John Judis

John B. Judis, is a senior editor at The New Republic and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is author most recently of The Folly of Empire.

Recent Articles

Below the Beltway: Whistling Past the Trade Deficit

S oon after he was nominated to be Secretary of Commerce, Bill Daley called in several prominent trade experts to brief him. What, he asked them, was the most important thing he should know? Claude Barfield from the American Enterprise Institute was quick to reply, "You should understand that the trade deficit doesn't matter." Barfield's advice appeared to defy common sense. The trade deficit has been climbing steadily since 1991. Last year's total of $114.2 billion (including services as well as goods) is the highest since 1988. The merchandise trade deficit of $187.6 billion is the highest ever. Yet Barfield's opinion is shared by top Clinton administration officials and by most policy experts in Washington—from the Heritage Foundation to the Brookings Institution. To find dissenters, you have to call up smaller outfits like the Economic Policy Institute and the Economic Strategy Institute, or maverick economists like Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services. The dissenters don...

Beyond McPopulism

Can Clinton Put People First?

T he populist movement lasted barely two decades, disappearing by the turn of the last century. Yet the movement's themes have continued to esonate in American politics. Politicians with sharly divergent agendas-- from Jimmy Carter and dRonald Reagan to Jack Kemp and Tom Harkin-- have evoked the legacy of populism. Bill Clinton called his campaign platform "Putting People First" and accepted the Democratic nomination "in the name of all those who do the work, pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules." Once in office, he has continued to sound populist notes, warning that his economic program would take aim at the "privileged elite." Populist themes have persisted over the century because they mesh contemporary political concerns with the historic American dream of yeoman democracy. Populism was the first attempt to pose this Jeffersonian and Jacksonian vision of America against the encroaching reality of corporate, industrial, urban capitalism. As a political movement,...

Razing McCain

In South Carolina, the National Right to Life Committee ran radio ads bludgeoning Arizona Senator John McCain. "If you want a strongly pro-life president," the ads said, "don't support John McCain." But McCain has never voted for abortion and until this election has always been known as a pro-life senator. Why the attack ad? The reason is that McCain has sponsored campaign finance reform, which the National Right to Life Committee adamantly opposes. But instead of criticizing McCain for backing a measure that is popular, even among many Republican voters, the committee has portrayed him as being the patron saint of baby killers. The committee, of course, denies this tactic, but if you look at its Web site and click on its position on campaign finance reform, you won't find articles defending soft money; you'll find criticisms of McCain's position on abortion. Join the conversation! Discuss this article in Political Prospects , part of The American Prospect's Online Forums . In...

It's the EPA and OSHA, Stupid!

T he Bush campaign would like you to think this election is about taxes and character; the Gore campaign is focusing on the dangers of debt and the promise of expanded health insurance; and the various interest groups in Washington are pushing their own favorites--from abortion to gun control. But who wins might not make that much difference in what happens on any of these issues. Where the election could have the biggest impact is in how well the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other federal regulatory agencies charged with making capitalism more humane, livable, and fair do their job. It comes down to this: Under the Democrats, the agencies would be likely to do pretty well, while under the Republicans, they could be crippled. A few regulatory agencies were established during the Progressive Era and New Deal, but most of them were created between 1964 and 1975, and reached the zenith of their power in the...

Two More Years

K arl Rove, George W. Bush's chief campaign strategist, has compared this year's election to that of 1896 and Bush himself to victorious Republican presidential candidate William McKinley. Rove argued that just as McKinley's election created a new political alignment that reflected the industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century, Bush's election in 2000 would create a new political alignment that reflected the new high-tech economy of the twenty-first century. "We're at a unique moment where the governing philosophy and government model that we choose in this election is likely to be the philosophy and model for the next 20 years," Rove said. These were splendid words, but if you look at the tortured results of this year's election, they are very far from the truth. If the vote in Florida holds up, George Bush will have won the presidency. But Vice President Al Gore should have won fairly easily. He didn't because he is a horrific politician, the worst since...

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