Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House.

Recent Articles


David Brooks gave ABC News and moderators George “here’s another Xmas present fer ya, Hill” Stephanopolous and Charles “I’m allowed to make up facts about capital gains tax revenues” Gibson an “A” for their debate performance last night. Stunning. I mean, can anyone imagine a general election debate this fall where John McCain is asked about his friendship with lobbyist Vicky Iselin , the alleged adulturous behavior that led to the failure of his first marriage, his embarrassing flip-flop of the legitimacy of Bob Jones University, his shifting position on the Martin Luther King holiday and, say, his view of wacko fundamentalist John Hagee --all in the same debate? More to the point, can you imagine such a debate being rewarded with a Brooksian "A" for moderator performance? Methinks not. --Tom Schaller


In case you missed it, the number of witnesses (all professors, I should add; can you really trust those louts?) who say they distinctly remember Hillary Clinton , at a Camp David summit in 1995 after the Democrats lost control of both chambers of Congress, saying “screw ‘em” of Reagan Democrats and working-class southerners who had abandoned her husband and the party in the 1994 midterms, is up to three. Alan Wolfe joins Harry Boyte in confirming Benjamin Barber’s bombshell published recollection at HuffPo . The Clinton campaign is not denying it but instead wants to challenge folks' memories. It will be interesting to see if this story gains legs, especially with Clinton's image problems growing . And by "interesting," I mean I wonder if the conservative media (which is dying to run against Hillary in the general) will hammer her about it for fear it will damage her comeback hopes. --Tom Schaller


I’ve taken a couple of days to ruminate on Barack Obama’s “bitter” comment and the ensuing “elitist” controversy before offering comment. Obviously, in strictly electoral terms his remark was a stupid thing to say, whether true or not and whether he meant it or not. Obama has to learn to check his impulses; sometimes you get the sense that he has such an inner confidence that he simply doesn’t think he’s prone to error. He is. Which brings me to what we’re really talking about here: arrogance, not elitism--a distinction that seems to have escaped many in the media. (The conservative media is not confused at all, of course, cheerily doing John McCain’s bidding for him by echoing the “elitist” theme as often as possible; the gang at FOX News has been wetting themselves lately.) I worked sanding wood floors during college summers alongside guys who were high school dropouts, living paycheck to paycheck, often with a variety of low-level legal troubles. And some of them were quite...


Near the top of the list of intractable problems the Bush Administration has created, Iraq most notably among them, is Guantanamo. Jeffrey Toobin has a great piece in the New Yorker about the situation down in Cuba. It’s easy to call for the base to be shut down which, as Toobin notes, all three remaining presidential candidates have. But how to do it? Quoting Gen. Thomas Hartmann of the Office of Military Commissions, Toobin points out that, because we are trying alleged war criminal during an ongoing (permanent?) war, even if a particular “defendant is acquitted, he need not be released; he can simply be returned to detainee status at Gauntanamo, to remain in custody until the end of the war on terror,” which I take to mean, well, forever. More than any of his other annoying traits, this is singular defining and most frustrating aspect of this president. It’s not just his insistence that defeats are actually victories, or his crap about how the mere act of being optimistic will...


Steve Benen hammers Joe Lieberman — twice , actually. Michael Scherer nails the state of the Democratic race. And Josh Marshall saws Hillary Clinton in half. --Tom Schaller