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

BLUE DOGS OUGHT TO BE RED-FACED

If I may add a point to Robert 's post below, this story in The Hill about the obstinate-yet-conflicted House “Blue Dog” coalition is exactly the sort of problem that ought to frustrate liberals. Here you have (some) conservative Democrats who have repeatedly voted to fund a war without worrying about how to pay for it, and now all of sudden they show pangs of fiscal responsibility about not coming up with the monies to fund one program in the new war spending bill. Blue Dogs finally getting with the program: Sounds great, right? Not so fast, because the part they are raising fiscal responsibility objectives about is…wait for it, because it’s really going to infuriate you… education benefits for veterans . Where was this sort of ethic from Blue Dogs when the Bush administration was asking for billions to be handed over to venal, wasteful, no-bid contract-winning war profiteers? “Some of us oppose creating a new entitlement program in an emergency spending bill, whether it’s butchers,...

HILLARY CLINTON: FRAT BOY

A smart, liberal, female Democratic friend of mine repeatedly points out to me ways in which Barack Obama often comes across to some women as arrogant. She says a lot of women who are backing Hillary Clinton will find it hard to support Obama in the fall because, in her words, “he’s another frat boy” candidate: the cool and charming jock who gets his way and doesn’t appreciate or work hard enough to have gotten where he did. But, at least as concerns this campaign, who really gave it the old college frat boy try? One candidate claimed to be “in it to win it,” as if it were a mere vanity or popularity contest worth winning for winning’s sake. One candidate casually dismissed the notion that the campaign might go much beyond the February 5 Super Tuesday contests. One candidate prepared, as one television political analyst put it recently to me, “absolutely nothing—zilch, zero” insofar as a delegate-capture strategy. One candidate proved to be a stubborn, bad listener who clung to...

Is Clinton the Last to Know It's Over?

Barack Obama coupled a solid, double-digit win in North Carolina with a narrow defeat in Indiana to stall Hillary Clinton's recent momentum. The question now is whether Clinton can see the increasingly obvious end of her campaign.

At least for one more day the titanic and seemingly interminable Democratic primary continues, and only one person in America can bring it to an end: Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama coupled a solid, double-digit win in North Carolina with a narrow defeat in Indiana to stall the momentum Hillary Clinton showed in the 11 weeks since Obama's last significant win. "We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be," NBC's Tim Russert declared shortly after midnight, as the late numbers trickling in from Gary-based Lake County in the northwestern corner of Indiana reduced Clinton's victory margin in the Hoosier State to around 20,000 votes. It is a testament to how much the complex mix of expectations, performance, and spin figure in this contest that a proclamation by the dean of televised punditry matters more than the potential endorsements of the nearly 300 undeclared Democratic superdelegates. The crucial question is whether Russert's "we" includes the New York senator and her top...

SUPERDAWDLERS.

Before the early (often inaccurate) exit polls start trickling in from Indiana and North Carolina, let’s just state in advance that if Barack Obama wins both states, that’s it for Hillary Clinton ; conversely, if she wins both, whatever his numerical advantages in pledged delegates, and despite the fact that he has shrunk her lead among superdelegates into the teens now, he enters a very dangerous stage. Of course, most likely she’ll win Indiana and he will win North Carolina. That means things will continue to chug along, with Obama making progress in the literal sense that he moves closer to the 2,025 threshold (equally-sized wins in the two states should provide him more net delegates, given that NC is larger), but appearing to stall in the momentum and narrative senses. Which brings me to my point: Starting tomorrow, there will be fewer pledged delegates to win in the remaining contests than there will be undecided superdelegates left to persuade, and those as-yet-unannounced...

RICH IS RICH.

I meant to get to this yesterday, but since the arguments are still plenty fresh, check out Frank Rich’s column in the Sunday New York Times ; it may be the best thing written during the post- Jeremiah Wright phase of the Democratic primary battle. After noting how all televised clips from people like Jerry Falwell , Pat Robertson and John Hagee were curious absent from our television screens of late, despite the fact that they didn’t just say “God damned America” but, worse, blamed Americans for the September 11 attacks, Rich cuts to the core truth about the double-standard at work here: None of this is to say that two wacky white preachers make a Wright right. It is entirely fair for any voter to weigh Mr. Obama ’s long relationship with his pastor in assessing his fitness for office. It is also fair to weigh Mr. Obama’s judgment in handling this personal and political crisis as it has repeatedly boiled over. But whatever that verdict, it is disingenuous to pretend that there isn’t...

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