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

This is Not a (Litmus) Test

Much metaphorical blood has been spilled in the left's internecine battle over whether opposing the Bush administration's Iraq policy is an appropriate litmus test for membership in the Democratic Party, with the Lamont/Lieberman Senate primary serving as a proxy war. The battle lines have been clearly drawn. On one side there are the dovish insurgents, like Lamont, who said explicitly that he was running because of Lieberman's stance on the Iraq War. ("I'm running because I don't think staying the course is a winning strategy in Iraq, and it's not a winning strategy in America.") The Nation went further last fall when they declared in a lead editorial, "We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position." The shot across the bow of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden to Evan Bayh was clear. On the other side are hawks and moderates...

OVERESTIMATING AIPAC.

OVERESTIMATING AIPAC. My friend Ari Berman 's new Nation piece on AIPAC gathers some insightful quotes and makes a valid point in the last paragaph about the gap between the moderately high level of public support for Israel and the exceedingly high level of congressional support. But his explanation, which seems to boil down entirely to AIPAC's influence (or perceived influence) intimidating congressmen and senators into obeisance to their agenda betrays the tendency of Israel's critics to buy into an overly credulous view of AIPAC's power. For example, on the July 18th congressional resolution condemning Hamas and Hezbollah, Ari asserts, as fact, "AIPAC not only lobbied for the resolution; it had written it." But the only source he provides for that claim is former Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski , not a big fan of Israel, and not someone currently in government. Similarly, Ari describes AIPAC as "the American Jewish community's most important...

HOLY HOWELL RAINES, MARKOS!

HOLY HOWELL RAINES, MARKOS! It's as though the ghost of Howell Raines has somehow snuck back into the New York Times editorial page. Who could have guessed when looking at the Lieberman / Lamont headline that The Times would ditch their establishmentarian penchant for high-minded bi-partisanship and endorse Ned Lamont ? To a political junkie, this was like Bobby Thomson 's pennant-winning shot heard round the world. Since Raines' departure from the top of the editorial page, The Times has reverted from his crusading liberalism back to a more comfortable moderation. The paper infuriated some of their liberal readers by endorsing Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Representative Chris Shays (CT-R) for re-election. And, in the case of Shays, they did so in part on the grounds that having a Republican moderate in the seat was better for the country because it was good to have some ideological diversity within the party -- even though the alternative was a Democrat whose actual...

WHY DOES NELSON...

WHY DOES NELSON GET A FREE PASS? It's been often noted, in the ever-expanding coverage of the liberal bloggers' animosity towards Joe Lieberman (the most recent and best comments come from Hendrick Hertzberg in this week's New Yorker ), that many Democratic senators, like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, have equally conservative voting records but don't incur the same wrath because they are from red states or because they are more loyal to the Democratic Party in other ways. Fair enough. But yesterday's Senate stem-cell vote has me wondering: Why, exactly, is Ben Nelson being given a free pass on his morally reprehensible vote against federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research? Here is an issue where the public policy benefit is clear and the public policy cost is non-existent to anyone who doesn't hold rather peculiar, even mystical, views of the eternal soul of a blastocyst (as opposed to, say, a viable fetus). Public opinion polls clearly support the Democrats� position. Numerous...

NYT MISSES THE...

NYT MISSES THE POINT. Today's New York Times profile of Keith Olbermann as the great hope of MSNBC misses the most interesting aspect of his ascent. It focuses entirely on the humorous side of Olbermann's beef with Bill O'Reilly and the accusation that Olbermann is picking fights with O'Reilly to boost his ratings. The article never considers whether Olbermann may actually be going after O'Reilly's statements because Olbermann is legitimately offended by statements like this: [O'Reilly's] declaration last year (in jest, Mr. O�Reilly said) that a resolution passed in San Francisco to ban military recruitment in schools was so un-American that he was inviting Al Qaeda to blow up Coit Tower. Can you imagine how O'Reilly would react if a liberal pundit endorsed terrorist attacks on South Dakota for passing their draconian abortion ban? Nor does The Times even consider that Olbermann's increasing popularity is not merely a result of his provocative criticism of O'Reilly, but stems from the...

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