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


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JUSTICE DANGLED AND WITHDRAWN.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...


THE TRAP. As a follow-up to J. 's post below , I actually have a certain grudging respect for the position expressed by Brownback . The rape and incest exemptions favored by many anti-choicers give away the show; they make it clear that what's doing the work is not the moral status of the fetus but the moral status of the sexual behavior of the woman . Although Brownback is wrong, I think that his position is actually more coherent and defensible than the marginally more "moderate" one. From a strategic perspective, I would abjure the "Rapists' Fatherhood Rights" label not so much because it's inflammatory -- anti-choicers dish it out , they can take it -- but because it's a trap. The obvious response to this objection is to "compromise" by supporting rape and incest exemptions. The gain to pro-choicers here is negligible; in practice, states determined to prevent (some classes) of women from obtaining abortions can create procedural hurdles that make them essentially worthless, and...