Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

To Halt Executive Power, We Need Another Watergate.

On Twitter, after Julian Sanchez floated the possibility of GOP opposition to the Obama administration's push for Internet wiretaps, Matthew Yglesias made a funny -- but correct -- prediction about the likely path for civil liberties and executive power: My prediction: Continued erosion of civil liberties --> massive Nixon -style political abuse scandal --> restoration of civil liberties. The RNC's mild criticism of the Obama administration notwithstanding, there isn't much of a political coalition for civil liberties, and as I wrote yesterday, that's likely to be true for the foreseeable future. But as Yglesias points out, this could change if some president decides to use his power for political gain; as long as the state directs its surveillance powers at "bad guys," most Americans don't really care about the precedent it sets or the damage it does to the Constitution. As we saw with Nixon, though, the system will react -- strongly -- if those powers are used for political...

The Complacency Gap.

In his interview with Rolling Stone , President Obama admonished Democrats for their low enthusiasm: "It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election," the president told the magazine. Obama went on to describe his administration as the "most successful in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward," and said it was flat out "irresponsible" for Democrats to stay home on Election Day. "The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible," he said. "Everybody out there has to be thinking about what's at stake in this election." I'm not entirely sure that "enthusiasm" is a helpful word, in part because it can obscure more than it can illuminate. When we say that Democrats aren't enthusiastic about voting, what does that actually mean? It could mean that Democrats are angry and dissatisfied with President Obama, and thus...

Nonbelievers, Privilege, and Religious Knowledge.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently conducted a survey where they phoned more than 3,400 Americans and surveyed them on basic religious knowledge. The results , I gather, were a little surprising: Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life. [...] Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences. Looking at the full survey , there are a few things worth noting. First, education goes a long way in explaining varying scores; college graduates were more likely to score well than people with only some college, who in turn, were more likely to score well than people with a...

White Men Are Pretty Conservative.

Writing at Politico , Ben Smith notes that men are the driving force behind the massive GOP surge in elections across the country: Men are not only more loyal to the GOP than two years ago but also more motivated to vote, recent polls suggest. This year’s central issues are ones that politicians traditionally use to appeal to men, especially worries about budget deficits. [...] A Marist poll this month found 48 percent of Republican men called themselves “very enthusiastic” about voting, the most of any group; just 28 percent of Democratic woman said the same, with Republican women and Democratic men falling in the middle. While neither of the cited polls offers a racial breakdown, I am positive that "men" in this case equals "white men," since men of other racial groups -- like their female counterparts -- are almost always more likely to support Democrats. So, if we're talking mostly about white men, then there really isn't any mystery as to why they are fired up and ready to go...

The Upsides of Misplaced Focus.

Writing at her blog, Dana Goldstein reminds would-be education reformers that most American schools actually serve their students pretty well: This is, in part, the point Nick Lemann made in his New Yorker column on “the overblown crisis in American education.” It’s important to note that the major problem with American education is the problem of class and race inequality. As Linda Darling Hammond writes in The Flat World and Education, “students in the highest-achieving states and districts in the United States do as well as those in high-achieving nations elsewhere.” Indeed, American white, Asian, and multiracial children perform better than the OECD average in reading, science, math, and problem solving. It is black and Hispanic kids that are falling behind. Insofar that America has a serious problem educating its children, it's because some of those children come from terribly disadvantaged backgrounds; of the more than 13 million children who live in poor families, close to two-...

Pages