Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Bad Optics of Bill Daley.

Ezra Klein is right about this: The key measure of a chief of staff is whether he (or she) will make the White House a more effective operation. Whether Bill Daley likes health-care reform is irrelevant if he successfully works to secure its future. That said, if Daley is the president's pick for chief of staff, the optics couldn't be worse; yes, he is a former commerce secretary, but as the Midwest chairman of JP Morgan & Co., Daley represents -- fairly or not -- Wall Street and its uncomfortably close relationship with the federal government. For my part, I hope this isn't an attempt to mend fences with business interests, though all signs point to it as an important consideration: Press-friendly and outgoing, William Daley could serve as a potentially powerful liaison to business interests and a vocal spokesman on economic matters - something White House officials have said they want as they focus on unemployment and the economy heading into the 2012 presidential race. I've...

Issa and Business, Sitting in a Tree ...

Who needs an independent agenda when you have corporate allies ? Thanks regulatory capture! Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants the oil industry, drug manufacturers and other trade groups and companies to tell him which Obama administration regulations to target this year. The incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- in letters sent to more than 150 trade associations, companies and think tanks last month -- requested a list of existing and proposed regulations that would harm job growth. Yes, it's scandalous that Darrell Issa is embracing regulatory capture as a matter of policy. But, is this really a surprise? Republicans have been more than open about their willingness to sell public policy to the highest bidder. As I noted last month, most of the new GOP committee chairs have strong ties to powerful business interests: Spencer Bachus , incoming chair of the Financial Services Committee, believes that "Washington and the regulators are there to...

Imaginary Spending Cuts.

Republicans just voted en masse to extend upper-income tax cuts and add hundreds of billions to the deficit. But since they can outline imaginary spending cuts, they somehow retain fiscal credibility: The incoming Republican majority in the House is moving to make good on its promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending this year, a goal eagerly backed by conservatives but one carrying substantial political and economic risks. House Republican leaders are so far not specifying which programs would bear the brunt of budget cutting, only what would escape it: spending for the military, domestic security and veterans. This is only the first round of budgetary evasion from the GOP; spending cuts are deeply unpopular, and to cut where it counts -- in Medicare and Social Security -- would be an exercise in political self-immolation. As the Times notes, this might be an attempt to build leverage against the White House in upcoming budget negotiations; by promising deep cuts,...

50 Percent.

This is interesting; for the first time in nearly eight months, President Obama 's approval rating is at 50 percent: This comes on top of a December bump, with his approval resting at 47 percent for the end of the year. That Obama has maintained a decent approval rating through a poor economy and high unemployment is surprising, and should be sobering to the GOP, particularly as it contemplates constant obstruction and a government shutdown. Obama may seem weak, but he's still the most popular politician in the country, and as the economy improves, so should his approval ratings. If the Clinton years are any indication, Obama wins, easily, in a public stand-off with the Republican Party. I think John Boehner is smart enough not to repeat the mistakes of 1995, but you can't say the same of his caucus, and it remains to be seen if he is savvy enough to pull his party away from the specter of Gingrich. -- Jamelle Bouie

A Human Touch.

The thrust of E.J Dionne 's point is right , though I have a small quibble: But on reflection, I offer the Republicans two cheers for their fealty to their professed ideals. We badly need a full-scale debate over what the Constitution is, means and allows - and how Americans have argued about these questions since the beginning of the republic. This provision should be the springboard for a discussion all of us should join. [...] An examination of the Constitution that views it as something other than the books of Genesis or Leviticus would be good for the country. Of course, historical criticism reveals that the books of Genesis and Leviticus, like the Constitution, are messy works, written and compiled by a variety of people, with different ideas and competing conceptions of the right and good. This doesn't make them any less sacred, only human. So, to amend Dionne a little, what we want is an examination of the Constitution with an eye toward the human, and an appreciation of the...

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