Archive

  • ROSIN�S PREDICAMENT.

    ROSIN�S PREDICAMENT. Reading Hanna Rosin�s piece on the �God gap� in last month�s Atlantic , along with the transcript of a Pew-sponsored forum convened last December on the subject of religious voters and the 2006 election, one quickly realizes that the real problem on the religion-and-politics beat, post-2006, is not so much that the Democrats won, but how they won and the magnitude of their victories. In 2006, at least in terms of the religious splits, Democrats won because: (a.) the secular and/or infrequent church attendee vote expanded as a share of the electorate [and that�s not even accounting for respondent bias that surely leads people to lie about how frequently they attend church]; and (b.) Democratic support itself grew among that growing share of seculars. But the magnitude of the electoral victory was the real bell-ringer: Democrats netted 6 new governors, 6 new senators, 30 new house members, and flipped 10 new legislative chambers -- a secular-led victory of far...
  • ALL BY OURSELVES

    ALL BY OURSELVES . It's been said that British foreign policy since WWII is animated by the principle of "figuring out what the United States wants, and doing it before asked." No longer: Tony Blair has announced that the Brits will eventually be pulling out of Iraq. President Bush has now exhausted the patience of our last (or, rather, first) global ally. And that means it is time to cue the Eric Carmen 's appearance on Dick Clark 's American Bandstand . (Worth watching just to see Carmen's collar-up jeans outfit and horrible lip-syncing.) -- Tom Schaller
  • Conservative Nanny State: Live in San Francisco

    Okay BTP fans, anyone who happens to be near San Francisco can hear me talking about my book, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. I'll be at Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia (in the Mission), 7:30 Wednesday evening. If you can't make it, remember you can always download a free copy or purchase the paperback at www.conservativenannystate.org . --Dean Baker
  • THE MYTH OF GUILIANI'S FOREIGN POLICY CRED:

    THE MYTH OF GUILIANI'S FOREIGN POLICY CRED: Jonathan Chait argues convincingly that Rudy Giuliani is totally undeserving of the widespread assumption that he is some sort of expert on fighting global terrorism. I would differ slightly in my reasons though. Chait says, The normal rule in American politics is that if you run for president and your experience comes at the state level, most people will assume that foreign policy is your weak point.... One would presume that this applies even more to presidential candidates whose highest office reached is mayor. And yet we have the strange case of Rudolph Giuliani. Being mayor of New York, where the office has considerable powers, the population is larger than that of many states, and it is extremely diverse and international in terms of population, institutions and visitors, provides as much or more foreign policy preparation than most governorships. However, Chait later alludes to what I think is the real problem with Giuliani's supposed...
  • NADER SPOILERISM:

    NADER SPOILERISM: My post on the Ralph Nader documentary received an interesting range of comments in response. A few canards were raised, though, that I think need to be refuted as we prepare for the unholy prospect of a Nader '08 run. First, Nader supporters seem to assume that saying Nader cost Gore Florida and thus the election implies that you think Bush won Florida fair and square. I, for one, believe no such thing. Of course Bush stole Florida. But if Nader hadn't run Florida would not have been close enough to steal. So defending Nader's candidacy by demanding to know why one doesn't fixate instead on Bush's electoral shenanigans is an irrelevant response. Also, at least one commenter defended the notion that Nader did not concentrate his efforts in swing states prior to the election. I refer any who are interested to Todd Gitlin 's recent debunking of this argument. As Professor Gitlin points out, that whole reasoning depends on the dubious assumption that where a candidate...
  • HOT OFF THE PRESSES: THE MARCH PRINT ISSUE.

    HOT OFF THE PRESSES: THE MARCH PRINT ISSUE. The latest print issue of the Prospect has just come out; be sure to take a look. Our cover story, " America's China Fantasy ," is by Rise of the Vulcans author James Mann . The fantasy he describes is the notion, adhered to dogmatically by our political and business elites, that opening China economically will eventually liberalize China politically. Thus, when America's leading officials and CEOs speak so breezily of integrating China into the international community, listeners should ask: If China remains unchanged [in 30 years], what sort of international community will that be? Will it favor the right to dissent? Will it protect freedom of expression? Or will it simply protect free trade and the right to invest? � A few years ago, the New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof gave voice to one of the most common American misconceptions about China's political future. Reflecting on how China had progressed and where it was headed,...
  • PROTECTIONISM.

    PROTECTIONISM. If you haven't already, read Dean on copyright. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • PLAYING THE RELIGION CARD

    PLAYING THE RELIGION CARD . Atrios has had a week of posts on religion and its role in politics, and in particular in progressive or liberal politics. Today's posts are especially interesting, having to do with the proper way of incorporating the religious left into the movement. So sad that the religious right has successfully appropriated the term "religion", especially as it is now applied to only a very narrow segment of possible religions: Only fundamental Christian sects which focus on the banning of abortion and the defense of marriage against gays and lesbians are really seen as religions in most political debates, and the unstated assumption is that conservatives are religious and that liberals are not. It is as if two or three political stances (and caring about the poor is not one of those) have been turned around and now stand as the qualifier of what is regarded as religious. This article about a Wiccan Army Chaplain and his tribulations in yesterday's Washington Post is...
  • CAJUN POLITICS.

    CAJUN POLITICS. Last week came the rumor that former Democratic Senator John Breaux may come out of retirement to run for governor, because incumbent Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco is in a danger of losing re-election. I�ve got a new Salon piece out on the Democrats� declining fortunes in Louisiana. A few key excerpts for the non-subscribers: It was not long ago that Louisiana, like a soothing balm applied to an injury, was the state that gave bruised and battered Democrats some small measure of post-election relief. In December 2002, a month after Republicans secured a sufficient number of U.S. Senate seats to forge a Jim Jeffords-defection-proof majority, Democrats were buoyed when Landrieu eked out a four-point runoff win to retain her Senate seat. A year later, just 11 days after Democrats lost the only two other gubernatorial races of the 2003 off-year cycle, in Kentucky and Mississippi, Blanco's victory over Jindal prevented a GOP sweep� If Louisiana once provided...
  • CLOSING ARGUMENTS. The...

    CLOSING ARGUMENTS. The prosecution has offered its summation in the Libby trial and the defense is in the midst of its own summation, then Patrick Fitzgerald will offer the prosecution's rebuttal closing out the afternoon. It is riveting stuff. ( Marcy Wheeler 's liveblogging of them is here , here , and here .) The judge will give the jury its instructions and the jury will begin deliberations tomorrow. Meanwhile, some of what the trial has disclosed about the Office of the Vice President is nicely treated in Jim Rutenberg 's article in the Times today. The key bit: The evidence in the trial shows Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Libby, his former chief of staff, countermanding and even occasionally misleading colleagues at the highest levels of Mr. Bush's inner circle as the two pursued their own goal of clearing the vice president's name in connection with flawed intelligence used in the case for war. The Vice President played a significant, though not overwhelming, role in the...

Pages