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

MAUREEN DOWD DOESN'T...

MAUREEN DOWD DOESN'T WRITE FOR IN STYLE . In light of Maureen Dowd 's latest idiotic " Al Gore is Fat " column, I think Atrios makes an important point . It's not that there's anything wrong with writing about fashion or gossip per se. The problem is when major news organizations (and their would-be internet equivalents ) think fashion writing and gossip constitute political writing . In the 2000 campaign it was the lead reporters and columnists of America's elite newspapers, not just gossip columnists, who were writing about Gore's suits, his sighing, the salaries of (only his female) consultants, and so on. One would think that two terms of George Bush would remind our newspapers that making elections turn on junior-high-school trivia has consequences that are anything but trivial , but given Maureen Dowd's disgraceful ongoing presence on the NYT's op-ed pages sharing her insights about John Edwards 's haircuts, Judith Steinberg 's troubling lack of makeup , and Al Gore's waistline...

PRE-SUFFRAGETTE CITY.

PRE-SUFFRAGETTE CITY. Jill Filipovic points us to this Times article about the new strategy to justify using state coercion to force women to carry pregnancies to term by claiming that women are too irrational to know what's good for them, and offers a modest proposal. I would also urge you to read Reva Siegel and Sarah Blustain (see also here .) Quite simply, these justifications are premised on 19th-century conceptions of women as not being rational agents. And such justifications evidently underpin a great deal of anti-choice discourse and policy ( most obviously seen in the fact that the official Republican position that abortion is murder but women who obtain them should be entirely exempt from legal sanctions.) At least Kennedy was decent enough to give away the show, admitting that these assertions are backed by "no reliable data," leaving us with meaningless claims that some women may regret their decision to obtain abortions in retrospect. (If some women regret getting...

PAGING WILLIAM SALETAN.

PAGING WILLIAM SALETAN. Shockingly enough, the " pro-life case for contraception" continues to fail dismally among actual pro-lifers , as the Missouri legislature (with the strong support of Missouri pro-life, natch) voted down restoring funding for contraception because "it would have amounted to an endorsement of promiscuous lifestyles." Which will mean more unwanted pregnancies and -- as a comparison of abortion rates in the United States with countries that permit both access to abortion and birth control will demonstrate -- more abortions. But what matters is that somebody will be able send a message about how evil the banal sexual behavior of consenting adults that one doesn't approve of is! I often talk about the flagrant inconsistency of American "pro-life" groups. But, in fairness, they are perfectly consistent about one thing: if they have a choice between reducing abortion rates and regulating female sexuality, they'll take the latter, as reliably as Carrot Top is unfunny...

THE INEVITABILITY INCREASING...

THE INEVITABILITY INCREASING LIKELIHOOD OF ROMNEY. Last week, in the wake of Giuliani 's decision to effectively end his candidacy, I speculated about who was going to replace him as the front runner. Given his fundraising and the fact that he would seem to be more appealing to both moderates and conservatives than the other remaining major candidate, Romney seemed to be far and away the favorite. This was particularly true since Romney's recent conversion to reactionary cultural positions was going to look better than Giuliani's outright repudiation of them. The problem with my theory was that his actual popularity among Republican primary voters wasn't strong. Well, that seems to be turning around in the crucial Iowa primary, and my guess continues to be that this trend will continue. I also agree with Matt that this is not necessarily irrational. Primary voters, indeed, are smart not to commit the George Wallace fallacy by trying to figure out what politicians "really think." What...

THE PORKBUSTERS PROBLEM.

THE PORKBUSTERS PROBLEM. Jane Galt brings up a reasonable point with respect to the anti-"Porkbusters" position taken by a cross-ideological set of bloggers ( including me ) last week: But seriously, while this is true on some level, isn't porkbusters still a good idea? There are other reasons to want to cut pork, besides being worried about the budget deficit. Pork may well have a big dragging effect on the economy by the distortions it introduces. And more than that, it's morally distasteful that senators and congressmen spend so much time -- time we pay them for -- trying to grab fistfuls of cash out of the public trough before the other pigs can get at it. The people pushing porkbusters may not succeed in paying for the Iraq war, but surely they're still doing God's work? I would have a few points in response. First, I don't think that Galt really adequately addresses Ramseh Ponnuru 's core point that the porkbuster folks use "enormous amount of political energy in the service of...

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