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

AN UNREASONABLE ARGUMENT:

AN UNREASONABLE ARGUMENT: So I saw "An Unreasonable Man," the documentary on Ralph Nader that is coming out this week. From the previews I was expecting a sharply produced even-handed examination of Nader and his legacy. What I got instead was a kitschy piece of propaganda. The film, which was filled with unintentionally comical images flying across the screen and oddball music choices, gave an impression of Nader that was absurdly skewed in his favor. While the early parts of the film that discussed his work as a consumer advocate were reasonably interesting, its second half was totally bizarre. It said nothing about what Nader has done since the mid 1980s besides run for president four times. It treats the fact that Nader runs every four years with a seriousness it would never show other perenial candidates like, say, Harry Browne . Most egregiously it gives considerable air time to factually false and intellectually dishonest arguements in support of Nader's 2000 presidential...

WHITE HISTORY MONTH?:

WHITE HISTORY MONTH?: I think Gary Younge is really onto something in his column in this week's Nation . Writing about how February is Black History Month, he arges that there is a crucial component missing: examination of who the pepetrators of racism themselves have been. For instance, there is much discussion of Rosa Parks and what motivated her, but none of James Blake , the bus driver who told her to give up her seat. Says Younge: So much of Black History Month takes place in the passive voice. Leaders "get assassinated," patrons "are refused" service, women "are ejected" from public transport. So the objects of racism are many but the subjects few. In removing the instigators, the historians remove the agency and, in the final reckoning, the historical responsibility. Younge argues for a new approach to American historical education that takes equal responsibilty for the bad as well as the good. Though its a little unclear what he actually argues for as policy proposal, (does...

HRC AND THE FOREIGN POLICY ELITE.

HRC AND THE FOREIGN POLICY ELITE. Far be it from me to disagree with our erstwhile boss man, Mike Tomasky , but I was intrigued by his post on "Comment is Free," the online opinion page of the Guardian . Mike argues that the reason Hillary Clinton refuses to admit that she was wrong to support the Iraq War is the influence of the foreign policy establishment: "This is a bunch whose views are well to the right of the Democratic primary electorate. And it is a bunch in whose good graces Hillary Clinton, a cautious and establishment politician at her core, is fervent to stay." Well, he's certainly right about the first point, as he illustrates with figures like Ken Pollack and Richard Holbrooke . On the second, though, I'd offer a slightly different analysis. I'm not sure that Senator Clinton is so concerned with sucking up to those guys -- I think if she moves to the left to get elected they'll still gladly take jobs from her. I think she, being in some sense a member of that same cadre...

FALSE NOTES FROM GUILANI'S HOUSE ORGAN.

FALSE NOTES FROM GUILANI'S HOUSE ORGAN. During Rudy Giuliani 's tenure as mayor of New York City, the conservative periodical City Journal , associated with the Manhattan Institute, functioned as a sort of house organ. They justified Giuliani's policies with a neoconservative critique of the welfare state and urban underclass social norms, while helping to churn out the policy ideas he implemented. (Indeed, they boast in the first paragraph of the "About" page of their website, "During the Giuliani Administration, the magazine served as an idea factory as the then-mayor revivified New York City, quickly becoming, in the words of the New York Post , 'the place where Rudy gets his ideas.' The Public Interest goes further, calling City Journal �the magazine that saved the city.�) So it should come as no surprise that they are now flacking for Giuliani's nascent presidential campaign. There is a very long article by Steven Malanga in the new issue of City Journal , claiming that Guiliani...

Sick Transit

As Jim Webb noted in his response to the 2007 State of the Union Address, "this is the seventh time the president has mentioned energy independence in his State of the Union message, but for the first time this exchange is taking place in a Congress led by the Democratic Party. We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil." To be nitpicky, the actual number is technically six times , but the point stands. President Bush, and, for that matter, Democrats in Congress, have repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce our oil consumption for reasons of national security, economic health, and environmental protection. But actions speak louder than words. And the president's actions, as proposed in the budget he released last week, are sorely disappointing. Alas, on one key plank the Democrats' are only marginally better. With all the focus on, in Webb's words, "alternate energy programs," too many are ignoring a long-...

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