Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Tyranny in the Real World.

There's a portion in the GOP's " Pledge for America " where the authors decry an "unchecked executive" who "strikes down long-standing laws and institutions" while "scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people." Given their past rhetoric, Republicans are probably referring to our duly elected executive's decision to pursue health-care reform and other tyrannical measures like greater unemployment insurance or climate-change legislation. Obviously, Republicans are playing off of their conservative base. But if this concern is genuine, I wonder if it would extend to something genuinely offensive, like the Obama administration's assertion of presidential authority to execute citizens without due process and in complete secrecy: In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking...

Crime and Recessions, Cont.

Mona Charen 's latest piece is on the "dodged bullet" of lower crime during a high-poverty recession. She repeats the conventional wisdom about crime increasing during periods of economic decline, and wonders why that isn't the case for this recession: Here is a curious thing about that increasing poverty, though, and it’s something that has received very little press attention: It has not resulted in a higher crime rate. In fact, according to the FBI, even as unemployment was spiking during 2009, the rate of murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults declined by 4.4 percent from the previous year. As even the Washington Post acknowledged, the conventional wisdom for many decades has been that “economic trouble breeds lawlessness.” As I wrote not too long ago, there isn't actually a clear connection between crime and economic performance; the Great Depression saw a significant drop in crime -- everyone is poor, so why would you steal? -- and while crime soared during...

Enter John Thune.

By way of Mike Allen 's Playbook is Stephen Hayes ' Weekly Standard piece on South Dakota Sen. John Thune . According to Hayes, Thune -- touted previously by David Brooks -- has all but committed to a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012: Several people close to the senator say they would be surprised if he chose not to run, and Thune allows that he’s thinking about it seriously enough that he’s gamed out his “pathway to get there,” calculated the amount of money it would take to be competitive in early primaries, and even thought about the timing of an announcement. He thinks his family would be on board. “I’m taking a very full look at it,” he says. And why not. The Republican field is wide open. And Obama is vulnerable . [Emphasis mine] Not to tout this book too much , but Republicans thought the same thing in 1995, when President Clinton seemed weak and vulnerable after Democrats' historic losses in the 1994 midterm elections. Here's Taylor Branch on how...

The More Things Change...

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bill Clinton offered some tidbits of advice to Democrats: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said his fellow Democrats should stop "mealy mouthing around" and start taking the fight to Republicans in the final weeks before this year's congressional elections. "The Democrats ought to stand up and fight," Clinton said in an interview for Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend. "The Democrats have 30 days to sort of stand up, embrace the challenge, and offer a worthy alternative," he said. "If they lay down and let it be a referendum, our side is going to get whacked." For the last month or so, I've been (slowly) making my way through The Clinton Tapes by Taylor Branch . You can read the full story of the tapes here , but it suffices to say that they are something of an oral history of the Clinton years, told through eight years of interviews between Branch and Clinton. I just finished the chapters that dealt with the...

No Country for Black Republicans.

Previous assertions notwithstanding, it seems that this year isn't a record one for black Republicans: Well, the primary data are now in — and Johnson’s claim that 2010 would be a record year is out the window. Only 13 African Americans are left running for the House on the GOP ticket this fall. That’s a higher number than in recent cycles, but nowhere near record levels — and far below the number running just a decade ago. As recently as 2000, 23 African Americans ran as GOP nominees for the House, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the leading national institution that gathers data on African American elected officials and general election candidates. (It stands to reason an even greater number were candidates before the field was whittled by primaries.) As Garance Franke-Ruta reports, the banner year for black Republicans was 1994, when 24 ran as nominees for congressional office. Of those, only J.C. Watts made it to Congress, where he was the House...

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