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


OBAMA BUBBLE. I think Malcolm Gladwell 's next book should explain the phenomenon of political speculation bubbles. Iit happens every couple months: a spectrum of the major middle- to high-brow magazines and newspapers run major features on the same topic all at once. There was the June 2005 "how do we deal with the emergence of China?" bandwagon, which featured covers from The Atlantic , The Economist , and Time . Earlier this year there was the "why are boys falling behind in school?" hand-wringing session ( Esquire , The New York Times , The New Republic , Newsweek , National Review , and a column in US News claiming the media wasn't covering this urgent issue enough.) And now it's time for the Barack Obubble. Everyone is using the release of his new book (much to his shock and dismay, I'm sure) as an excuse to play the "Is he running? Should he run?" game. In the cover story in Time , Joe Klein does his meaningless characterological shtick, while pundits across the ideological...


THE FRAUD CAUCUS FUND. I have to agree with Ari Berman of The Nation that the logical underpinnings of Republicans Who Care are shaky at best. A bunch of decrepit moderate millionaire Republicans are jumping into the breach between their far-right party leadership and moderate districts to save members of the Fraud Caucus like Chris Shays and Deborah Pryce . They are reportedly supporting "Republicans who favor balanced federal budgets and believe government should take a hands-off approach on such issues as abortion." The silliness of this exercise should be self-evident by now: if you want to support a politician who believes in a balanced budget and a woman's right to choose you don't need to look for the proverbial Republican in a haystack, you can just support a Democrat. Indeed, if you really care about a balanced budget and a woman's right to choose, re-electing a Republican who happens to profess those positions is actually counter-productive to those ends, particularly in the...


DEAF EAR. In an aggressive demonstration of their establishmentarian orientation, The Washington Post 's comprehensive coverage of the current controversy at Gallaudet University (the nation's only liberal arts college for the deaf), on both the news and opinion pages, has clearly skewed towards the school administration. The issue, for those who haven't been following, is that a clear majority of the Gallaudet student body, and many faculty staff and alumni, oppose the selection of university's new president, Jane K. Fernandes , and the manner in which she was chosen. The Post 's news coverage has mentioned a supposed counter-movement in support of Fernandes that no one else (including me, when I've gone to Gallaudet to cover the student blockade of campus) has confirmed. They have also repeated Fernandes' complaint that those who oppose her feel she "is not deaf enough" -- something none of the protestors interviewed by me , or any other reporter, have actually heard from Fernandes...


THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE DODGE. As Bob Packwood discovered a few years back, now that substance abuse is (correctly) viewed as an illness rather than a sign of moral degeneracy, one can blame one's actual moral degenaracy on substance abuse to soften a public fall from grace. Not any old substance will do, mind you: crack might turn off suburbanites, heroin might evoke the specter of AIDS, and coke might seem too rockstarrish. Plus, then you're admitting to breaking the law. Alcohol, on the other hand, has the middle-American acceptability (and legality) to strike the right balance (provided that plying your under-age pages with alcohol wasn't part of your attempts to seduce them). Thus it is no surprise that Mark Foley , after switching from denying his taste for 16-year-old underlings to admitting to them, has found the true culprit in a bottle. I guess drunk IMing is the new drunk dialing. --Ben Adler


DEPARTMENT OF DELICIOUS IRONIES. The headline and subhead from this Washington Post article today are almost too good to be true. Now, Even Allen's Apologies Are Getting Him in Trouble Sons of Confederate Veterans Is the Most Recent Group Offended by Senator's Comments So, after years of wrapping himself in the confederate flag, George Allen admits to finally realizing that "this symbol . . . is, for black Americans, an emblem of hate and terror, an emblem of intolerance and intimidation." Indeed, it is, and I might add that it says something about Allen's worldview that he only attributes those feelings to blacks. But of course there is nothing more dangerous in politics than dissing your base, which is precisely what Allen just did. So now, according to the Post , even the Lost Causers are demanding their pound of flesh: "He's apologizing to others, certainly he should apologize to us as well," said B. Frank Earnest Sr., the Virginia commander of the confederate group at a news...