Mori Dinauer

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

Recent Articles

Lightning Round: Predictably Political.

Yesterday, David Weigel noted that compared to four years ago, no one has so much as launched a presidential exploratory committee, but as of today Herman Cain has thrown his hat in the ring. Who's Herman Cain? Read Weigel's follow-up for that. Jonathan Bernstein explores the reasons why there's such a slow start for the 2012 race, but it seems pretty clear that there is no advantage in jumping in now. Long shots, like Cain, need to establish name recognition, I suppose. For what it's worth, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said raising the debt ceiling "will be done," which I think is a pretty clear indication that any Republican bluster on this issue is, well, bluster. Moreover, having a debt ceiling is extraordinarily bad policy. As Felix Salmon says , "The existence of the debt ceiling can cause lots of harm, while it does no good whatsoever." Unless giving members of Congress another issue to act "principled" on is good. According to Sen. James Webb , Obama erred...

Lightning Round: Revolving Doors.

It looks as though an emerging conservative narrative coming out of Saturday's violence is that once again , a Democratic president will knowingly exploit the event to blame the conservative media for inciting violence. Or in the words of the ever classy Rush Limbaugh , "What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country." Perhaps I just don't get Mr. Limbaugh's sparkling and sarcastic wit here, but as others are discovering , it seems pointless to even engage this topic anymore. This brief item on former Sens. Byron Dorgan and Bob Bennett getting into the lobbying game mere days after leaving office is a good example of the nebulous nature of this "lobbying" business. We learn that Arent Fox, LLC, the lobbying firm, covers "a range of clients" and Mr. Dorgan's and Mr. Bennett's experience in "key policy areas including taxes, energy, financial services and trade" are quite valuable. Questions: Is it safe to assume that all former...

Lightning Round: Reflection, Not Reaction.

Nothing in our politics is responsible for Saturday's horror. But it was inevitable that a discussion about the tone of our politics would ensue. It was a problem before Saturday, and it remains a problem now. Here's a quote from a Tea Party leader, defending his members' revolutionary language: "When we talk about Barack Obama , we've got to be clear, it's not personal. When we say he's destroying this country, we are not saying he's doing it out malicious intent and a desire to cripple us. He has good intentions and he's wrong. I worry when that gets lost." One does not blunder into destroying the country. It absolutely implies intent. And to suggest otherwise is irresponsible, which I think is nature of the liberal critique of this type of rhetoric. On the policy side of the equation, the only thing we should be discussing are reasonable limitations on the availability of weapons designed to kill other human beings, and whether or not mental health is being adequately addressed in...

Lightning Round: The Party of Epistemological Relativism.

Democrats certainly lack the message discipline Republicans have, but it wouldn't hurt to remind everyone that Republicans do not care about the deficit . They rely on gimmicks to falsely claim the ACA explodes the deficit. They are repeatedly on record voting for policy that increases the deficit. They ignore CBO scores that disprove their nonsensical theories of economics. Despite all this, a myth persists concerning "fiscally responsible" Republicans. It would be nice if, you know, this easily falsifiable myth was debunked in the public square. According to Nick Gillespie , the "only reason" for the new Republican majority is "public revulsion at outta-control federal spending," which he also attributes to the changing of the guard in 2006. I get that it must be frustrating and lonely to know your political ideas, in toto , have approximately zero traction in our politics, but pretending there's this silent majority out there that supports it borders on the delusional. The public...

Lightning Round: Civics Lessons Unlearned.

That conservatives, and the conservative Republicans they helped elect, would read aloud a sanitized Constitution that Huck Finns or edits out the embarrassing stuff about human beings owning other human beings speaks volumes about the cowardice at the heart of "American Greatness/Exceptionalism" that animates American conservatism. How fragile do you have to be to be unable to countenance the idea that the country you live in is not, was not, perfect? I'm skeptical of the efficacy of the "messaging machine" being concocted by the Democratic congressional leadership -- Robert Menendez actually calls it "proactive," for chrissake -- which would "identify hot-button issues early, frame them in a favorable light for the party and allow Democratic senators to relentlessly drive home the point through press briefings, conference calls, newspaper op-eds and local interviews." It won't have the influence of the right-wing noise machine and will have even less electoral impact. Naturally,...

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