Election 2012

A Match Made in Hell

In the four years since President George W. Bush failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, anti-immigrant sentiment in the GOP has grown to a fever pitch. At least three Republican-led states have passed draconian laws restricting every aspect of life for undocumented immigrants – Alabama, for example, has made municipal water-usage a deportable offense – and Republican voters have shunned a presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, over his willingness to accomodate the children of undocumented immigrants. Conservatives have grown so hostile to immigrants that, at this point, it has become to alienate some Latino Republicans.

Herman Cain: Yesterday, Totally Pro-Choice. Today, Totally Pro-Life

Yesterday morning, I looked into my crystal ball and boldly predicted that within 48 hours, Herman Cain would walk back his surprisingly pro-choice comments on abortion ("So what I'm saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide") and come out for full-on, abortion-should-be-illegal anti-choicism. Well here you go:

"The Romney Rule"

Priorities USA, the Democratic consulting firm backed by former Clinton staffer Paul Begala, is out with its first ad attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. It’s a good one:

Blame and How to Give It

That Senate Republicans used the filibuster to kill a Democratic stimulus bill isn’t a surprise – at this point, Republicans have all but announced their plan to keep the economy from significantly improving, and as a result, slash the tires on President Obama’s bid for re-election.

What comes as a surprise is the extent to which the press isn’t playing along. In the past, reporters would describe yesterday's event with “balanced” language that obscured Republican responsibility for the obstruction. For example, here’s how The New York Times described last week’s failed vote on the full American Jobs Act:

Occupy the Rules Committee

For last two months, we’ve been engaged in something of a natural experiment to see if presidential speechifying—in this case, a consistent focus on jobs—is enough to move public opinion in a progressive direction and create avenues for legislative success. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Instead, Republicans have taken their usual position of staunch opposition, and moderate Democrats have given them cover by opposing the administration’s modest efforts to raise taxes and offset the costs of new stimulus.


The animosity between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry at Tuesday's debate might have surprised a few viewers, but their their dislike for each other is well known among reporters who follow the candidates. Both The New York Times and the Washington Post ran articles after the debate which highlighted that history. Here's how WaPo describes how the two related as state governors in the 2000s:

The GOP's Anti-Romney Majority

If there’s anything to pay attention to in the Associated Press’ most recent poll of the Republican presidential primary, it’s not the exact distribution of votes among the candidates. That story is familiar: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney leads the pack with 30 percent support, followed by Herman Cain with 26 percent, Rick Perry at 13 percent, and Ron Paul with 8 percent.

Herman Cain is Pro-Choice!

The other day, I sorted through Herman Cain's recent muddled comments on abortion and concluded that he was just unaware that this is an issue that involves laws, both current and potential, that affect what people can and can't do. Every time he got asked about abortion, he would answer as if he were advising a young woman not to get one. So he explained that he believes life begins at conception, and no one should get an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. But he was far less clear on what he thinks the law ought to be.

One out of Five Ain't Bad

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Texas Gov. Rick Perry didn't win the G.O.P. debate Tuesday but he managed to rattle frontrunner Mitt Romney.

More Reagan than Reagan

The two leading stories on the nightly news for the past week have been the Occupy Wall Street protests and the Republican primary race, a contrast so vivid that the reports could be coming from two different planets.

First, we see thousands of citizens so frustrated and angry with economic inequality in the U.S. that they have organized to protest in hundreds of cities around the country. Then we see a group of contenders for president agree that the only economic problem we have is that wealth and influence are not sufficiently concentrated at the top.

A Tea Party for the Rest of Us?

After being mocked as a silly, purposeless movement, #OccupyWallSt has in the past few days gotten a boost of legitimacy.

We're entering week three of demonstrations from Occupy Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, intended to protest the abuses of the financial sector. After being mocked as a silly, purposeless movement, the group has in the past few days garnered the support of labor unions, giving it a boost of legitimacy. Even a reluctant media paid them some attention this weekend when New York City police arrested 700 protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge. The trick is to turn these events into a movement. As many have noted, currently the protests don't seem to have a concrete goal or agenda in mind. Of course, getting really specific about policy—a financial transactions tax, for example—probably won't win the widespread support the group needs.

Who Stole the Election?

When Charles Webster was a member of the Maine House during the 1980s and 1990s, he and his Republican colleagues routinely proposed bills that would create restrictive voting laws—or, as Webster sees it, legislation to tamp down on the rampant threat of voter fraud. “Every year we tried to solve this problem,” he says, “and it was always a partisan vote,” with Democrats supporting laws intended to increase turnout. As a result, Webster says, “We have one of the most loosey-goosey, lax election laws in the country.”

All the President's Frenemies

Barry Blitt

This piece from our October 2011 issue won an award from the National Association of Black Journalists on June 24 for best magazine commentary/essay. 


It's a packed house at St. Sabina's Church on the South Side of Chicago. The pews are full, and attendees who didn't come early on this August Sunday must huddle in the back, though they don't have to strain to hear the speakers, media maven Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West.

Can Tammy Baldwin Win?

Over at TheAtlantic.com, I look into the question of whether openly lesbian Tammy Baldwin can become Wisconsin's senator.

Pop quiz: What's the " L-word" that's likely to hurt her most?

Hint: It's not this one.

Here's an excerpt:

Rick Perry Wins Without Showing Up

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Last night's Republican presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire was the first to feature the full cast of GOP presidential hopefuls, but that doesn't mean it featured a full slate of ideas. The debate ran through familiar Republican tropes about the evils of taxes, regulation, and abortion. But early debates aren't meant to showcase policy; they're meant to influence party elites.