Bob Moser

Bob Moser is the executive editor of The American Prospect. He is the former editor of The Texas Observer and author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority. His email is bmoser@prospect.org

Recent Articles

Third-Place Race

With Michele Bachmann’s campaign dying in one last burst of flames, and Newt Gingrich literally being reduced to tears as his poll numbers plummet, the most important question in Iowa might be who comes in third next Tuesday behind likely frontrunners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. A new NBC-Marist poll (see below) has Gingrich and the Ricks, Santorum and Perry, bunched together at around 15 percent. The one who performs best next week will be positioned to soldier on as the conservative alternative to Romney. With Santorum’s numbers rising quickly, and Perry’s creeping up slowly, the two have spent the last two days trading potshots . Perry’s efforts have been boosted by influential RedState pundit Erick Erickson, who today unloaded on Santorum’s record in Congress, calling him a “pro-life statist,” a “big-government conservative” and (ouch!) an “earmarxist.” For his part, Gingrich’s closing argument has been about a return to Reaganomics , underscored by the presence of Arthur Laffer,...

Santormentum

Rick Santorum might have lost his most famous battles—not just for re-election as senator from Pennsylvania in 2006, but also against Dan Savage’s icky re-definition of his name . But he could be winning the contest to become the GOP’s right-wing alternative to Mitt Romney. In yesterday’s Time/CNN poll , the social-values crusader registered 16 percent in Iowa, vaulting him ahead of Governor Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. For a money-strapped candidate whose most notable moment thus far was his failure to chide audience members who booed a gay soldier, this might seem inexplicable. But Santorum has run a dogged, Jimmy Carter-style shoeleather campaign in Iowa, hitting all 99 counties, and he won the endorsement of the state’s most influential evangelical leader, Bob Vander Plaats. In the surest sign that Santorum is rising, Perry has begun to attack him, airing a faux game-show ad hosted by “Wink Taxandspend” that says Santorum “is proud of feeding at the earmark trough.” Also, Erick...

Ringside Seat: Lucky Mitt

Will the operatic sturm und dran g of the Republican presidential race end with a whimper of anti-climatic predictability? With one week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is flailing (see below) and Ron Paul is mishandling the controversy over his racist newsletters (ditto), while Rick Santorum and Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are still squabbling over the same Christian Right turf—leading folks like Nate Silver to ask : "How Can Romney Lose?" Even Mike Huckabee, who famously said in 2008 that Romney looks like "the guy who laid you off," is predicting he'll be the nominee. Meanwhile, a Boston Globe poll shows Romney winning 44 percent of Tea Partiers' support in New Hampshire. If the former Massachusetts governor can overcome Ron Paul's fragile edge in the Iowa polls, he could be looking like a shoo-in for the nomination next Wednesday morning. As John Heilman writes , chronicling Romney's December comeback, maybe it really is "better to be lucky than loved." So they...

Santa Comes Early

House Republicans finally waved a white flag over the payroll tax cut extension this afternoon—but not before they’d given President Obama what The New Yorker ’s John Cassidy aptly called an “early Christmas present.” And just the one he wanted and needed: a nice big boost to his re-election prospects. The White House’s crafty handling of the Tea Party’s latest hissy fit, along with Obama’s recent turn toward a more populist economic message, has boosted his approval ratings to 49 percent and given him a seven-point edge over his closest Republican rivals, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, in one recent national poll . That’s basically the same lead he held over John McCain in the late stages of the 2008 general election. The standoff was doing so much damage to Republicans that even McCain and Gingrich and The Wall Street Journal had begun calling for House Republicans to give in—and in Gingrich’s words, “to do it calmly and pleasantly and happily.” But for the president’s purposes, of...

Payroll Politics

Now that Ron Paul is leading some Iowa polls , the knives are out—as they have been for every non-Romney contender this year. Michele Bachmann is warning of the apocalyptic consequences of Paul’s isolationist tendencies, while Rick Perry wants everyone to know that his fellow Texan is a big ol’ earmarker . Iowans are fretting that a Paul victory will spell doom for the caucuses. Meanwhile, The Weekly Standard got James Kirchick to revive his 2008 New Republic report on the “hateful and conspiratorial nonsense” published in Paul’s newsletters in the 1980s and ‘90s—including the now-infamous line about the Martin Luther King holiday being “Hate Whitey Day.” As The New York Times notes, Paul has said he was too busy to read what went out under his name—even though the newsletters were a major source of the Paul family’s income. And National Review editor Rich Lowry archly notes the potential historical significance of a Paul victory in Iowa: “Can he become the first marginal, conspiracy-...

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