Terence Samuel

Terence Samuel is a Prospect senior correspondent and the author of The Upper House: A Journey behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, published in May by Palgrave Macmillan. Follow him on Twitter.

Recent Articles

Dodd and the Democrats' Countrywide Problem

The news that Sen. Dodd received a preferential mortgage deal comes right as the Senate gears up to debate a new bill that would bring relief to borrowers.

This week the Senate will continue debating a housing bill intended to bring some relief to the millions of American homeowners facing foreclosure because of the credit crisis that has become the hood ornament on a U.S. economy headed south. More than 1.5 million people have already lost their homes and there are more than 8,000 new foreclosure filings every day. This July, when rates reset on millions of adjustable-rate mortgages, the pain is only going to go deeper and spread wider. “Almost one in every eleven homes in our nation with a mortgage in this country is in default or foreclosure at the end of March. That's the highest level since the Mortgage Bankers Association began tracking the foreclosures in 1979,” Sen. Chris Dodd said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “By almost any measure, by any measure, Americans are struggling more and more than any point in recent memory.” True enough, but even as they work on providing homeowner relief, Democrats need to very quickly address...

Bush's Misplaced Regrets

George Bush says he regrets that his rhetoric did not make him sound like a "man of peace." But his actions, not his rhetoric are what destroyed his party and his legacy.

George W. Bush has been running around Europe misting up and emoting about how much he regrets talking and acting like the warmonger he's proven to be. "I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric," he told The Times of London . Well, yes; he could have. But tone-deafness has been a defining characteristic of this administration from its inception. Remember that Bush campaigned in 2000 on a promise to "change the tone in Washington," only to keep his promise by making the tone worse. Bush has clearly turned his attention to burnishing his legacy, but it seems a little ridiculous to be apologizing at this late stage for the least of his offenses, when the large ones are so monumental. Just so we're clear, the most regrettable elements of the Bush years have nothing to do with what the president said or how he said it. Rather, it was all the ridiculously ill-considered, foolish, and fundamentally wrong things that he did. For example, starting an...

The Spectre of '68

The last candidate to lead a seemingly unstoppable movement for racial and economic justice was Bobby Kennedy. Obama has the potential to carry on Kennedy's legacy and build a progressive majority.

The closer Barack Obama gets to the White House, the more some people worry that some crazy is going to take a shot at him. Two weeks ago, when Hillary Clinton invoked the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy as evidence that she was not indecently prolonging the Democratic primary season, the furor that erupted was wildly disproportionate, because whatever Clinton's many sins, she was not in any sense suggesting that she was waiting for Obama to get shot so she could win the nomination. But part of what she tapped into to was the fear, dread really, that the turbulence of 1968 may find an echo the 2008 campaign with equally deadly results; the Obama candidacy seems an odd reflection of the turbulent events of that time. He is both the embodiment of Martin Luther King's Dream and a latter-day incarnation of Bobby Kennedy's inspirational call for hope and change. But as Clinton found out, just the mention of assassination in the closes proximity on Obama's name set off alarms, in...

Harry Reid's High Hopes

Harry Reid is not an optimistic man, but even he predicts big gains for Democrats in 2008. Even voters in the reddest of red states want to punish Republicans.

Harry Reid is optimistic, a rare state for the Democratic Senate majority leader and self-declared cynic ("It means I'm disappointed less often," he says). Given the current political mood it would be hard for him not to be. This year, voters have taken every opportunity to punish Republican candidates at the polls, most recently in Mississippi where a Democrat easily won a special election last Tuesday for a House seat in a district President Bush carried in 2004 with 62 percent of the vote. This has sent congressional Republicans into a frenzy of panic and recriminations about their prospects this fall. Reid's upbeat mood suggests how deep the GOP's troubles are. This week, he declared that Democrats will defeat popular two-term incumbent Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who today is ahead in every poll. Collins, a moderate Republican with a reputation for working across the aisle (a reputation Reid feels is undeserved), currently leads her Democratic challenger, Rep. Tom Allen, by...

The GOP's '08 Election Anxiety

The race to watch on Tuesday is a special election in Mississippi. The reddest of congressional districts is poised to elect a Democrat, sending yet another signal that Republicans are in serious trouble come November.

Most Democrats will spend Tuesday night watching election returns from the West Virgina primary. But if they want some hints about what will happen in November, they should really be watching a little congressional special election in the northeastern Mississippi. The Tuesday special election in Mississippi's 1st Congressional District is being held to replace veteran GOP congressman Roger Wicker, who was appointed to the Senate last December by Gov. Haley Barbour to replace the retiring Trent Lott. Wicker had been in the House for five terms and had always won re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote. This is exactly the kind of district that Democrats are routinely forced to write off because it is so difficult to overcome the culturally tainted associations that come with being a Democrat. The election is producing extraordinary levels of GOP anxiety, because of what it says about Republican prospects in November. While losing any congressional seat these day is...