Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles


The shadow war in Somalia . Basic economics . Can teachers overcome poverty? Eleven angry men .

Bachmann And Lincoln

There's a pretty vigorous discussion thread on my Bachmann post , but I want to follow up with a couple of points. Some folks argued that the fact that Bachmann endorsed the authors in question doesn't inherently mean she shares their distorted view of slavery. This is a mistake, as Ryan Lizza explains that to whatever degree she agrees with each individual point, she certainly agrees with the idea that slaveovers who refused to free their slaves might do so for "benevolent" reasons. Bachmann’s comment about slavery was not a gaffe. It is, as she would say, a world view. In “Christianity and the Constitution,” the book she worked on with Eidsmoe, her law-school mentor, he argues that John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams “expressed their abhorrence for the institution” and explains that “many Christians opposed slavery even though they owned slaves.” They didn’t free their slaves, he writes, because of their benevolence. “It might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a...

Obama's Iftar Message

President Obama hosted an Iftar dinner celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan yesterday, and used it as an opportunity to urge tolerance and recognize the contributions of Muslim Americans. At one point in his speech, he pointed out that, contrary to conservatives claiming that Muslims collectively attacked America on 9/11, there were Muslim Americans on the plane that crashed into the towers: Muslim Americans were innocent passengers on those planes, including a young married couple looking forward to the birth of their first child. They were workers in the Twin Towers -- Americans by birth and Americans by choice, immigrants who crossed the oceans to give their children a better life. They were cooks and waiters, but also analysts and executives. There, in the towers where they worked, they came together for daily prayers and meals at Iftar. They were looking to the future — getting married, sending their kids to college, enjoying a well-deserved retirement. And...

All Communism Everything

Matthew Yglesias wonders if Jonathan Podhoretz is too stupid to understand that North Korean style communism and American style democracy are the only political systems available: My baseline assumption with this kind of thing is that we’re looking at dishonesty, but having read Podhoretz’s opus on the greatness of George W Bush it seems plausible to me that he’s actually unaware of the relevant facts. Suffice it to say, however, that there are a number of democratic political systems in the world that vary substantially from the American model without being Communist dictatorships. They have such a system in, for example, Canada. Germany offers an example of a somewhat different model. France has yet another model. But apparently if Norman Podhoretz is your dad and you can be editor of Commentary without knowing any of that. Podhoretz' intelligence aside, it's an established conservative rhetorical trope that there is no sunlight between robust social insurance and totalitarianism...

Perry's Pals: Neocons And Sharia Panickers

Josh Rogin takes a look at Rick Perry's foreign policy brain trust, and quotes a Perry adviser who says he'd be a "hawk internationalist." "He will distinguish himself from other Republicans as a hawk internationalist, embracing American exceptionalism and the unique role we must play in confronting the many threats we face," one foreign policy advisor with knowledge of Perry's thinking told The Cable. "He has no sympathy for the neo-isolationist impulses emanating from some quarters of the Republican Party." Here's the list Rogin compiles: The experts that he has reached out to include former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, former NSC strategy guru William Luti, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy, former Pentagon official Charles "Cully" Stimson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe Daniel Fata, former Pentagon China official Dan Blumenthal, the Heritage Foundation's Asia expert Peter Brookes, and former U...