Scott Lemieux

Scott Lemieux is an assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose. He contributes to the blogs Lawyers, Guns, and Money and Vox Pop.

Recent Articles


MORE ON THE OBEY COMPROMISE. Lindsay Beyerstein has some follow-up reporting on the compromise that increased funding for "abstinence-only" recently discussed by Ann : Even opponents of abstinence-only education might concede that a few extra million for abstinence education is a small price to pay for easing the passage of a very important domestic spending bill that contains a lot of spending that's important to Democrats. Yet, principle is at stake here. Few people realize that the CBAE program promulgates out-and-out quackery and barely disguised religious dogma. These programs don't just encourage students to remain abstinent as teenagers. By law, they are required to teach "a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity," among many other stipulations. In other words, the program must teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage, even between consenting adults, violates some nebulous "expected standard."...


AGAINST AUTHENTICITY. I was busy Monday and forgot to mention Krugman 's great column . Bob Somerby summarizes for the non-Select: "Authenticity" became the press corps' favorite buzz-word in 1999, along with its silly handmaiden, "comfortable in his own skin." And let's state the obvious: When the press corps adopted such subjective markers as key standards of measure, they were giving themselves the right to tell whatever story they choose. It's perfectly easy to shape a narrative in which any candidate is most "authentic." As long as our standards of measure are so subjective, there's no real process of assessment being conducted at all. Right. And assertions of "authenticity" are not only feeble tautologies that are worthless as criteria of value . As Krugman points out, this focus -- with the focus on the haircuts of John Edwards being the most recent example -- on balance cuts strongly against progressive politics. Although there's no reason that a wealthy person can't advocate...


JUSTICE DANGLED AND WITHDRAWN. Radley Balko noted yesterday that Genarlow Wilson -- who was convicted to a ten-year prison sentence for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old when he was 17 -- had his sentence reduced to less than time already served yesterday by Judge Robert H. Wilson (no relation). However, he unconscionably remains in prison because the state -- rather than taking the long overdue hint to do the right thing -- has appealed Wilson's ruling. This case has been a major prosecutorial, legislative, and now executive failure, and hopefully the appeal will be rejected and Wilson finally freed from his unjust and arbitrary sentence. --Scott Lemieux


POLITICS OF RESENTMENT: EDWARDS CONSULTANT DIVISION. Several people have already commented about the self-immolation of Mudcat Saunders ' poor-poor-pitiful-rural-Democrats shtick at Swampland . Obviously, substantive engagement with someone who declares that "I don't care what the "Metropolitan Wing" of my party thinks. I don't like them," while in the same paragraph claiming that the Strawman Resentment Built is guilty of "erroneous stereotyping of my people and culture" is impossible. So, instead, I thought I would summarize the content of his posts in quantitative terms: Number of serious policy proposals: 0 Examples of substantive disagreements between the crude stereotype wings of the party adduced by Saunders: 0 Citations of actual Democrats who express contempt for their rural allies: 0 Citations of urban, online Democrats who disagree with his earth-shattering claims that we need to "fight Republicans": 0 Actual content of the posts once the blubbering self-pity, crude attacks...


THE DEMOCRACY/SECURITY CONFLATION. Beyond the obvious , what's puzzling about Ken Baer 's attack on Ezra is this claim: "[s]ome even go so far as to excuse the Iranian regime, the better to deny the very existence of a threat." Even leaving aside Baer's hackish misrepresentation of Ezra's position, he's conflating two very different questions. First of all, the Iranian regime is obviously illiberal but not as repressive as many other regimes (say, Saudi Arabia) that one apparently doesn't have to support bombing in order to meet the Ken Baer Test of Seriousness. And secondly, does Baer seriously believe that a genuinely democratic Iran would be less of a threat to Israel? And if so, on what evidence? The fact that democratic regimes in which citizens have generally liberal values generally don't pose a security threat doesn't mean that this will be true of democracies in which the population isn't particularly liberal and is generally even more hostile to the U.S. and Israel than...