Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Sympathy for the Banker.

House Minority Leader John Boehner did a nice job last week of reminding us that his party has an inviolate commitment to enriching the privileged: They're not campaigning on it in earnest -- at least not yet -- but Republican leaders say that, given the power, they would like to do away with Wall Street reform much like they have already discussed repealing health care reform. "I think it ought to be repealed," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, in response to a question from TPMDC, at his weekly press conference this morning. One of his top lieutenants, Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence agrees. "We hope [the Senate vote] falters so we can start over," Pence told TPMDC yesterday. "I think the reason you're not hearing talk about efforts to repeal the permanent bailout authority is because the bill hasn't passed yet." This isn't too remarkable -- this is the same guy who compared stronger financial accountability standards to using a nuclear weapon to kill an "ant" and who...

Racism and the Tea Party, Cont.

This Kansas City Star piece on racism within the Tea Party is worth reading, if only because it is filled with incredible quotes. For example: Take Ron Wight , who stood with dozens of tea party activists at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in April, complaining about the Obama administration, its socialist agenda and being called a racist. Those like him who complain about President Barack Obama are accused of racism, lamented the semi-retired music teacher from Lee’s Summit. Then he added: “If I was a black man, I’d get down on my knees and thank God for slavery. Otherwise, I could be dying of AIDS now in Africa.” Wight doesn’t consider that comment to be racist. [emphasis mine] Of course Wight doesn't consider that comment to be racist; as I wrote yesterday, many Americans see racism as the sole province of boogeymen like the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party. Ed Norton in American History X is a racist, Ron Wight, not so much. Still, Wight notwithstanding, I'm willing to...

The Man Who Sold the World.

Yesterday, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson told Politico he wouldn't support a procedural vote to begin debate on a climate bill that includes a cap on utility emissions: “A carbon tax or trade piece would significantly increase the utility rates in Nebraska for businesses, agriculture and individuals,” the Nebraska Democrat told POLITICO. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate way to go. And while I’d usually vote for a motion to proceed, this is so extraordinary, that I just can’t bring myself to do that.” It's a real stretch for Nelson to say that he would "usually vote for a motion to proceed." Beginning with the stimulus, Nelson has joined with Republicans to obstruct or delay every major Democratic initiative. And while he eventually yields to pressure from his colleagues, it's not before extracting major concessions. Nelson forced Democrats to senselessly cut $25 billion in aid to states from the stimulus, voted against the president's budget, joined a GOP filibuster of former OLC...

Racism: Nice People Do It Too.

Despite the fact that I have opinions on these things, I haven't been particularly inspired to comment on the NAACP's resolution denouncing "racist" rhetoric from the Tea Party and asking Tea Party leaders to repudiate the movement's "racist elements." For starters, others have done the good work of corroborating the substance of accusation, as well as noting how strange it is to criticize an organization devoted to calling out racism in the public square for calling out racism in the public square. To borrow Ta-Nehisi Coates ' comparison , it's as if someone criticized the Anti-Defamation League for denouncing anti-Semitism. For my part, I don't think that Tea Partiers are particularly full of animus toward black people, but given what we know about the relationship between ethnocentrism and opposition to redistributive policies, I think it's safe to say that there's plenty of racial grievance within the movement. That said, of the reactions thus far, I'm most interested in what RNC...

Just Words?

Jonathan Zasloff is frustrated with Senate Democrats over their failure to pass a jobs bill by any means necessary and angry with President Obama for his failure to speak up: It would be really nice if the President would knock some heads together on this. But on this page, apparently I’m not allowed to criticize him. So I’ll just say, wouldn’t it be great if, say, there were a national party leader, perhaps elected by the whole people, who is a superb public speaker and has a lot of political weapons at his disposal, who might go into complete campaign mode now? Exactly whose heads could Obama knock together? Republicans have no reason to bend to White House pressure, and the same goes for difficult Democrats like Ben Nelson , who use occasions like these to play king for a day -- and he'll continue to do so, even when Republicans are in the majority. "But [Obama] could stump and use the bully pulpit to pressure Republicans!" He could, yes, but I doubt it will have the desired effect...

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