Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

"A Nation of Cowards."

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that we've seen a steady drumbeat of racial "incidents" over the last week or so. It began when NAACP delegates passed a resolution condemning extremist elements within the Tea Party and calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate the "racist elements" in their movement. The initial reaction was almost completely negative: Dave Weigel -- who reports on the right wing -- called the resolution "a stunt" and the LA Times ' Michael McGough said it was unfair given that it "implies that the extremists/bigots/bombers are a sufficiently significant component of the organization that such a gesture is necessary." Even former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin felt compelled to comment, calling the charge "false, appalling," and "regressive." The controversy died down by the end of the week, but not before Tea Party spokesman Mark Williams resigned after posting a deeply offensive fake letter from the NAACP to Lincoln on his website. This week's controversy...

More on "Acting White."

In a recent Bloggingheads episode , John McWhorter and Richard Thompson Ford spend a few minutes discussing the "acting white" charge as described in Stuart Buck 's book and their respective reviews: I've written on the "acting white" phenomenon before , but it's worth commenting on this exchange, since it sums up my main problem with the discussion about the phenomenon. By and large, this exchange is almost entirely anecdotal; if you set aside personal childhood memories, there simply isn't much broad empirical evidence for the claim that black students in integrated settings have a racialized antipathy toward educational achievement. Even Buck, whose book is the focus of the discussion, leaves room for alternative explanations. From the beginning, he concedes that the evidence for his claim isn't conclusive and that to some degree, he is relying on the "absence of evidence" against it. It's frustrating too that proponents of the "acting white" thesis use anecdotes to assert that the...

Don't Get Cocky.

Expected gains in November have Republicans feeling pretty confident about their position vis-à-vis voters, but if I were a Republican, I'd try to remember that most voters aren't particularly thrilled about my party. According to the most recent data from Public Policy Polling, only 20 percent of voters approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing, while 60 percent disapprove. By contrast, 33 percent of voters approve of congressional Democrats, while 57 percent disapprove. At the risk of sounding really obvious, the midterm elections are less about voter dissatisfaction with Democrats and more about voter dissatisfaction with the economy, which manifests itself as a blind urge to "throw the bums out of office." Of course, should Republicans win the House in November, they will cast themselves as the true champions of the average American. But at the very least, they should privately remember that voters aren't keen on either party and will switch sides the moment it...

Tactical Radicalism.

Jonathan Chait has a great post up about the GOP's tactical radicalism, and what it means for the party's traditional establishment. In short, Republican voters and some activists believe that ideological purity comes at no cost whatsoever, and as such the party can nominate right-wing extremists without suffering any electoral harm. Here's Chait with more: You don't have to love Sue Lowden to understand that a 90% chance of Lowden winning is better than a 20% chance of Sharron Angle winning. Nor is there any recognition on the right that conservatives paved the way for health care reform by driving Specter out. In conservative lore, the Pat Toomey primary challenge remains a glorious triumph, when in fact it's a disaster of historic proportions. In the past, the Republican Party has always managed to hold in check the tactical radicalism of its base. It's starting to run wild. In past elections, I would have totally discounted the possibility that the party might nominate a figure...

Cranking the Obstructionism up to 11.

(flickr/ kainet ) I missed this on Friday, but it's worth mentioning: Crooked Timber's John Quiggin predicts a government shutdown if Republicans win the House of Representatives in November. That is, if today's Republicans are more extreme, more disciplined, and more disdainful of the president than their Gingrich -era forebears, then by Quiggin's lights, there's no reason for them not to shutdown the government. In the conversation that followed, Paul Krugman and Steve Benen agreed with Quiggin's take, while Nicholas Beaudrot and Jonathan Bernstein offered their dissents, arguing that Republicans suffered by shutting down the government in 1995 and aren't itching to repeat the mistake. To Beaudrot particularly, it's more likely that the GOP would stage an "effective shutdown" of the government and "keep the lights on at enough agencies that most people notice the government is still around, just less responsive than it use to." Republicans are smart enough to know that the last...

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