Mark Schmitt

Mark Schmitt is director of the program on political reform at the New America Foundation and former executive editor of The American Prospect



Recent Articles

The Tax the Rove Donors Refuse to Pay -- But Democrats Do.

As The New York Times reported last month, many of the big political money committees on the Republican side take the form of 501(c)4 nonprofits.  (c)4’s are tax-exempt but contributions to them are not, and they are allowed to engage in lobbying and some political activity, as long as electoral politics is not their “primary activity.” On the left, most c(4)s are the lobbying arms of organizations like the Sierra Club.

The Naivete of a Washington Cynic

There’s a particular tone that many young Washington pundits adopt (having learned it from the masters) that seems counterintuitive and knowing, and yet manages to be predictable and hilariously naive at the same time. Here’s a classic example of it, from Josh Kraushaar, editor of The Hotline, in a regular column whose name, “Against the Grain,” should have been a flashing warning sign of the smart aleck/dimwit combo to follow.

Winning Ugly

The Obama presidency is far from over, but little survives of the original theory behind it.

(Flickr/Liz H.)

In a controversial interview with Newsweek as the 2008 presidential nominating fight heated up, historian Sean Wilentz dismissed Barack Obama with a memorable phrase: "beautiful loserdom." Like failed Democrats of the past, including high-minded reformers such as Adlai Stevenson and Bill Bradley, Obama wouldn't get his hands dirty. "You can't govern without politics," Wilentz warned. Pragmatic engagement and compromise were the only way to get things done.

Some of Us Understood McCain.

Today's big political profile is Todd Purdum's "The Man Who Never Was," in Vanity Fair, in which the intrepid reporter smacks his forehead in astonishment! John McCain, it turns out, might never have been much of a "maverick" after all, but simply a run-of-the-mill Washington operator:

The Case for Mockery

Social-issue extremism is a potent reminder of everything voters hated about Republican rule.

Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

No sooner had Christine O'Donnell made her debut as the newest heroine of the far-right Republican resurgence, (taking the Delaware Senate nomination from the state's moderate GOP icon, Rep. Mike Castle) than the sensible Washington consensus warned against making fun of her social-policy views.