Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd is a former assistant web editor at the Prospect

Recent Articles


It's hard for me to believe that McCain couldn't have made a better pick than Palin after watching this projectile nonsense (see Ezra for a fuller analysis ): Bobby Jindal might not have generated quite as big an initial bump as Palin, for example, but he certainly would have generated public interest and pleased the base just as much as Palin -- plus he's capable of speaking in complete sentences. --Sam Boyd

Channel Changer

For years, liberals thought they could catch up in media by
playing by conservatives' rules. Rachel Maddow's success proves
it's better to just change the game.

"I think I have a fear in general about whether being a pundit is a worthwhile thing to be," Rachel Maddow tells me over dinner at a Latin restaurant in lower Manhattan. It's more than the ordinary self-deprecation of someone who just got her own cable commentary show. It's an insecurity essential to the on-air style that's powered the 35-year-old's rapid rise from a wacky morning radio show in western Massachusetts to the liberal radio network Air America and now to her own prime-time show on MSNBC. Maddow is not a Tim Russert or a Chris Matthews--an ostensibly nonpartisan interviewer who badgers politicians and policy-makers about contradictions in their records. Nor is she a Rush Limbaugh or a Glenn Beck--an attack dog who deals in calculated anger, bluster, and outrage. She's no mild-mannered liberal like Alan Colmes or a veteran observer like Wolf Blitzer or David Gregory. Maddow has broken the broadcasting mold. She has succeeded as an avowed liberal on television precisely...


Reading all the reactions to Sarah Palin 's speech, two things stand out for me. First, the McCain campaign seems to have decided that the way to salvage Palin as a VP pick is to turn her into a pure base-energizing attack dog. By having her give a speech so thoroughly devoted to vicious attacks on Obama , the campaign has tacitly admitted its attempt to woo Clinton voters with Palin has failed (the references to Clinton and eighteen million cracks in the glass ceiling that were prominent in her speech last Friday were totally absent last night). That, pretty much alone, means Palin will go down in history as a mistake by McCain -- plenty of other people could have played the right-wing attack-dog much better, and with much less embarrassment for McCain. Second, I don't think this relentless negativity will ultimately prove very helpful, because, as Noam Scheiber pointed out last night, the GOP still hasn't settled on a criticism of Obama. A month ago it seemed like they'd decided to...


Brad Plumer has more on the fact that Palin is pretty much lying when she says she opposed the bridge to nowhere: So she was very much for the bridge and seemed to be saying that Alaska had to act quickly -- Ted Stevens and Don Young might not be in the majority much longer to secure pork for the state. By that point, though, the bridge was endangered for reasons that had nothing to do with Palin -- it had become a national laughingstock, Congress had stripped away the offending earmark, and future federal funding seemed unlikely. Now, true, after Palin was sworn into office that fall, her first state budget didn't contain any money for the bridge. But when the Daily News asked on December 16, 2006, if she now opposed the project, Palin demurred and said she was simply trying to figure out where the project fit on the state's list of priorities, given the lack of federal support. Finally, on September 19, 2007, she redirected funds away from the bridge with this sorry-sounding...


Chris Hayes has a great find : Very quickly. Remember when Pat Buchanan ran a number of hard-right, fringe campaigns for president in the late 1980s, 1990s and 2000? Well, guess who was supporting him: From an AP report in 1999: "Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan's strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward , R-Anchorage." Keep in mind, Buchanan ran a third-party campaign attack the Republican party (mostly) from the right : Buchanan proposed U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations and expelling the U.N. out of New York, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Housing and...