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

THE IDIOTIC SEASON.

THE IDIOTIC SEASON. Eric Boehlert has an excellent (if depressing) rundown of the thoroughly phony Pelosi plane non-scandal . As recently as Sunday -- although the House Speaker-At-Arms had released a statement saying she didn't request the plane on Thursday, and even the White House had dismissed it as a "silly" non-story -- Glenn Reynolds appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources and not only falsely claimed that Pelosi had "requested" a larger plane but added the made-up-from-whole-cloth embellishment that "her staff said she wanted to have room for an 'entourage,' which was perhaps an unfortunate choice of word." (Were it not for the unfortunate death of Anna Nicole Smith , it's frightening to think of the traction this smear job would have received.) What's particularly useful about the Boehlert piece is that he notes carefully how this fake scandal fits into pre-existing Republican smear narratives: "Journalists adore the Democrats-are-hypocrites narrative so much that they often...

CLINTON AND HER ENEMIES

CLINTON AND HER ENEMIES . I was going to post a substantial reply to Garance 's post below , but Yglesias largely beat me to it , noting that "Clinton, like her husband, is both hated by the right and treated unfairly by the press and not a very liberal politician, coming from the party's more centrist wing and flanked by advisors from the same." I agree with Garance that Clinton is going to be subject to some awful smears and puerile, personality-driven (and sexist) press coverage, and liberals -- whether they support Clinton or not -- have a responsibility to point this out, rather than falling asleep at the switch as in Campiagn 2000. On the other hand, I don't think that this should obscure the very real issues with Clinton's candidacy. In particular, I think any consideration of Clinton has to start with the facts that 1) Iraq will be the central issue of the 2008 campaign, 2) Questions of war with Iran with be central policy and political question as well, 3) Clinton made a...

PORTUGAL: LAW MATCHES REALITY.

PORTUGAL: LAW MATCHES REALITY. Good news for reproductive freedom today, as a referendum liberalizing abortion has passed in Portugal . Although the turnout didn't meet the quorum -- making it non-binding -- President Jose Socrates has pledged to change the policy. It's not a radical change -- it only permits fully legal abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy -- but it's an important first step. Elaine Sciolino had an excellent article explaining the background this weekend, and which serves as another reminder of how abortion policy actually works on the ground. While American "pro-lifers" are generally unwilling to advocate legislation that is even minimally consistent with their professed values, on paper Portugal has a less obviously un-serious and unprincipled criminalization regime. Not only medical professionals, but women obtaining abortions and those who help them are subject to legal sanctions, as is the only defensible arrangement. But, in practice, only medical...

THERE, THERE, DON'T WORRY YOUR PRETTY LITTLE HEAD ABOUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM.

THERE, THERE, DON'T WORRY YOUR PRETTY LITTLE HEAD ABOUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM. Sara Anderson brings our attention to another innovation in the irrational abortion regulation obstacle course , this one from the Idaho legislature: A North Idaho lawmaker wants to make it a crime to attempt to coerce a woman or girl into having an abortion, according to S-R reporter Parker Howell, who covered the House Health & Welfare Committee meeting today where the bill was introduced. Rep. Bob Nonini , R-Coeur d�Alene, persuaded the committee to introduce his bill to outlaw the use of threats or physical force to dissuade a pregnant woman from giving birth. The measure also prohibits threatening to do �anything that the person does not have the legal right to do against the pregnant woman.� That could include employers threatening to withhold a job or promotion or �a school counselor maybe describing to a young person that by having this baby you have no future, those kinds of acts,� Nonini...

SMALL STAKES ENSURE THE MINIMUM CREDIBILITY.

SMALL STAKES ENSURE THE MINIMUM CREDIBILITY. Garance makes a very important point below . When evaluating assertions of great importance, it's always useful to see whether people talking hysterically actually act in ways consistent with their rhetoric. I've said many times that I've never found the ethical question of abortion particularly troubling, for a central reason: I won't take the "pro-life" moral position seriously until its supporters do. The anti-choice lobby uses lots of language that suggests a moral issue with stakes large enough to override a woman's fundamental rights -- "life," "killing babies," etc. -- but given that most American pro-lifers (among many other inconsistencies) think women should face fewer legal sanctions for obtaining an abortion than for spitting on the sidewalk, there's no reason to take their moral claims seriously. (And given that abortion laws on the books were essentially unenforceable against doctors who stuck to performing abortions on the...

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