,’ Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement. ‘Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.’ Media Matters' Oliver Willis reads Petraeus as equating Christian fundamentalists with the Taliban -- like Markos Moulitsas would -- but that strikes me as a real stretch. Petraeus is talking about Taliban propaganda, and in that context, to say that "this is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses" isn't to compare the two groups but to say that the Taliban will almost certainly use...

Substance Isn't Necessary to Win.

To piggyback off of Tim 's post , as much as I would love to believe this , it simply isn't true: “I think this could be a seismic election,” Sen. McCain told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “But we've got to give Americans a reason to be for us, rather than just against the Democrats and the president,” he said. “When you look at the approval ratings of Republicans, they're just as bad as Democrats. We've got to give [voters] a reason to be for us.” In truth, as long as the economy is poor, Republicans really don't have to persuade voters of anything; it's simply enough that they aren't Democrats. The most recent Washington Post poll bears this out: By a three-point margin (40/37), voters trust the Democratic Party to do a better job at coping with the nation's problems, and by a nine-point margin (48/39), voters agree that the Democratic Party is more concerned with people like themselves. But among registered voters, 53 percent plan to vote for the Republican Party. Republicans...

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