Steven White

Steven White is a former TAP Online intern. He blogs at stevenwhite.typepad.com.

Recent Articles

THE PARANOID STYLE...

THE PARANOID STYLE OF PATRIOTIC POPULISM. Chris Hayes ' new article in The Nation about the mythical NAFTA Superhighway's populist backlash is interesting both for its exploration of the politics of paranoia and the nuanced manner in which Hayes approaches his subject: In his essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," Richard Hofstadter famously sketched the contours of the American tradition of folk conspiracy--a tradition that has, at different times, seen its enemy in Masons, Jesuits, immigrants, Jews and Eastern bankers. There's certainly a strong continuity between that tradition and the populist/nationalist ire that drives the NAFTA highway myth. Hofstadter's original essay was motivated in part by the activities of the John Birch Society, which today is one of the leading purveyors of the highway myth. But there's something more. The myth of the NAFTA Superhighway persists and grows because it taps into deeply felt anxieties about the dizzying dislocations of twenty-first...

GOD, GUNS, AND ABORTION (AND RUDY GIULIANI).

GOD, GUNS, AND ABORTION (AND RUDY GIULIANI). Peter J. Boyer 's examination of Rudy Giuliani 's surprisingly successful bid for conservative voters is a pretty interesting read. It starts off in South Carolina: The lobby opens at either end to the state’s two legislative chambers, which, in March, ratified an amendment to the state constitution that bans not only gay marriage but gay civil unions. That month, the state house of representatives also passed a bill requiring any woman considering abortion to reflect upon an ultrasound image of the fetus. It was here that Rudolph Giuliani, New York’s thrice-married, anti-gun, pro-gay, pro-choice former mayor, found himself one morning in April, in what appeared to be a critical moment in his young campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination. The previous day, during a campaign stop in Florida, he was asked by CNN’s Dana Bash if he supported the public funding of abortions. Giuliani seemed flustered by the question and finally...

THE TWO SIDES OF AMERICAN POPULISM.

THE TWO SIDES OF AMERICAN POPULISM. I think Yuval Levin is mostly correct when he writes , "Populism for most of American history has tended to be very culturally conservative, and indeed the poor (or 'the common folks' to whom populism is generally directed) have tended to be cultural conservatives." This is an interesting starting point for a discussion of contemporary Democratic populism. "Popular struggles," David Peal aptly wrote, "can only be created out of existing cultural materials." Populism's power is derived from the fact that it can be used to challenge dominant social structures by using already-present beliefs and sentiments. Hence, economic populism is a powerful way to address social inequality because it amplifies a preexisting "us" and "them" dichotomy, pushing it to the forefront. Poor workers might already resent their bosses, for example, but are not normally pushed far enough to do anything about it. Minds don't have to be radically changed for populist protest...

TAP: AS BAD...

TAP : AS BAD AS SCOTT BEAUCHAMP. Who, it turned out, wasn't actually so bad. But such trivial details do not hinder bastions of conservative intellect like the National Review's blog from denigrating another liberal source: The American Prospect . In fact. "As the Beauchamp scandal winds down," Michael Rubin writes , "it's important to realize that outright fabrication for the sake of politics is not uncommon." Apparently Mark Goldberg made fun of him in The Prospect a few years ago. Being a tad sensitive, Rubin claims that "his lack of integrity marks any publication for which he writes." Then there's some bit about Robert Dreyfuss and a strange line where he calls TAP "advocacy journalism" in a derogatory tone. Peculiar, since the last I recall, NR doesn't exactly claim objectivity. UPDATE: Goldberg defends himself here . --Steven White

DUKES OF JIHADIST HAZZARD.

DUKES OF JIHADIST HAZZARD. Two Muslim men were pulled over Saturday in South Carolina because they were speeding. News sources report : DeWitt said the men were pulled over Saturday night on U.S. Highway 176 while driving more than 60 mph in a 45-mph zone. When an officer approached the car, he saw one of them men fold a laptop computer, which the officer believed was suspicious, DeWitt said. The officer asked them if he could search the car, which the men agreed to. When he asked if there was anything in the car he should know about, the men said there were fireworks in the trunk. DeWitt declined to say this morning exactly what was found in the trunk. However, the FBI has already said the men are not suspected of orchestrating a terrorist plot. The Tampa chapter of CAIR thinks the materials found were just fireworks, and that the two men were simply on a roadtrip to North Carolina. Of course, this sort of thing is just bait for certain people on the right to go off on full scale...

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