Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

George Allen: A Refresher Course.

Yesterday, former Sen. George Allen announced his return to Virginia politics: George Allen, the former U.S. senator and Virginia governor, plans to tell supporters within a week that he is mounting a campaign to retake the Senate seat he lost to Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) in 2006. Allen, 58, the most prominent 2012 challenger to announce so far, has begun to line up key staff members. Webb, 64, who won by 1 percent, has sent mixed signals about whether he will seek reelection. DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor who could be the Democratic nominee if Webb bowed out, has been telling friends he thinks Webb will run. As Allen's campaign begins in earnest, I hope we don't forget the circumstances for his loss in 2006. In short, he "slipped" and used a racial slur to describe an opposition staffer: "Macaca," as Wikipedia describes , "is a Francophone epithet for North African indigenes," which Allen may have heard from his mother, who was a North African of French descent. The...

The Black/Non-Black Divide.

Jeb Bush talks with The Wall Street Journal about the Latino vote: His insistence on engagement is not a call for multiculturalism. Quite the opposite: "The beauty of America -- one of the things that so separates us [from the rest of the world] -- is this ability to take people from disparate backgrounds that buy into the American ideal." With regard to assimilation, he says, Hispanics have much to be proud of. "Second-generation Hispanics marry non-Hispanics at a higher rate than second-generation Irish or Italians. Second-generation Hispanics' English language capability rates are higher than previous immigrant groups'." Jon Chait is a little appalled : I don't mean to be oversensitive here, but it really seems as if Bush is arguing that republicans should embrace Latino immigration because Latinos are becoming less Latino and more white. Is that really a good political sales pitch? I'm not sure if it's a good sales pitch, but it's basically the truth. Hispanics -- like Italians...

Taxes and Presidential Leadership.

(Flickr/ The White House ) Matthew Yglesias doesn't think President Obama should take the lead on tax reform: If the President goes and leads the charge for tax reform, what happens is that tax reform passing becomes “a victory for the White House” and we start getting stories about “President Obama’s goal of overhauling the tax code.” And a proposal like that will be dead on arrival. Fundamental tax reform has a chance if and only if there’s a bipartisan group of hardworking members of the House and Senate who sincerely want to reach consensus on a tax reform proposal. Andrew Sullivan is baffled : So why on earth shouldn’t the president try and get this started? I think Matt is seriously wrong here - and my own personal test for the seriousness of this presidency from here on out is its commitment to long-term fiscal balance and tax reform. I sympathize with Sullivan, but I'm not sure that he gets Yglesias' point. Simply put, on sensitive issues where bipartisan compromise is...

Foot in the Door

Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for black Americans opened the doors for other minority groups to demand equality.

We know Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy for the black community. African Americans have made amazing progress since the 1960s: More blacks than ever graduate from high school, attend college, and join the middle class. The president of the United States is a black man, and the share of African American politicians is steadily growing. The picture isn't perfect -- there are still broad racial disparities in everything from health-care access to employment -- but progress is real. But his legacy for other minority groups is less obvious. In public policy, we group racial and ethnic minorities together, even when their situations are very different. African Americans, with their legacy of slavery, apartheid, and institutionalized discrimination, face a vastly different set of circumstances than Latinos (who, until relatively recently, were classified as "white" in large parts of the country), Asians, Native Americans, and women. That the federal government views these constituencies as a...

Hate the Game, and Sometimes, the Player.

I'm unsure about Ezra Klein 's argument that we shouldn't blame the Senate's dysfunctions on Mitch McConnel l: But if it wasn't McConnell launching the filibusters, it'd be someone else. They might be better on television or more collegial in front of the cameras, but they'd still be filing objections and wasting time and holding their members together. In part, that's because the various interest groups and grass-roots organizations that power the Republican Party do not want to see compromises on liberal agenda items. But the larger truth is that obstruction just makes sense: If you can only win the next campaign if the public considers the governing party a failure, and if it's in your power to make the governing party fail, well, you can finish the thought. On the main, this is correct; Senate obstructionism has less to do with the personality of any given minority leader, and everything to do with the perverse incentive structure of the chamber. As Ezra writes, "The Senate isn't...

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