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


IRAN: IRAQ DEJA VU? I've got to agree with The Nation �s Ari Berman on Bush 's speech to the United Nations today. Following on the heels of retired General Sam Gardiner 's statements on CNN last night that we are already dispatching forces to Iran, the administration's continued hardline approach toward Iran does seem to suggest they may already have designs -- beyond mere contingency plans -- for military strikes. This catches Democrats in quite a bind. They want to keep the focus on Iraq for the midterms. At the same time, as focus on Iran grows, they will be caught in a 2002 redux: to acquiesce to aggressive action or risk being painted as dovish. More on Iran can, of course, be found at Matt �s site . --Ben Adler


A STARTLING ADMISSION. From President Bush 's address to the United Nations: "Freedom by its nature cannot be imposed. It must be chosen." That he thinks so is news to me, although I couldn't agree more. --Ben Adler


FRUSTRATING SUPPORT FOR MCCAIN UPDATE. I'm afraid we may have to make �Liberals for McCain � a regular Tapped feature, a la Ezra 's Gorewatch. Jonathan Chait and Jacob Weisberg pioneered this trend, then Nicco Mele of EchoDitto joined the chorus, and today so did Richard Cohen in The Washington Post . Their rationales vary -- in fact, they conflict. Chait and Weisberg pursue the "he doesn't really mean all those rightwing votes he casts" argument, while Cohen uses a logic more like Mele's: He's a man of principle, and though I disagree with him and X on Y, he'd make a great president. Here's Cohen: [W]hile the Democrats are awash in potential presidential candidates, they have nobody who even remotely approaches McCain's stature. I say this not because I agree with McCain across the board -- not on abortion, for sure, and not on Iraq, and not with his bellicose statements regarding North Korea -- but because he embodies a quality for which the country yearns: integrity. He is a man of...


A PIECE THAT NEEDED TO BE WRITTEN. Many , including this blog , have criticized Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol for their recent proposal to continue and expand the American military presence in Iraq. Some raised the question of whether there are actually troops available to fulfill that mission. Now, two experts have definitely answered that question. Surprise! The answer is no. Daniel Benjamin and Mich�le A. Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies write that: According to in-house assessments, fully two-thirds of the Army's operating force, both active and reserve, is now reporting in as "unready"�that is, they lack the equipment, people, or training they need to execute their assigned missions. Not a single one of the Army's Brigade Combat Teams�its core fighting units�currently in the United States is ready to deploy.... In terms of ground-force readiness, the United States is in worse shape than at any time since the aftermath of Vietnam While this renders the...


LES ETUDIANTS. Over at Open University , David Bell makes an argument about Harvard's decision to drop early admissions: Two cheers for Harvard for getting rid of early admissions.... Yet if Harvard really wants to do something to make admissions fairer, it should consider doing away with the most inane and manipulable part of the present process: the application essay. Bell goes on to explain how the emphasis on "character" demonstration through the personal essay and extracurricular resume is ineffectual at actually gauging character and presents an opportunity for the wealthy to give their children an unfair advantage in admissions. But here's the catch; as Bell acknowledges, all systems, even the most ostensibly meritocratic, like France's, where elite college admissions are determined entirely on knowledge-based test scores, will be gamed by people with the most resources. But, as Bell points out, at least a system like France's would mean our ambitious students would spend their...