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


MORE ON VIRGINIA. Adding to our earlier discussion on whether Virginia is following in Delaware�s and Maryland�s historical footsteps, reader David Weigel writes in to point out: Gov. Tim Kaine isn't a native to Virginia or the South. He was born in St. Paul, MN, and grew in the Kansas City area (the Missouri side) before he went to Harvard for law school. I think this adds some evidence to your concept. In 4-10 years, I think Virginia's politics will look more like Pennsylvania's, with the DC burbs playing the part of Philly and its suburbs. At the very least Democrats are going to start picking up the northern VA congressional seats now held by Tom Davis and Frank Wolf. Indeed, that seems to be where the long-term trend is going. Furthermore, just double the number of years and, with all the Northern retirees flocking to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the rest of the Research Triangle Park area, North Carolina may be in exactly the place Virginia finds itself now. The more...


ALLEN FALLING. I think Matt is onto something with his observation that Virginia may be evolving into a non-Southern state. In addition to the election of two successive moderate Democrats as governors (the first, Mark Warner , being a non-native to Virginia or the South), the latest Wall Street Journal /Zogby poll in the '06 Senate race gives Democrats some reason for hope. It shows challenger Jim Webb dead even with incumbent George Allen . This is a dramatic shift from a few weeks ago when Allen led by double digits. Observers who thought that Virginia had conquered its Confederate demons were disappointed that Ryan Lizza 's expos� on Allen seemed to matter not a whit to the average Virgninian. But apparently Macacagate has taken its toll on Allen. Whether it's Allen's xenophobia per se or his crass bullying that is turn-off to Virginia voters remains unclear. --Ben Adler


HOW DID YOU GET TO SCHOOL? Another likely factor in the modern epidemic of childhood obesity and related illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, from the University of Texas: In 1969, about half of all students walked or bicycled to school. Fast forward 35 years and less than 15 percent of students walk or bicycle to school. Obviously this decline in daily exercise has some effect on the health of children. The steepness of this decline is especially noteworthy -- even within the same communities, where the distance from home to school may not have changed over this period, people are making different, less healthy choices. Dr. Tracy McMillan, a professor at UT, has been conducting surveys to figure this out. Apparently many parents view the time they spend driving their kids to school as quality time they wouldn't otherwise have with them. Also, they are concerned about the safety of walking in traffic-heavy areas, where automobiles are increasingly large and fast-moving. The first problem...


PURGE OF MELE BEGINS. As well it should. The New Organizing Institute (a "grassroots training and research program created by experienced online conjunction with") just announced it has "removed Nicco Mele from its Advisory Board after learning that Mele will be supporting John McCain if he should run for president." It is important that someone is taking the lead in drawing the line against progressive support for McCain , and I hope more progressive organizations follow. NOI went on to add, "Senator McCain's record is radically out-of-step with the values of most Americans�and certainly inconsistent with the values of the NOI." Indeed. As McCain's campaign picks up steam, there is going to be a temptation for some progressive reformers to lose their minds and support him for the same lame quasi-character-based reasons Mele gives: "[his] work on campaign finance reform and his independent streak." I've always been perplexed by this obsession good-government...


RACE IN REPUBLICAN RACES. Raw Story reporter Brian Beutler has catalogued a surprising number of racist remarks from Republican candidates this year and noted the national party's response -- or lack thereof. Unlike Macacagate , most of these examples have not garnered national media attention. (The heated GOP primary race to fill Katherine Harris 's House seat, for example, pits a candidate who issued an official statement noting Muslims' history of terrorism against a candidate who offered the choice nugget, "I know from experience that blacks are not the greatest swimmers, or may not even know how to swim.�) The frame of Beutler's piece seems to be his assertion in the opening graf that: "Republican leadership is keeping its distance from statements by lesser-known candidates that may be perceived as racially insensitive." But the evidence later in his piece only demonstrates that the RNC and NRCC haven't come out in support of these statements, not that they've repudiated them...