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


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...


CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR REPUBLICAN DEFEAT. The new issue of the Washington Monthly has a truly inspired collection of conservative arguments for a Republican defeat this November. The highlight is surely Christopher Buckley 's piece, which expresses the libertarian scorn for George W. Bush 's "compassionate" conservatism. Buckley coins a new term for it, "incontinent conservatism," which seems particularly apt given his list of grievances ("bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief.") Perhaps the reason that Buckley's disappointment seems so genuine, while one may suspect David Frum of crying crocodile tears, is that Buckley concedes that Republicans betrayal of conservatism is nothing new. He acknowledges a laundry list of instances where Richard Nixon and even conservative savior Ronald Reagan (gasp!) sold out to the big-government beast. But he adds, reasonably enough: Despite...


WHERE'S THE MONEY FOR WEBB? Michelle Cottle 's great profile of Jim Webb in this week's New Republic reminds me of a point Alec raised last month, during the Connecticut primary: Wouldn't the fundraising energy the bloggers lavished on Ned Lamont been better spent funding challengers seeking to defeat actual Republicans? Come November 8th, would they rather see Joe Lieberman looking hangdog or George Allen staring shellshocked? Like Lamont, Webb won the Democratic primary in an upset fueled in part by the bloggers� support. But a distaste for fundraising has left him with merely $500,000 on hand while his incumbent opponent, George Allen, sits atop $6 million. So, as Cottle points out, Webb may be catching up in the polls right now, but he lacks the funds to sustain the rally. What happens when Allen deploys his war chest to make Webb into a baby-eating gay marriage counselor? No progressive, no matter how much they hate Joe Lieberman , can reasonably claim that he's nearly as odious...


AHMADINEJAD JOINS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM. What do Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Horowitz have in common? Hint: It's not their views on Israel. Give up? They both want to fire liberal, secularist professors perverting the fragile minds of college students. According to AP: Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported in another step back to 1980s-style radicalism. Well, at least Iran is finally catching up to us in something besides nuclear technology. --Ben Adler


BUSH: DRILL OUR WAY TO A STRONGER LEVEE SYSTEM. President Bush is not even done with his speech supposedly given in honor of the dead and those displaced by the hurricane that hit land one year ago today, and already he has begun trying to spin the needs of Louisianans in a comically cynical way. To rebuild levees costs money, you see. And that's why Bush just urged Congress to open the Gulf Coast for drilling, to help raise the necessary money. Seeing him pull this maneuver should give every environmentalist reason for concern. Remember, Bush used the argument that September 11 proves the need for energy independence to argue for drilling in ANWR. That said, I'm not too worried that Bush will actually be able to capitalize on this. Whereas Bush's speeches about September 11 have always demonstrated his political charisma at its most adept, this speech, like his handling of Hurricane Katrina all along, has been weak by comparison. Speaking right now on CNN, he is visibly nervous,...