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

NOT WORTH THE...

NOT WORTH THE PAPER THEY'RE NOT PRINTED ON, BUT... While I take Addie 's (and Bob Somerby 's) point about predicting election outcomes, I can't resist saying something. I'm actually inclined to stick with Dems +5 for the Senate, which seemed pessimistic last week but now seems a little optimistic. Although Sam seems to buy the claims about Steele that are also popular at the otherwise gloomy (from their perspective) Weekly Standard , I don't see it, partly owing to my political scientist's belief that the effects of campaigning are overrated. Well, looking at the marginal seats (and I think PA and OH are certain Dem pickups, of course), I'd group them like this: Confident about Democratic chances: MD, NJ, RI Tentatively think Dems will win: MO, MT Tentatively think Dems will lose: VA Dems Deader than The Santa Clause 3 's Oscar chances: TN Hmm. well, I guess that's not fully optimistic. On the one hand, I think that +5 is the most likely scenario. On the other hand, +2 or +3 is a lot...

FRAUDULENT ROBO-CALLS V....

FRAUDULENT ROBO-CALLS V. DEMOCRACY : Hilzoy has more on the Republicans investing $2 million in fraudulent, harassing robocalls intended to suppress Democratic turnout, which Josh Marshall has been doing terrific work on. What deserves emphasis here is that this isn't rogue local campaigns, or over-enthusiastic volunteers -- most of them are apparently part of a national, co-ordinated effort funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee . As Hilzoy says: The people who do this are antidemocratic. They don't believe in making their case and letting the voters decide. They don't care about democracy, or citizens' right to choose the candidate who best reflects their views, or fair play or honesty or decency or moral values. They care about power, and they will undermine our democracy before they let the voters pry the reins of power out of their claws. Indeed. And if this doesn't work, there's always racism to fall back on . --Scott Lemieux

AND DON'T FORGET...

AND DON'T FORGET -- HE'S A LIBERTARIAN TOO! Shorter Verbatim Peggy Noonan : Most of [Rick Santorum's] own impulses -- protect the unprotected, help the helpless, respect the common man -- have not been conservative in the way conservative is roughly understood, or portrayed, in the national imagination. If this were the JFK era, his politics would not be called "right wing" but "progressive." He is, at heart, a Catholic social reformer. Bobby Kennedy would have loved him. Call me historically ignorant, but I don't recall reading about Bobby Kennedy 's plan to privatize Social Security . I think that the magic dolphins might actually be writing her columns at this point. It does say something encouraging that the new strategy for propping up the campaign of one of the staunchest conservative ideologues in the Senate is to deny that he's a conservative at all. -- Scott Lemieux

"TORT REFORM" ARGUMENTS -- ARE THEY EVER RIGHT?

"TORT REFORM" ARGUMENTS -- ARE THEY EVER RIGHT? Brother Ezra had a Slate piece this summer about the many empirical problems with the argument that capping medical malpractice suits would be a major source of cost reduction for the American medical system. (As Ezra points out, the overwhleming evidence against the idea that runaway malpractice awards drives up health care costs is amassed clearly and devastatingly in Tom Baker 's terrific book , The Medical Malpractice Myth .) Another "fact" often used by proponents of tort reform was that doctors were allegedly fleeing states like Texas because of its "out-of-control" tort system. So after Texas passed a bill in 2003 dramatically limiting the rights of Texans injured by doctors to sue, doctors must have started flooding back into the state, right? Er, not so much . In fact, "growth rates for the post-reform years were below the Texas norm ... From 1990-2002, the number of physicians practicing in the state grew at an average rate of...

MISS AMERICA COMPASSION.

MISS AMERICA COMPASSION. Jennifer Roback Morse 's claim that voting for Rick Santorum -- conceivably the least libertarian major national elected official in the country -- is the only responsible choice for libertarians to make is, above all else, pure comedy gold. But her attempt to claim the libertarian mantle for Santorum based on his support for tax cuts and ... er, tax cuts actually provides a useful illustration of why his efforts to build a genuine "compassionate conservatism" are a non-starter. I don't say this because I think that Santorum's desire to help the poor is insincere -- and, certainly, better some concern for the poor than a Catholic conservatism that begins and ends with a desire to criminalize abortion and deny equal rights to gay people. The real problem is that it's fundamentally incoherent to vote to increase funding for the poor -- especially the non-American poor -- while simultaneously voting to gut government revenues, since during periods of fiscal...

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