Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Republican Insiders Are Not So Keen on a Shutdown

I wrote yesterday that the government shutdown backfired for Newt Gingrich and Republicans in 1995; in the end, it helped Bill Clinton win his re-election race. If this new National Journal poll of party insiders is any indication, today's GOP insiders are worried that history will repeat itself: Tea Party Republicans might be eager to stage a government shutdown, but their elite benefactors are wary of the prospect: Only 65 percent of Republicans polled say that a shutdown would be in the party's interest. Of course, this isn't comprehensive -- and shouldn't be taken as representative of all party elites -- but I think it says something that a significant chunk of Republicans aren't on board with a replay of 1995. That said, it remains to be seen if this actually means anything in practice.

The Tea Party Is Still Basically the Religious Right

A new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life sheds further light on the religious views of the Tea Party. In short, they're more evangelical and more socially conservative than your average American: A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that Tea Party supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues.2 And they draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants. This is completely in tune with other polling on the subject. As I've written before , there isn't much to distinguish the Tea Party from social conservatives, or more broadly, the religious right. Both groups hold nearly identical views on abortion, gay rights,...

Partisanship and Democracy

Bill Galson and Elaine Kamarck team up to offer a strange critique of the American political system: It doesn't do enough to privilege moderate voters: In 2006, 2008, and 2010, America experienced a series of wave elections that resulted in shifts of political control. At the same time, the country continues to grapple with serious, potentially existential threats: a weak economy, massive structural deficits and growing global competition. Both problems— political polarization and the failure of governance—share the same root cause: the failure to give moderates adequate voice in the nation’s electoral and policy processes. This report argues for a new moderate politics that can solve these twin challenges. For Democrats, a politics of the center presents a critical opportunity—to both rebuild a lasting governing coalition and to champion a new reform agenda that can heal a political process now fractured by polarization. This ignores the actual content of legislation passed over the...

Another Well-Off Columnist Calls on Public Workers to Sacrifice

Today's "Against the Grain" column , by Josh Kraushaar , reads like a parody of Beltway conventional wisdom. For example, there's this: President Obama has chosen to play the political equivalent of the prevent defense as his reelection campaign approaches by deferring tough decisions on entitlements. His budget made no attempt to change the Medicare and Social Security programs, and barely made a dent in spending cuts. His agreement to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in last year’s lame-duck session has been followed by an embrace of the protesters in Wisconsin, both of which are off key in an economic situation that demands sacrifice from all. And this: Obama can’t win reelection in the Rust Belt by just winning over his labor allies and liberal activists. He needs to win back the independents that deserted his party in the last midterms. There is a lot going on here, all of it wrong. Social Security has little to do with long-term debts, and Medicare is most affected by the...

The Inevitable Government Shutdown

Given where the budget debate is headed, it's worth remembering how Republican hardheadedness backfired last time.

(AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
At this point, a government shutdown looks inevitable. Funding for government services runs out on March 4, and while both parties want to pass a short-term budget bill that will keep things running until a more permanent solution is negotiated, House Republicans are using their new majority to demand huge budget cuts from Democrats. On Saturday, the House passed a seven-month temporary funding resolution that would cut $60 billion from the existing federal budget. The House GOP plan would impose sharp reductions on virtually every area of discretionary spending (except, of course, on defense). As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out in an analysis of the resolution, total funding for non-military programs would have to fall by nearly 24 percent to reduce spending by the proposed amount. If passed, the Republican cuts would slash Head Start services for 157,000 "at risk" children, reduce Pell grants for 9 million students, cut $26 million from community mental-health...