Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Republicans Slam the Breaks on Transportation Investment

Over on the homepage, Jason Mark has an article on how the transportation bill reauthorization could finally be an opportunity for progressives in Congress to begin tackling climate change. "Transportation accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s oil use and about 25 percent of its carbon-dioxide emissions," Jason writes . Shifting funds in the transportation bill away from highway construction and redirecting it toward mass transit might not immediately solve the country's emissions problem, but it would at least give consumers greater options to lower their carbon footprint. There's only one slight problem: Republicans elected under the Tea Party banner still control half of the legislative branch. Florida Representative John Mica , the chair of the House's Transportation Committee, is set to release the Republicans' plan for the bill on Thursday. Where the Obama administration's six-year plan calls for a $556 billion transportation budget, Mica's measure is expected to be...

Shucking Corn From Presidential Politics

When Jon Huntsman announced last month that he would not be actively campaigning for votes in the Iowa Caucuses, he said , "I'm not competing in Iowa for a reason. I don't believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol." It was assumed that Huntsman -- former supporter of the stimulus, climate-change solutions, and civil unions for same-sex couples -- was ducking out of Iowa to avoid confrontation with the state party's active social conservative base. By rejecting ethanol subsidies, he might indeed be offending Iowans of all stripes. However, a new poll out this morning indicates that subsidizing corn to produce fuel may no longer be the sacrosanct issue no presidential wannabe dare touch. The Iowa Republican surveyed likely 2012 caucus voters, and found that a 47 percent plurality held a very or somewhat positive view for a hypothetical a candidate opposed to ethanol subsides, compared with only 24 percent who thought negatively of such a candidate. For the immediate...

Obama On Thursday's White House Playdate

President Obama stopped by the White House briefing room late Tuesday afternoon to make a speech that announced, well, essentially nothing. The only straight news from Obama's speech was scant information on an invitation extended to Congressional leaders for a meeting at the White House on Thursday. After he interjected himself in the debate during a press conference last week, it isn't surprising that Obama will assume a prominent role in pinning down a deal, so the announcement of the meeting isn't too noteworthy. Refraining from comparing Republicans to his teenage daughters again, Obama stuck with his typical platitudes of finding agreement by working toward a common goal. "We've made progress, and I believe that greater progress is within sight," Obama said without explaining what, if anything, has changed since last week. The president stuck solely to generalities on what he is willing to compromise in a deal, though it was reported this morning that the White House is open to...

Bachmann Announces Campaign for President of Iowa

Earlier this morning Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann launched her presidential campaign for real with a speech in Waterloo, Iowa. What made this declaration different from Bachmann's pseudo announcement at the Republican debate two weeks ago? This time she turned her full attention to wooing Iowa Caucuses goers. After listening to Bachmann's speech, you'd be forgiven for believing that the Tea Party icon represents Iowa in the U.S. House rather than the state's northern neighbor. The biographical sections of the address all dwelt on Bachmann's life before she entered middle school. While most sixth-graders don't have what it takes to run for president, Bachmann appears to believe that being born and raised in Iowa should be enough for her to win the first-in-the-nation state. I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa. It was at Hawthorne and Valley Park Elementary Schools and my home, both a short distance from here, where those Iowan roots were firmly planted. It...

Republicans Keep Hating China

Via James Fallows , Republican Mark Amodei , a Nevada candidate in a U.S. House special election scheduled for September 13, has released an noxiously xenophobic campaign ad: For those who don't watch the video, the ad features a fake Chinese news reporter discussing how out of control spending allowed crippled the U.S. government as imagines of Chinese troops march in the background. "As their debt grew, our fortune grew, and that is how our great empire rose again," the fake news anchor states. Fallows relates Amodei's commercial to the extremely effective ad from last fall's campaign that consisted of a Chinese professor lecturing on the demise of American power. Amodei's ad may trade in anti-China messaging more blatantly than usual, but it is not far out of step from the normal Republican view. The party's rhetoric paints economics as a zero-sum game. If China's economy is becoming stronger than that necessarily means the U.S. economy gets weaker. Prospect contributor Matthew...

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