Mori Dinauer

Mori Dinauer is a former web editorial intern at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

That Sinking Feeling

Late yesterday, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously (with five nations abstaining) to create a no-fly zone in Libya and to use "all necessary measures" to ostensibly protect civilians who might be crushed in backlash against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi . Although the resolution allows for airstrikes and artillery fire, it prohibits the use of an "occupying force" to intervene in the civil war. I am not reassured by any of this. Raise your hand if you remember the Iraq debacle. And indeed, like Iraq, calls for intervention in Libya defy the simple left-and-right divide in domestic politics. Rather, it's between those who believe we have some sort of moral obligation to throw our military might around the world and those who think that maybe, just maybe, bad, unexpected consequences could flow from undefined and open-end military commitments that lack clearly defined goals for victory. It's between conservatives who believe radical socialist Barack Obama would be a fool to...

The American Public: Still Not Ideologically Motivated

Kevin Drum comments on Matt Yglesias ' suggestion that "there’s often a tendency to systematically underrate the extent to which it’s possible to change minds over time" and notes the following of public opinion: But at its core, it's an argument that we should spend more time trying to change public opinion, and when I've talked about this in past I've found that most people (including Matt, I think) aren't really very persuaded, preferring to argue that institutional or demographic or economic forces are really all that matters. And they do matter, of course. But in the end, long-term public opinion is pretty important too, and we liberals ought to pay more attention to it. We've done a good job over the past decades moving public opinion on social issues, but not so good a job on anything else. That really needs to change. Another way of saying this is that if a given "social issue" doesn't affect somebody's pocketbook, opinion on it will become more "liberal" over time. Even...

Romney Has Already Proved He Can Win the Republican Nomination

The greatest question in the political blogosphere right now is whether Mitt Romney is a dead man walking or the inevitable 2012 Republican candidate. I'm joking, but as I've mentioned before , I think this question is answered pretty easily by looking at how he fared in the 2008 primaries. 2012 will likely be a repeat. So, the data. Huckabee , of course, won Iowa in an upset, taking nearly 35 percent of the vote; Romney came in second at 25 percent ( Fred Thompson and John McCain each netted 13 percent). In 2012, it's conceivable that Romney could be bested by Huckabee again, or a similar socially conservative candidate. But Iowa might not matter that much, at least for Republican presidential politics, since neither Huckabee nor Romney went on to win the nomination. The New Hampshire primary saw McCain take 37 percent of the vote, Romney 31, and Huckabee 11. In 2012, a McCain-like candidate could conceivably beat Romney, but recent polling shows Romney with a commanding lead. Of...

Standing Athwart History, Yelling "Ignore the Polls!"

There's nothing new in yesterday's NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll . Spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is strongly supported. So is cutting defense spending and making the rich pay a larger share of tax revenue. Least surprising of all, Americans prefer the federal government do more to combat unemployment than reduce the deficit. Polls like this are an occasion to ask how conservatives confront this inconvenient reality, and the answer is, "not very well." Ignoring the results is one option. But it's far better to dismiss the results because the poll is hopelessly biased . Since the public knows little of the science of polling or statistics, your better hacks can count on having a compelling account to tell. Badly designed polls do, after all, exist. But if conservative opinion leaders and Republicans actually believe the public is on their side, then what would hold them back from pushing through the most radical agenda they can muster? In the past, Republicans...

Lightning Round: Shockingly, Rich People Are a "Special Interest Group" too.

Ezra Klein is right that the significance of the Koch prank call to Scott Walker is that certain interest groups have the governor's ear, any time, all the time. But the issue here is how "special" became a pejorative way of describing what is a dominant feature of our political system. As always, you have to ask yourself what the interest group wants and whether it benefits the powerful or powerless. The upshot of David Leonhardt 's column on the German response to the Great Recession is that policy can be focused on economic growth or it can be focused on unemployment, but "austerity" does nothing to address either. I think it's possible to do a bit of both, as long as you're willing -- gasp! -- to deficit spend, but it's clear the window to enact that sort of policy expired long ago, and the Obama administration is hoping to parlay meager economic growth into a recovery, while wishing all those unemployed people will just quietly fade away. So we're only a month and change into Tea...

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