Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Rick Perry's Threats Establish Him as a Mainstream Republican

Three days out of the gate, and Texas Governor Rick Perry has already had his first gaffe in the Republican presidential primary. Speaking before a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, Perry called loose monetary policy and act of treason, and made not-so-subtle threats about the physical safety of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, should he happen to find himself in Texas. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election,” said Perry to the group, “I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we – we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion” This is a little ironic given Perry’s own flirtation with near-treasonous ideas. But if you put those two things aside, you’ll notice that this isn’t a unique sentiment among Republican presidential hopefuls. Back when he was still a viable candidate for the GOP nomination, former...

If the President Defends Liberalism and No One Listens, Does It Matter?

In their despair over the debt-ceiling deal, liberals have admonished President Obama for his failure to use the “bully pulpit” and take his case to the public. Political psychologist Drew Westen offered a lengthy version of this argument in last week’s New York Times , lamenting Obama’s failure to capture the public’s imagination and act as a national advocate for liberalism. The problem with this critique, as pointed out by many, is that Obama has articulated a political vision for the country and has repeatedly defended liberalism as a governing ideology. The issue isn’t that Obama hasn’t been talking; it’s that the press hasn’t been listening. For an example, take President Obama’s ongoing bus tour through the Midwest. As part of this event, he stopped in Cannon Falls, Minnesota for a town hall with residents. Obama gave brief remarks, and then turned the mic over to the crowd for a lengthy question and answer session, during which he gave a forceful defense of government in the...

The Vision Thing

At Politico , Glenn Thrush explores President Obama’s vision problem, or his alleged inability to articulate a unified message for the country. Taking a page from discontented liberals, Thrush compares Obama unfavorably with Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy: Obama has groped for a larger message to match the iconic “hope and change” rallying cry of the campaign, and began his term with the promise of a “New Foundation” meant to echo the optimism of FDR and JFK. […] “There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics,” Obama said Thursday during a trip to Michigan. “This downgrade you’ve been reading about could have been entirely avoided if there had been willingness to compromise in Congress. “There are some in Congress who would rather see their opponents lose than America win.” […] That might make the case for reelecting Obama, but will it get Americans out of the country’s collective funk the way a message like FDR’s “The only thing we have to...

Can Democrats Take Back the House in 2012?

If this were a normal political environment, it would be safe to assume a GOP House majority through the 2012 cycle. After all, at 240 seats, it would take another wave election – the third in as many cycles – for Republicans to lose control of the House. But the politics of this moment are highly unusual: Te economy is teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession and the new GOP majority has eschewed moderation altogether, opting instead for brinksmanship on the nation’s finances, and a hard-right agenda of deep spending cuts and attacks on reproductive health care for women. As a result, not only has the Republican Party tarred Congress with its worst approval ratings ever, but it has led the public to double-down on its disdain for the GOP -- an incredible feat, given the party’s already poor approval ratings. With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that after taking a shellacking in last year’s elections, the Democratic Party is now leading the generic congressional ballot...

Same Bite, Different Bark

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)
Of the things worth noting about the first major Republican presidential debate in June, the absence of Texas Governor Rick Perry from the stage ranks high up there. With Perry set to announce his presidential bid on Saturday in South Carolina, his absence again upstaged the other GOP presidential contenders at last night's debate in Ames, Iowa. But the spectacle nonetheless had its moments. During the debate, hosted by Fox News, moderators focused unrelentlessly on the perceived weaknesses of each of the major candidates. They pressed Mitt Romney on his Massachusetts health-care reforms and anti-abortion bona fides, pushed Tim Pawlenty on his unrealistic economic-growth targets, and questioned Michele Bachmann's qualifications for the presidency. On health care, Romney gave his standard answer: The right to implement an individual mandate belongs to the states -- not the federal government. Bachmann held up her willingness to fight as her chief qualification, "I have a very...

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