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

THE BLOGOSPHERE'S BEEF...

THE BLOGOSPHERE'S BEEF WITH TNR . I think Marty Peretz 's Friday evening post on The Plank, in which he defended TNR from its left-wing blog attackers and excoriated their grammar, actually made a lot of fair points. TNR does effectively criticize the Bush administration and congressional Republicans on any number of issues, mostly domestic. And, I might add, they often do so more effectively than some of their more left-leaning counterparts precisely because their tone is less rigidly partisan and they are willing to grapple more seriously with conservative counter-arguments. [Full disclosure: I used to work there.] But here's the irony: Immediately below Marty's post is a prime example, courtesy of Lawrence Kaplan , of precisely what the bloggers find so maddening. And no, sorry Marty, it isn't because "TNR is a heterodox institution, a concept Kos surely cannot fathom." It's because TNR is an institution that gives space to the conservative -- not moderate -- rantings of liberal-...

MINUTEMEN EXPLAINED. The...

MINUTEMEN EXPLAINED. The New York Times has inadvertently explained the recent resurgence in xenophobia. The explanations that I gleaned from their big story on immigration today are: 1) there are too many retirees with nothing better to do, and 2) there are too many suburbanites not used to diversity and allergic to the common good. Both these qualities were perfectly captured in the story's leading man on the street, Patrick Nicolosi of Elmont, New York. When reading profiles of the Minutemen and such, I am constantly struck by the high proportion of retirees among them. In this piece Nicolosi, 49, who retired prematurely from his delivery truck driving job, tsk-tsks as he sees two immigrant children board a local school bus. Lacking gainful employment to occupy his time, he has the energy to get worked up over this, and some of his neighbors think him a busybody because of that. Furthermore, since he lives in the suburbs, where schools are heavily financed by property taxes, the...

PRINCIPLES. I generally...

PRINCIPLES. I generally agree with Matt 's article today, particularly his conclusion that principles are "only good if your principles are the right ones." But he seems to be contradicting himself here: Lieberman at least plausibly really does think the role of a United States senator ought to be complaining about "Friends"� time slot. If so, that�s all to the worse. Politicians who pander to misguided public concerns are problematic; politicians who genuinely share those misguided concerns and help to feed and create them are worse. I don't get it. It seems to me that the whole point of Matt's article is that it doesn't matter how one arrives at a public policy position, whether it's political pandering or genuine principle. What matters is whether the position they adopt is right. If that's the case, then why does Matt think it worse that Joe Lieberman 's schoolmarmish instincts are genuine rather than calculated? Parenthetically, I think Matt would agree with me that his point...

KEEP DIGGING, TOM....

KEEP DIGGING, TOM. The Tom Friedman column mocked �round the world (in which he boldly declared for the umpteenth time that "the next six months are crucial in Iraq") just gets funnier as Friedman goes on the defensive. To wit, on CNN today he defended that stereotypically hollow, centrist nonsense with... hollow, centrist nonsense! Money quote, via Think Progress: So the left � people who hated the war, they want you to declare the war is over, finish, we give up. The right, just the opposite. But I�ve been trying to just simply track the situation on the ground. And the fact is that the outcome there is unclear, and I reflected that in my column. Here Friedman engages in several typical MSM pundit tactics to discredit his critics. First he implies that everyone on either the right or the left is an ideologue whereas he is a disinterested reporter. He doesn't seem to recognize that one could be, say, a liberal who honestly observes the situation on the ground and comes to realize...

WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC....

WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC. Jacob Weisberg 's new piece on Al Gore in Slate is simultaneously terrific and infuriating. On the one hand, he makes some of the same criticisms I made about the movie (its irritating excessive focus on Gore's personal journey and its refusal to discuss how and why the Clinton administration didn't do more to combat global warming). And, being the talented writer and thinker he is, Weisberg does so much better than I. On the other hand, Weisberg twists all of this into a ridiculous thesis, sort of the Slate version of The New Republic 's tendency to follow counter-intuition to some bizarre, plainly illogical endpoint. Weisberg argues that because the end of Gore�s political career has allowed Gore to finally focus on raising awareness about global warming, he will actually do a better job of saving the planet if he is not elected in 2008. In other words, Weisberg is seriously suggesting that because global warming is such a terrible looming problem, it would...

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