Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Obama's Long Game

President Obama is in Texas today to give a speech laying out his plans on immigration policy. His visit is primarily interpreted as part of a grander outreach to Latinos before his re-election campaign, but there are indications that he may want to put the Lone Star State into play for 2012. The Dallas Morning News quotes one Texas representative whom Obama told, "'You better believe I'm not going to write off Texas. We're going to compete.'"The Morning News quickly counters that statement with a local Republican strategist spouting the conventional wisdom that it is a worthless effort on Obama’s part, as no Democrat has carried the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Could a Democrat realistically grab Texas’ electoral votes? Maybe someday, but 2012 is certainly not that year. When Obama easily swept the general election in 2008, he still lost Texas to John McCain by 11 percent. Texas Republicans crushed their Democratic opponents in 2010, with Gov. Rick Perry defeating his opponent...

Gingrich Gears Up for Pointless Campaign

Newt Gingrich is set to launch an official 2012 campaign for the presidency. He’ll be the first major contender with an official campaign; the other candidates have generally setup exploratory committees rather than full-bore presidential bids. Because of his strong name recognition from his stint as speaker of the House in the ‘90s, news organizations tend to group Gingrich among the leading contenders. But polls consistently show him trailing other top-tier candidates ( Donald Trump averages more than twice Gingrich’s support), and he only outperforms newcomers like Michele Bachmann or Mitch Daniels by a few percentage points. Voters may recognize Gingrich's face, but they generally don't like what they see. His past is a litany of mistakes and scandals, ranging from his disgraced exit from Congress to his frequent infidelities (being a champion of family values didn't stop Gingrich from leaving his wife on her death bed). He appeals to neither dominant wing of the modern Republican...

The Roundabout Strategy to Weaken Consumer Protections

Stories covering Senate gridlock border on the redundant by this point, but Republican senators are once again arbitrarily posturing against President Obama ’s nominees. The Washington Post reports that 44 Republicans sent the president a letter pledging to block whomever Obama nominates to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). At the same time, 19 Republican senators vowed to oppose Obama's nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after the panel issued a ruling against Boeing. When Democrats threatened to rewrite the Senate's rules at the start of the current session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached an accord to begin limiting the extent of filibusters against presidential nominees. While the two sides are still on track to the half of that agreement that will reduce the total number of executive jobs that require Senate approval, the latest Republican maneuvering indicates that they are not yet...

Same-Sex Marriage on Conservatives' 2012 Agenda

During the 2004 election, the GOP pushed anti-same-sex marriage amendments onto the ballot across the country to turnout their base voters for George W. Bush ’s re-election campaign. LGBTQ civil rights may once again be at stake in the 2012 election season if a series of connected state-level conservative organizations have their way. At The Minnesota Independent Andy Birkey details an extensive effort underway called "Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation," which seeks to fund ballot initiatives against same-sex marriage in 15 different states next year. Family policy councils — a creation of Focus on the Family in the 1980s — have launched the Ignite plan in 15 states. Each family policy council has a three-prong plan to achieve their legislative goals over the next two years: lobbying for legislation, mobilizing pastors and social conservatives and supporting candidates that have backed their initiatives. Each group has used a stock brochure containing nearly identical wording...

Time to Ignore Trump

At the risk of adding to the overabundance of coverage devoted to a fringe candidate, it looks like Donald Trump 's joke of a campaign is finally dead in the water. Two polls out today show that the reality TV star has lost his support among New Hampshire Republican voters. In the last poll of the state conducted at the beginning of April, Trump drew 21 percent support. Today, he only gets 8 percent and 11 percent in two different polls. The fact that Trump's possible candidacy appears to have fallen as quickly as it initially rose shouldn't be surprising. It was always a form of theater effective at drawing attention without any actual political heft behind it. After President Obama laid birther conspiracies to rest and Trump became the butt of every joke at the White House Correspondents' Dinner this weekend, there was no other substance to anchor Trump's campaign. So once the news cycle moves away from 24/7 coverage of Osama bin Laden 's death, can we all agree it is finally time...

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