Bob Moser

Bob Moser is senior editor at National Journal and author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority (Times Books). He is the former editor of The Texas Observer, senior editor/writer at The Nation, and executive editor of The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Great Debate

You’ve no doubt heard last night’s big news already: Barack Obama clinches the Democratic nomination for president! It was just a tad bit quicker and cleaner than in 2008. Meanwhile, the other party also held primaries in Maryland, D.C., and Wisconsin—and Mitt Romney swept them, as expected, relegating Rick Santorum’s longshot hopes to the dustbin. So what, pray tell, will the political punditsphere find to chatter about while we wait for the fall? There’s always the old faithful vice-presidential speculation (see Daily Meme, below). There’s also—dare we dream?—a meaningful debate beginning to percolate. Romney, in his victory speech last night and in today’s address to the Newspaper Association of America, made his boldest stab yet at defining the central clash of the general election. It’s Obama’s “government-centered society,” which “leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages,” versus “free enterprise,” which “has done more to lift people out of poverty,...


(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Aside from the fans who still faint at his events, the thrill is long gone for most of those who were enraptured by Barack Obama in 2008. The Road We’ve Traveled , the Obama campaign video released last night, is a glossy, high-production effort to rekindle the flame. The story it weaves is inspiring. Things were wretched in January 2009, we’re reminded: the economy in freefall, health care costs skyrocketing, auto companies nearly bankrupt, Osama Bin Laden on the loose. And Obama, intrepidly sacrificing political expediency at every turn, made one “tough call” after another and saved the day. The message for disillusioned progressives couldn’t be clearer: See? He really has kicked ass! The problem is that this portrait of a resolute, take-charge, damn-the-critics president doesn’t jibe with Obama’s image. Or with reality. He’s had genuine successes. He has virtues that have served him, and us, well. But he is not the sort of presidential superhero, or Oval Office Braveheart, that The...

Mad Lib Mitt

The rightward trek of Mitt Romney has been the Manifest Destiny of the GOP campaign. The more Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich hoard the evangelical and ultra-conservative vote, the more pundits and politicos say that Romney has no choice but to continue shuffling away from his past policy positions to make himself look more appetizing to “the base.” Last night’s third-place finishes in Alabama and Mississippi did nothing to change the conventional wisdom. Romney will clearly have to pick a vice-presidential nominee who satiates the hard right. But the idea that Romney is left with no choice but to shed his remaining moderate cred to appease the far right may prove to be as overblown as the fear (or, in some circles, joyous anticipation) of a contested convention. It’s easy to forget amid the nonstop national coverage, but GOP primary voters aren’t the whole Republican Party (nor, of course, do they resemble most Republican-leaning independents). Prior to yesterday, only 11.5 percent...

Dumbed Down in Dixie

AP Photo
As usual when the national media look south, there’s been endless “how dumb are they?” chatter this week about the yokels—particularly the white, conservative Republican ones—who live in today’s big primary states, Alabama and Mississippi. The New York Post headline about the tight race between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum caught the mood perfectly: “It’s Redneck-and-Neck.” Elsewhere, the coastal elites were all abuzz about Alexandra Pelosi’s video on Real Time with Bill Maher , where “average” Mississippians ( i.e. , the white, male, rural minority) say the gol-darndest things, and the survey showing that most Republicans in both states think Obama’s a Muslim and don't believe in evolution. (Just wondering: Have they tried those poll questions out on Republicans in Idaho or Nebraska?) It’s been a reminder that Dixiephobia remains one of the last socially acceptable forms of American bigotry. And one thing’s for sure: The candidates have done nothing to smarten...

Strange Doings in Dixie

“Things, strange things, are happening to me,” Mitt Romney told folks in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on Thursday evening. Hanging out with his personal aide, Mississippi native Garrett Jackson, as he stumps through the Deep South is “turning me into, I don’t know, an unofficial Southerner,” he said. This morning, to underscore this unlikely transformation, Romney began a town-hall meeting at the Mississippi Farmer’s Market with a chirpy “Mornin’ y’all,” and then proclaimed , “I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits. I’ll tell you! Delicious.” Soon, as he discoursed on the administrative costs of health care, Romney was joining in another local pastime: squashing a cockroach. “Oh look at that, look at that little guy,” he said , providing a play-by-play. “There. Got him.” The Mississippians seemed a bit unsure about how to react to all this. But they could be no more befuddled than the national political pundits, who’ve assumed that Romney couldn’t possibly...