J. Goodrich

J. Goodrich is a recovering economist and the sole proprietor of the political blog Echidne of the Snakes. She also blogs for TAPPED.

Recent Articles

The Man-Crush Primary

Why are so many pundits enamored of the Republican candidates' manliness -- and so eager to equate "presidential" with "masculine"?

How do you decide who gets your vote in the presidential elections? Is it determined by the candidates' physical appearance, by the charisma they radiate or by the emotional strings they manage to tug deep inside you, conjuring childhood yearnings for security and a night-light after dark? And if you do cast your vote on these grounds rather than on the candidates' policies, do you want political pundits to tell you what they think about the looks, smells, and aura of dominance of each candidate? Or would you prefer polls of other voters' impressions on such matters? Well, no matter what your answer, several political commentators have decided that their impressions on these issues are important. Take Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC's Hardball . Matthews has asked whether Giuliani would win a late-night street fight in Queens against the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and has shared with us that Giuliani's personality makes him remember the ominous sentence: "Just wait until...


THIS SCABROUS WORLD . I read David Brooks ' take on Bush commuting Scooter Libby 's sentence and learned a new word: scabrous. It can mean rough, difficult to handle or salacious. It can even mean "covered with scales." Brooks uses it in the opening paragraph of his piece: In retrospect, Plamegate was a farce in five acts. The first four were scabrous, disgraceful and absurd. Justice only reared its head at the end. The drama opened, as these dark comedies are wont to do, with a strutting little peacock who went by the unimaginative name of Joe Wilson. Mr. Wilson claimed that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to investigate Iraqi purchases in Niger, though that seems not to have been the case. He claimed his trip proved Iraq had made no such attempts, though his own report said nothing of the kind. In short order, Wilson established himself as the charming P.T. Barnum of the National Security set, an inveterate huckster who could be counted on to wrap every actual fact in six...


HOW DOES HE DO IT? Peter Baker in the Washington Post takes a long look at George Bush , the man, and essentially asks how Bush manages to stay chipper given his floor-dragging approval ratings both at home and abroad. You can form your own opinions on how feasible such a psychological study is without having the subject lie on your Freudian couch for a few years, but it's clear that Bush is a determinedly optimistic man. Perhaps he is buoyed by the knowledge that whatever his other failures, he is going to be the American president in the future history books who will be credited with the dragging of the Supreme Court to the right edge of politics. Bush's optimism may be very good for him personally. Whether it's good for the country would seem to depend on how realistic it is, of course. -- J. Goodrich


RAISED EYEBROWS. That's how the London Times describes the reaction of the American government to Gordon Brown 's new cabinet, given that Brown has appointed a few ministers who are not keen on Bush . The whole article is interesting, but I was struck mostly by the careful analysis in it. Is it just my imagination or is this level of analysis uncommon in the American press? --J. Goodrich


YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY. Juan Williams has an op-ed piece in the New York Times on the recent Supreme Court decision about school integration programs. Williams' take can be summarized by this paragraph: And today the argument that school reform should provide equal opportunity for children, or prepare them to live in a pluralistic society, is spent. The winning argument is that better schools are needed for all children — black, white, brown and every other hue — in order to foster a competitive workforce in a global economy. No longer are we to dream of a better future, together. Forget about equal opportunity! It is sufficient to grow better workers for the global economy, to compete against all those low-wage workers abroad! And all children have the same unmet needs for better schools. Sigh. -- J. Goodrich