Jamelle Bouie

Halftime

Under the tax plans for the Republican presidential candidates, the debt will explode . As Kevin Drum points out , Rick Santorum is proof positive that the mainstream of the GOP is near indistinguishable from its fringe. “The problem is there is no way to say that,” Gruber said. “Because they’re the same fucking bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying .” This Nightline special on Apple and Foxconn was very good, and you should watch it . Here is an awesome, two minute and twenty eight second look at Pixar’s Brave:

Why Arizona is "in Play" This November

(Pablo Manriquez/Flickr)
If John McCain weren’t on the ballot in 2008, you could make a strong case that his state, Arizona, would have been in play for Democrats, regardless of who they nominated. Hispanics were a huge share of the population, a significant share of the electorate—at 16 percent of all voters in the state—and a solid block of supporters for the Democratic Party—in 2008, they supported Barack Obama with 55 percent of the vote. The percentage of Hispanics in Arizona has remained steady since then, at around 30 percent , but the voting age population has increased to 845,000, and now constitutes 19 percent of Arizona residents of voting age, up from 17 percent in 2008. What’s more, intense Republican antagonism—through intrusive, draconian laws—have thoroughly alienated Hispanic voters. All of this is to say that conditions have moved Arizona to the column of states which are “in play,” and recent polls bear that out. For example, in its latest survey of the state, Public Policy Polling found...

Today in Ridiculous Scapegoats for Violent Crimes

(Flickr/Guille Damke)
Last night, over at my alma mater—the University of Virginia—jurors came to a verdict in the George Huguely case after nine hours of deliberation. Huguely, who played lacrosse for the University, was convicted of second-degree murder and faces 26 years in prison for the 2010 beating death of his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love. The murder and the trial revealed the extent to which domestic abuse—i.e. serious physical violence—is a reality for too many students, obscured by a pervasive culture of silence. Keep this in mind as you read this column from Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri, who uses George Huguely to bemoan “hook-up culture” and alcohol use: This is a story of growing up in a world where people sand off life’s edges on your behalf. Where parents and institutions exist not to protect you from mistakes, but from their consequences . […] The setting is a character on its own: the college campus, where hook-up culture runs rampant and you are expected to drink four times...

And the Winner Is: Barack Obama

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Without question, the winner of Wednesday’s Republican debate was Barack Obama. This wasn’t apparent at the beginning; during the first forty minutes, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul argued about earmarks, and made the usual promise to cut taxes, cut spending, and magically balance the budget. But by the end of the event, the candidates had revealed their hostility toward women and Latinos, and further ensured that they would stay on Obama’s side into the fall. It wasn’t actually until after the first commercial break that moderator John King asked the candidates about the elephant in the room—birth control. After Gingrich went through the usual motion of insulting King for posing the question, the candidates embarked on a fantastic voyage of obfuscation, dishonesty, and outright attacks on women’s health. Mitt Romney, whose ancestors were driven from the country by the government for their religious beliefs, began the exchange with an attack on the...

Women for Santorum?

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
If this new poll from the Associated Press is any indication, Republicans have mixed feelings about the presidential race. On one hand, 60 percent of Republican say that they are satisfied with the people running for the nomination, which is down from the 66 percent in October. This isn’t a great number, but it isn’t a sign of widespread disappointment, and it dovetails with polls from Gallup that show a broad preference for sticking with candidates that are in the race, rather than reaching for someone new. That said, only 40 percent of Republicans say they have any interest in the race, which is down from 48 percent in December. Some of this comes from election fatigue—constant coverage can result in people losing interest. What’s more, the race has stabilized considerably since January, and has probably lost some of its excitement. The general election should energize Republicans, since they’ll have a nominee and a direct competitor, in the form of President Obama. Even still, the...

Santorum Gives a Jeremiah Wright Impression

The only thing I have to say about Rick Santorum’s 2008 declaration that “Satan has his sights on the United States of America!” is that it sounds suspiciously similar to this statement by President Obama’s former pastor: So far, this hasn’t been a huge deal for Rick Santorum. Something tells me, however, that if Santorum had a black pastor who declared that “Satan has his sights on the United States of America” in Jeremiah Wright-esque tones, then it would be a much bigger deal.

Halftime

Mitt Romney loves everything about Michigan, really, he does. I’m not big on the Food Network, but I am a devoted fan of Chopped and it’s Law & Order -style approach to food television. Someone should probably tell Rick Santorum that the Vatican is cool with evolution. You have no idea how excited I am for Final Fantasy Tactics on the iPad. This performance of “Purple Rain” predates the album, and it’s amazing: I’m traveling this afternoon, so posting will be a little slow.

Even if He Wins, He Loses

(Pyrrhus of Epirus/Wikipedia)
For as much as the campaign has tried to deny it, Michigan is a must-win for Mitt Romney. His father served as governor, and Romney is something of a native son among Republicans in the state. Winning wouldn’t seal the nomination, but it would block an avenue of growth for Rick Santorum, who—at this point—is his chief rival. By contrast, losing Michigan could send his campaign into a tailspin, as Republicans panic over the electoral viability of their strongest candidate. With all of that in mind, today brings a little good news for the Romney campaign, by way of an endorsement from The Detroit News , the second-largest newspaper in the state. In its endorsement, The News praises Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital—which has previously been a liability for the former Massachusetts governor—and presents Romney as the most electable conservative. Not everything is praise, however; they dissent from his attack on the bailout of the automobile industry, which is credited with reviving the...

