John Judis

John B. Judis is an editor at large at Talking Points Memo and the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.

Recent Articles

Why Iraq?

When a country goes to war, one question that already should have been answered is "why?" But many people in the United States, Europe and elsewhere are genuinely perplexed about why the Bush administration is so determined, even at the cost of war, to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. In their public statements, administration officials have, if anything, increased the puzzlement. They have portrayed their campaign against Iraq as a continuation of the war against terrorism. They have claimed to have evidence of close ties between Hussein and al-Qaeda, but outside of a few scattered citations, they have failed to make a case that Hussein is an active ally of Osama bin Laden. By offering an implausible rationale, the administration raises suspicion, particularly outside the United States, that it must have a secret agenda for ousting Hussein. Many people think that President George W. Bush wants to control Iraq's oil fields on behalf of U.S. companies. In mid-January, the German...

Some Mideast Realism, Please

A s George Kennan observed 50 years ago in American Diplomacy , American foreign policy has been periodically affected by bouts of evangelical idealism, which date from the country's Puritan founding and which have led Americans to seek to transform the world in our image -- and to demonize any country or regime that stands in the way. Since September 11, a group of Washington neoconservatives, some of whom serve under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, have attempted to define America's objectives in the Middle East and the war against terrorism in these evangelical terms. Arrayed against them have been Secretary of State Colin Powell and his principal ally and mentor, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. While Powell has eschewed major statements of strategy, Scowcroft has voiced their common outlook in a Wall Street Journal column this August and in a Washington Post column in November. Scowcroft, a student of the late Columbia University political scientist Hans...

King Coal

S ince taking office, George W. Bush has aggressively rolled back environmental regulations and initiatives. What he hasn't achieved by changing the rules he has done by reducing the staff devoted to enforcing them. According to a study by AIR Daily , the number of air-quality inspectors fell by 12 percent this year, and the number of inspections fell by 34 percent from the administration's first year. Bush's animus toward environmental legislation is personal and ideological, but it is also integral to his 2004 re-election strategy. As is well known, Bush and the Republicans have been generously funded by business foes of regulation. According to a Public Campaign and Earthjustice report, mining, timber, oil and chemical industries have contributed more than $44 million to Bush and the Republican National Committee (RNC) in the last three years. Less well-known is that Bush's opposition to regulation is part of an electoral strategy designed to win the votes of coal, timber and oil-...

One Cheer for Schröder

F or anyone critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy, there seemed much to cheer about in German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's re-election last month. Schröder, after all, had made opposition to U.S. war plans in Iraq the centerpiece of his party's campaign. To a liberal or a progressive, there also appeared to be grounds for optimism in the Social Democratic Party's (SPD) and the Green Party's victory over their conservative rivals, particularly in the wake of social democratic defeats in Denmark, France and Holland. But appearances can deceive. Schröder won his victory by using foreign policy to distract German voters from their concerns about 10 percent unemployment and almost a decade of economic stagnation. Schröder didn't come to or depart from the election with a credible program for reviving the German economy. And while questions of war and peace are significant, Schröder's criticism of American policy was made opportunistically -- not with an eye toward actually...

War Resisters

R epublican candidates are beating the war drums just as support for invading Iraq is dissipating. Whereas a Gallup Poll last November revealed 74 percent in favor of a ground invasion of Iraq and 20 percent opposed, this August the percentage of those in favor plummeted to 53, with 41 percent opposed -- roughly the same margin that existed before September 11. Moreover, the profile of those who favor war versus those who oppose it increasingly resembles the electoral breakdown of the mid-1990s. The opponents are disproportionately women, minorities, senior citizens, the college-educated and residents of the Northeast, Midwest and Far West. The administration's core supporters are rural, white, male, southern Republicans without a college diploma. That's not a good recipe for building a national consensus and may not help the Republicans in November. Here, based on materials specially provided by polling organizations, is a rundown of who is opposing and who is supporting the...

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