Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles

DAVID BROOKS DOES ANDY ROONEY:

DAVID BROOKS DOES ANDY ROONEY: In a typical display of the utter vacuity of conervative punditry in general and his shtick in particular, David Brooks wastes his New York Times column on a cranky, silly rant today. Instead of addressing any real crises in the world, like the escalating civil war in Iraq, or even a substantial problem facing American families, Brooks indulges his narcissistic obsession with "Bobos'" parenting habits. Brooks, who resides in a posh D.C. suburb, opens with a scurrilous attack on some supposed denizens of my native Park Slope, Brooklyn. Says Brooks: Can we please see the end of Park Slope alternative Stepford Moms in their black-on-black materinty tunics who turn their babies into fashion-forward, anti-corporate indie-infants in order to stay one step ahead of the cool police. Can we stop hearing about downtown parents who dress their babies in black skull slippers, Punky Monkey t-shirts and camo toddler ponchos until the little ones end up looking like...

WHAT WE LOST WITH VILSACK:

WHAT WE LOST WITH VILSACK: Of course everyone's initial reaction to Tom Vilsack dropping out was to assume that nothing of substance was missing. Just another moderate technocrat to fail, right? But as Brad Plumer pointed out yesterday, Vilsack did have one thing going for him, "hands down, the most ambitious energy and climate-change plan of any candidate in the field thus far." Now granted, Jason Zengerle portrayed this policy in his delightful profile of Vilsack as motivated at least partly by his affection for corn-based alternative fuels like ethanol that are popular in Iowa. But I agree with Brad that if Vilsack had been elected on a platform of proposing a 75 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gases by 2050 he'd have a real mandate for aggressively addressing climate change. There's no question that radical action is needed on this issue, and, if you look at most major initiatives in American history they could not have happened without leadership from the president--think...

VILSACK, RICHARDSON, AND MATT.

VILSACK, RICHARDSON, AND MATT. I think Tom Vilsack 's departure from the race provides an answer to the question Matt posed in his column the other day: Why is a popular second term governor from a swing state, like Bill Richardson , not being taken seriously by the national media? As Matt points out, those are the guys who used to win elections, and Vilsack meets that definition as much as Richardson. Matt argues that the media now only treats celebrities as serious candidates. Well, Vilsack's failure to gain traction hardly disproves that thesis, but I think Matt's is only a partial explanation. The real reason is a related one: It costs a staggering amount of money to compete in presidential elections these days, and neither Vilsack nor Richardson has raised very much money. Indeed, the cw is that Vilsack dropped out in large part because he couldn't raise enough to compete. Of course, celebrity candidates have an infinitely easier time raising money, but if, say, Jon Corzine ran a...

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...

Pages