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

K Street Gore

One important way to judge what a presidential candidate might do if elected is to look at his record while in office—his publicly announced positions and his skill in commanding loyalty, wielding authority, and winning public support. But it is also important to look at the networks of campaign contributors, lobbyists, political organizations, and policy groups that have surrounded him over the years and that might have some claim on his loyalty. Does anyone imagine, for instance, that if Texas Governor George W. Bush were elected president, he would ignore Ken Duberstein and the Duberstein Group, Frank Carlucci, James Baker, and Richard Darman of the Carlyle Group, Dick Cheney of Haliburton Oil, retired General Colin Powell, and the other former Bush administration officials turned lobbyists, CEOs, and investment bankers? What about Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic front-runner for 2000? Gore has many of the same connections that Bill Clinton did—to the Democratic Leadership...

Below the Beltway: New Labor, New Democrats -- New Alliance?

Washington, D.C. On April 27, Al From, the president of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), and Will Marshall, the president of the DLC's Progressive Policy Institute, had lunch with John Swee ney, the president, and Steve Rosenthal, the political director, of the AFL-CIO. These four people had met but had never talked amicably or seriously together before. Since that luncheon, there have been further discussions on the phone, and From and Marshall have met with the leaders of the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association. When I talked to Marshall in June, he was on his way to Montreal to speak at the executive committee of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Nothing may come of these discussions and meetings. They may be comparable to the interlude between the Napoleonic Wars. But they do represent a significant shift in the DLC's politics that could have positive repercussions in the Democratic Party. Since the DLC's founding in 1985, the...

The Real McCain

There is another side to John McCain. (And no, it's not the volcanically unstable side alleged by GOP whispering campaigns.) Although best known for his heroism as a POW in North Vietnam and for his forthright stands on foreign and military policy—and rightly celebrated for backing campaign finance reform and anti-tobacco legislation—since December 1996, McCain has also been chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The committee is an important one, overseeing, among other things, telecommunications; television and radio; the Internet; aviation; railroad and highway transportation; manufacturing and competitiveness; and science, technology, and space. And on Commerce Committee legislative matters, McCain has not always shown the courage and insight he has demonstrated in standing up to big tobacco and opposing GOP isolationism. In fact, in his role as chairman, he has revealed an economic conservatism as doctrinaire and...

Are We All Progressives Now?

o ver the past decade, politicians and pundits have increasingly sought authority for their actions and ideas in the Progressive Era. After Newt Gingrich became speaker in November 1994, he compared himself to William McKinley's campaign manager Mark Hanna and declared that a new progressive era was at hand. The Hudson Institute, known for founder Herman Kahn's claims of prophecy, put out an anthology, The New Promise of American Life , edited by Lamar Alexander, based on the premise that the old progressive era in Progressive Era in American politics that Herbert Croly had helped inspire in his book The Promise of American Life was about to give way to a new one. In 1996 the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) produced a manifesto entitled "The New Progressive Declaration," whose premise was that the new "information age" called forth a response as ambitious as that by the progressives to industrialization. In Between Hope and History , President Clinton...

Indefensible

This fall, Bill Clinton threatened to veto tax cuts, an abortion ban, environmental riders, cuts in foreign aid, education funding directed at the states rather than directly at schools, and reductions in a community policing measure. But when the $288.8 billion defense appropriations bill—representing the largest increase in military spending since the first Reagan budget in 1981—came across his desk, Clinton signed it without a whisper of criticism. According to Chris Hellman of the Center for Defense Information, if Congress continues to fund the programs included in this budget, the United States will be spending more on the military by 2005 than it spent in an average year during the Cold War. And it will be doing so without any compelling public justification. Past increases in 1950, 1961, and 1981 were justified by claims of an increased Soviet threat, but the United States does not face a comparable adversary today. Even before the current budget increase, the American...

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