Mori Dinauer

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

Recent Articles

Lightning Round: Republican Vanguard Edition.

It's no wonder conservatives are in love with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- he's the embodiment of conservative Republican leadership. He has total contempt for actual governance and zero compassion for his constituents. Blizzard hit Jersey? Tough s**t -- I'm in Florida with my kids. Second, he has total contempt for public workers. Superintendent contracts are up? Go find a new job. Most important, Christie loves pissing off liberals. That's why he has a film crew follow him around, yelling at people. The guy's the total package! While Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would undoubtedly be the best choice out of an incredibly weak Republican presidential field, I'm turned off by his assertion that defaulting on the national debt would put "the American experiment" in "mortal peril" and would be "more frightening than even the Soviet nuclear threat, which would have been more horrible." Now I've never lived through a nuclear holocaust before, but I recently rewatched The Day After and,...

Lightning Round: Awaiting the Frivolous Votes of the 112th Congress.

Are all politics local? Nate Silver looks at the truism coined by Tip O'Neill and finds trends toward nationalization at the presidential, country, and congressional level. But what does this mean? If the parties are increasingly nationalizing races, does this change the basic calculus that outside of presidential contests (which shouldn't even be considered for this question) politicians need to pay special attention to their constituents? Or does this all hinge on how we interpret Mr. O'Neill's truism? I appreciate the data, of course, but does it tell us anything interesting about contemporary politics? My faith in Barack Obama 's personnel decision-making skills gets shaken when a potential chief of staff says things like this : "They miscalculated on health care. The election of '08 sent a message that after 30 years of center-right governing, we had moved to center left -- not left." So many things wrong with this statement, but if Daley actually believes that the Affordable...

Lightning Round: If Only We Could Rid Our Political System of Politics.

Via Seth Masket , Andrew Sprung has written a sincere attempt to understand what he calls the "joyous cynicism" expressed by some political scientists, singling out Jonathan Bernstein as a prime example of this tendency. As Masket says, political scientists are less interested in advocacy and more interested in knowing how the system works -- the opposite of an activist repulsed by the impurities of politics. The "joyous" bit -- which I think is the wrong way of describing it -- comes from making your peace with the fact that politics will always be with us. Ezra Klein attempts to define the contours of income inequality (with graphs!) and concludes with five observations, one of which is "There's almost no relationship between the fortunes of the richest Americans and average Americans." Of course, one of America's two relevant political parties has made it their signature cause to make sure the wealthy pay as little in taxes as possible, and that regulation be kept to a minimum...

Lightning Round: Political Words and Phrases to Retire in 2010.

As we wrap up the year, I thought it would be worth looking back on some of the terminology that featured prominently in our political discourse -- and perhaps made us recoil in terror. Some of these concepts were flashes in the pan, consuming entire news cycles for no apparent reason. Others were old chestnuts dusted off to be given new meaning by pundits in our dynamic media age. Others were included because it's my list and I want them there. Whatever their origins, we gain little as political observers by continuing to use them, and perhaps we would even have something to gain by retiring them permanently as 2010 closes. Political Words and Phrases to Retire in 2010 Austerity Common-sense/Constitutional Conservative Game Change Going Galt Aqua Buddha Mama Grizzlies Secular Left Condescender-in-Chief Ground Zero Mosque Sacred Cows Death Panels Triangulation Stealth Socialism Teleprompter No Labels Government Takeover Demon Sheep Obamacare Liberal Overreach Sarah Palin Happy New...

Lightning Round: I Think We Can All Agree that this the Twilight of Western Civilization.

Normally, there wouldn't be much to say about Think Progress' compilation of conservatives freaking out about the FCC's enforcement of Net Neutrality rules. What haven't conservatives called a "government takeover" in the past two years? But in this case, it's an especially dense critique, and speaks volumes about the contempt movement conservatives have for the intelligence of their constituents. Anyone who can read plain English can see that "require broadband providers to let subscribers access all legal online content, applications and services over their wired networks" expands access, not contracts it. With his signature on DADT repeal, President Obama now says the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) could be next. "I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options," he says . Allow me to offer a bold legal strategy: What exactly is marriage being "defended" from? Is there a phantom menace that is preventing heterosexuals from marrying one...

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