Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

GOP Sees a Balanced-Budget Amendment in America's Future.

For a political party that insists on the Constitution's perfection, the GOP is unusually enthusiastic about amending the document. Last week, prominent Republicans came out in favor of " revisiting " the 14th Amendment -- their signature accomplishment -- with an eye toward ending the nation's long-standing policy of birthright citizenship. Today, The Hill reports that Senate Republicans are planning a new push this fall for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Championed by Sens. Jim DeMint , Lindsay Graham , John McCain , and Tom Coburn , the amendment would bar the federal government from spending more than it collects in revenue each year, while also requiring a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate to raise taxes. It's very similar to California's Proposition 13 , which requires a two-thirds majority in both houses for future increases on all state tax rates. This is clearly a political ploy. As Greg Sargent notes , the proposed balanced-budget amendment...

Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Still Pretty Low.

Writing for The New York Times , Carl Hulse opens a story on Colorado's Senate primaries with this line: Two Senate primaries that were supposed to be tranquil affairs have turned into roaring Rocky Mountain shootouts that could provide the best test yet of how deeply anti-establishment, anti-Washington sentiment is running this year. The rest of the piece is fine, but this is a pretty lazy way of framing the narrative; there's no way you could generalize "anti-establishment, anti-Washington sentiment" from two elections in one of the nation's smaller states, even if officials are expecting higher-than-usual turnout. Slate 's Christopher Beam made this point last week, but it's worth repeating: There's no meaningful way in which this year's elections are anti-incumbent or anti-establishment; of the 282 federal-level incumbents up for re-election, only six have lost their seats. That number goes up if you include those defeated in primaries, but only slightly. Indeed, even wave years...

The Filibuster is Bad for Reform, Period.

Cato's David Boaz attempts to make a libertarian defense of the filibuster, and Matthew Yglesias offers his response: People who want to move public policy in the United States in a more libertarian direction support the idea of having congress pass legislation. As I was able to get Jonathan Bernstein to agree, the impact of the idiosyncratic elements of the American political system is to enhance the influence of interest groups and decrease the influence of ideologues and technocrats. Libertarians shouldn’t like that very much, it seems to me. That's about right; Boaz says that the filibuster is useful for "those of us who prefer liberty, limited government, and federalism," but I'd be hard-pressed to name an instance when the filibuster enhanced or protected either of those things. Historically, the filibuster has been the weapon of choice for senators who sought to sink civil rights and anti-lynching legislation, and today, as a tool for obstruction, the filibuster keeps...

Black Kids Still More Likely to Drown.

I can't even begin to fathom how horrible this must be for the families involved: Six teenagers drowned Monday evening in a river in northern Louisiana when they waded over a drop-off into much deeper water. The teenagers, ages 13 to 18, belonged to two families that had come to a sandy bank along the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana, said the city’s assistant fire chief, Fred Sanders. The victims were three siblings from the Warner family -- Takeitha, 13, and her brothers JaMarcus, 14, and JaTavious, 17 -- and three brothers from the Stewart family -- Litrelle, 18, LaDairus, 17, and Latevin, 15. Neither the teenagers nor their family members knew how to swim, which proved deadly when the teens tried to save one of the boys, who had slipped and fallen into the deep water. Sadly, drowning is pretty common for African Americans; among black children and teens, drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury-related death. According to a survey commissioned by USA...

In Defense of the Hold.

Riffing off of Sen. John McCain 's hold on director of national intelligence nominee James Clapper , Jonathan Bernstein offers a qualified defense of a somewhat obscure rule that has been the target of progressive ire in these parts and others: Today, Senatus tweeted "McCain spokeswoman says he's released "hold" on Clapper nomination," followed shortly by an Ambinder tweet: "Clapper's free -- McCain releases his hold after his office gets the report on the black budget EO/MASINT satellites." This all strikes me as a pretty reasonable way to conduct business. The president is always going to try to ignore Congress. Congress needs ways to fight back. Using a hold in this way works well. If the White House (or the agency, if that's the target) doesn't want to do what the Senator wants, it has to balance that against the cost of slowing, or even killing, a nomination. The Senate as a whole has an interest in preserving the rights of individual Senators to have this weapon, as long as it's...

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