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

What Santorum Means

With Rick Santorum’s Tuesday sweep in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, the number of non-Romney “surges” in the GOP presidential contest now threatens to eclipse the number of debates. Pundits respond every time in competing choruses: the “It’s Not Over Yet!” song of jubilation, and the “Sorry, Mitt Is Still Inevitable” retort. It can be as tiresome as hearing Romney recite snatches of “America the Beautiful”—and it presents the campaign as a largely substance-free succession of stats and fundraising numbers and demographics. But the candidate who surprised everyone in the non-binding contests on Tuesday has, unlike the front-running Romney, based his campaign on big ideas —a bold plan to bring back manufacturing jobs and an ardent desire to rekindle the culture wars. As he showed again last night in Missouri, where he delivered one of the angriest and least-celebratory victory speeches in memory, Santorum is not competing on the basis of charisma and charm; his best moment was...

A Gun to the Gun Fight

In the summer of 2008, revving up for the general-election campaign against John McCain, Barack Obama raised some eyebrows by telling a group of Philadelphians: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” He wasn’t talking about fundraising specifically—he was emphasizing his ability to give a punch as well as take it—but he might as well have been: Obama also dismayed some supporters by eschewing the public financing system to make sure he had more than enough artillery ($750 million, in fact) to fend off the Republicans that year. Today’s announcement that the Obama campaign was embracing a super PAC, Priorities USA, to make major bank for his re-election bid inspired a similar outcry. NBC’s First Read said that it “looks hypocritical no matter how you try and rationalize it,” given the president’s outspoken opposition to Citizens United. There certainly was some rationalizing , as Obama officials noted that 60 percent of donations to their campaign are under $200 (while...

Bubble in the Heartland

“Why Not Santorum?” One can imagine many ways to answer that banner-headline question at National Review Online . But some conservatives—along with pundits desperate to inject a spark of interest back into the Republican race—are posing it seriously as the Iowa caucus winner appears poised to give Mitt Romney a run in three low-profile GOP contests in Heartland swing states on Tuesday. Polls released on Sunday showed Santorum slightly ahead in one caucus state, Minnesota, and running second in another, Colorado, while the most recent numbers had him leading in Missouri, which holds a “beauty-contest” primary that won’t select any actual delegates. This may be Santorum’s last chance to regain a bit of the oomph he lost after Iowa, and he’s been campaigning hard—and mostly alone—in the three states since giving up Florida and Nevada for lost. The Romney campaign, determined to have no more right-wing “surges” that disrupt their man’s smooth gallop to the nomination, are doing Santorum...

Sacred vs. Profane

Campaign operatives love nothing better than a sharp, highly favorable contrast between their candidate and the opposition—and President Obama’s people had to be chest-bumping and high-fiving over the one they got today. At this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, one day after Mitt Romney disastrously said he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” Obama delivered a heartfelt homily on the religious imperative behind the rich helping the poor: “I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’” And then, this afternoon in Las Vegas—well, the Obamians couldn’t have scripted it any better. Their likely Republican opponent found himself onstage with the very embodiment of greed and gluttony, Donald Trump, who...

Poor Winner

Mitt Romney sure knows how to celebrate a triumph. This morning, on his victory lap after thumping Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, he spoke with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and volunteered the following: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net out there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.” Noting this might “sound odd” to millions of poor Americans, O’Brien kindly threw the former Massachusetts governor a lifeline to explain himself. He proceeded to make matters worse: “There’s no question: It’s not good being poor,” he said, foot traveling ever nearer mouth. “You can focus on the very rich; it’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor; it’s not my focus.” This latest example of Romney’s lack of empathy for the non-privileged was guaranteed to raise richly deserved howls of outrage from progressives, but it proved equally unpopular with conservatives. “Romney's remark isn't merely tone-deaf, it's also un-conservative,” wrote John McCormack in The Weekly...

Pages