Oops, He Did it Again

Mitt Romney’s main problem with conservative voters is that they don’t trust him or his commitment to conservative values. And for good reason; it’s only been six years since he left office as the moderate, pro-choice governor of a liberal state who pioneered health care reform for the country. Romney has tried to overcome this with constant pandering, open contempt for President Obama, and casual dishonesty, but it hasn’t done the trick. What’s more, there are times when the mask slips, and Romney reveals how much he actually is a boring technocrat. Yesterday was one of those times: Speaking in Shelby Township, MI, the former Massachusetts governor took a question about the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission empaneled by President Obama to address the nation’s deficit and debt issues. In his response, he said that addressing taxes and spending issues are essential. “If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy...

Virginia Backs Down on Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasound

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
*Update: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell retracted his support of transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions Wednesday afternoon. In a statement released to the press, McDonell said : Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure. The new bill makes the transvaginal ultrasound voluntary but requires an external, non-invasive, ultrasound. Since it passed the House of Delegates last week, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has maintained that he would sign a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, should it reach his desk. Not only does this place him on the wrong side of reproductive health advocates—who (...

This Station is Non-Operational

If you’re wondering about this reference, you can find it here . You can buy all of Prime Suspect (the British version with Helen Mirren) on DVD for cheap. Do it . My colleague Scott Lemieux attacks the specious free exercise arguments used by opponents of the administration’s contraceptive mandate. Jeff Frankel asks if President Obama turned around the economy, and provides a few nifty charts. How much would a Death Star cost ? (Hint: A lot of money) As someone who actually uses iPhone lenses on occasion, I can say that the whole enterprise is a little goofy and overpriced. Though, the pictures are sometimes cool . Oh, and I’m pretty excited about this: And with that, I’m off.

Santorum's Problem: the American People

The National Review ’s Rich Lowrey argues that the media is out to get Rick Santorum for his unapologetic social conservatism: Santorum is a standing affront to the sensibilities and assumptions of the media and political elite. That elite is constantly writing the obituary for social conservatism, which is supposed to wither away and leave a polite, undisturbed consensus in favor of social liberalism. Santorum not only defends beliefs that are looked down upon as dated and unrealistic; he does it with a passionate sincerity that opens him to mockery and attack. It’s absolutely true that Santorum—or rather, his beliefs—are a “standing affront” to the sensibilities of the elites. But this is also true of the country at large. Like it or not, most Americans support abortion rights, the wide availability of contraception, and an equal role for women in the public sphere. They like public schools—even if they could use improvement—and they aren’t on board with Santorum’s hostility to gay...

Rejected From School and Blaming Minorities

(“It’s His Fault,” political cartoon, 2003, from Washington Post Writers Group.)
In almost every argument I’ve had about affirmative action in college admissions, someone eventually trots out the idea that the beneficaries of affirmative action are somehow “stealing” spots that rightfully belong to more “deserving” students. Ignoring, for a moment, the implicit assumption—that minority students are somehow less deserving—it’s simply a fact that college admissions don’t work that way. In open-admission pools where no one has a guaranteed spot, universites use a large number of factors to determine whom they accept and whom they deny. Sometimes, it turns on race and ethnicity, and sometimes it doesn’t. Which is why I was a little amused when reading that the Supreme Court will hear a case on affirmative action, the first time since 2003. Abigal Fisher, a white student, says she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of her race. Texas, like several other states, grants automatic admission to its public universities for students who place in the top...

More Reasons Not to Look for a Brokered Convention

Library of Congress The 1920 Republican National Convention. With Mitt Romney unable to build support with a solid majority of Republicans, and the only alternative—Rick Santorum—an unelectable disaster, some Republicans have floated the possibility of a brokered convention, where party leaders decide the nominee for themselves. There are a few practical problems with this scenario; first, a new candidate would have had to enter the race two months ago, in order to have a chance at amassing a substantial portion of delegates. Moreover, it’s been forty years since individual party leaders controlled large portions of delegates. In other words, there are no delegates for GOP elites to actually broker. Then there’s the issue of Republican voters themselves. If this new survey from Gallup and USA Today is any indication, Republicans aren’t too keen on the idea of a brokered convention: By 66%–29%, the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed say it would be better if one...

Halftime

In case you’re wondering, here is the reference I’m going for. To win reelection, Barack Obama will need to mobilize African American voters for a second time. Can he do it ? Apparently, Newt Gingrich didn’t hear about what happened to Osama bin Laden. The Obama-affiliated Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, raised a paltry $59,000 in January. For those of you who rely on it—and use Apple gear—you’ll be happy to know that Microsoft Office is coming to the iPad. Oh, and Sleigh Bells has a new album out . It’s pretty good:

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