Jamelle Bouie

A Strategy that Won't Work

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
Yesterday, Mitt Romney dismissed the idea that President Obama had anything to do with preventing a Great Depression. If we can thank anyone, he declared , it’s George W. Bush: “I keep hearing the president say he’s responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression,” Romney said at a town hall in Arbutus, Maryland. “No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and [then-Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson.” In general, given the extent to which he’s still unpopular, it’s probably a bad idea for a Republican to mention Bush, much less praise him. And that’s especially true when you consider that Democrats will paint the Romney campaign as a throwback to Bush and his policies. If you’re wondering why Romney would take this approach, look no further than the latest economic news : The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low last week, offering further evidence the jobs market recovery was gaining traction. Initial claims for state...

No Way Out

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
Let’s say that Eric Fehrnstrom is right, and Mitt Romney can reboot his campaign like an Etch-a-Sketch. In the fall, he runs against President Obama as a Massachusetts moderate—to borrow from Newt Gingrich—and wins the White House on the strength of conservative anger with Obama and public discontent with the economy. In which case, who is the “real” Romney? Is it the conservative ideologue who—despite his public heterodoxies—won the Republican nomination by attacking his opponents from the Right? Or is it the Romney who made his way to the Oval Office by emphasizing his moderate sensibilities? For Salon ’s Steve Kornacki, the only conceivable Romney is the former : As president, he’d be at the mercy of congressional Republicans (particularly on the House side) whose ranks are filled with more true believers than ever before. […] This ideological purity is enforced by the conservative absolutists who dominate the party’s opinion-shaping class – television and radio hosts, columnists,...

This Station is Non-Operational

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If the economy continues to improve, and the chief rationale for Romney’s candidacy dissolves, then you should expect to see more Republicans credit the recovery to President Bush. Voters think that politicians, particularly Republicans, spend too much time talking about religion. As the backer behind a Democratic Super PAC, Paul Begala is obviously not disinterested, but he makes a smart point in defense of negative advertising: “Imagine if we had Cola Day once every four years – and you were stuck with your choice for those four years. Coke would say Pepsi makes you fat; Pepsi would counterattack that Coke makes you impotent. And they’d go downhill from there.” In case you missed it, Jeb Bush endorsed Romney for president today. Even still, I don’t expect that this will put an end to these primaries. A hilarious, and timely, bit from Mr. Show :

Baseless 2016 Speculation

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I try to avoid speculation about the next election—especially when we’re still eight months away from the current one—but this is too interesting to pass up: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton’s protegee and replacement in the Senate, says she’ll ask the Secretary of State to run for President in 2016. […] “I’m going to be one of the first to ask Hillary to run in 2016,” Gillibrand told BuzzFeed, saying she “certainly hope[s]” Clinton will run for president. “I think she would be incredibly well-poised to be our next Democratic president,” Gilliband said. “I think she’s extremely well prepared. I think her experience as Secretary of State has not only elevated her stature and experience, but she’s proven she’s someone who can get things done and I think she’d be an outstanding candidate.” Two quick thoughts. First, it’s interesting that the three most “serious” contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2016 are New Yorkers: Gillibrand, Clinton, and Governor Andrew Cuomo...

Things Done Changed

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
The thing to remember about Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is that his political popularity depends on his ability to keep social issues away from the agenda. As long has he can portray himself as a technocratic, jobs oriented governor—and as long as Virginia maintains its steady rate of economic growth (juiced by the federal government in the north and the military in the south)—he can avoid association with his long history of regressive social conservatism. But now that those issues are on the agenda—thanks to his initial support for a bill to mandate forced penetration—McDonnell’s standing with Virginians, and women in particular, is in free fall. Here’s the latest survey from Quinnipiac University: Voters approve 53 - 32 percent of the job Gov. McDonnell is doing, down from a 58 - 24 percent score February 9 and McDonnell’s lowest rating since the independent Quinnipiac University began Virginia surveys June 29, 2011. […] Women approve of McDonnell 49 - 34 percent, down from 54...


(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
From the New York Times : “A young man in the care of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands was surgically castrated decades ago after complaining about sexual abuse, according to new evidence that only adds to the scandal engulfing the church there.” Today in racial inequalities: African American women are less likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but more likely to die from it. It seems that the Senate isn’t as hopeless for Democrats as it looked last year. Post-Mike Daisey, Tim Culpan tries to give a picture of what conditions at Apple factories actually look like. I love Alien , and I’m a big fan of Ridley Scott, but I’m still not sure how I feel about the upcoming Prometheus :

The Etch-a-Sketch Gambit

If there’s been a single, enduring pattern in the Republican presidential primaries, it’s that Mitt Romney—or a staff member—can’t help but offend someone after winning an election. To wit, here’s communications director Eric Fehrnstrom on CNN this morning: HOST: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election. FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again. This is exactly what conservatives fear about the former Massachusetts governor; that he’ll abandon his commitment to conservative rhetoric as soon as he becomes the nominee. And given the degree to which Romney is willing to lie to audiences, this is not an unreasonable fear. On the other hand, it’s not as if this is a new concern. Conservatives widely believe that the party...

Mitt Romney Feels the Illinois

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
If you’re the kind of person who has followed the Republican presidential primaries since the beginning, then it’s fair to say that things are a little boring right now. For all of his good fortune, Rick Santorum hasn’t been able to translate his wins into support from the GOP, and for all of his ups and downs, Mitt Romney hasn’t actually lost the position he reached at the end of January, when he won big in the Florida primary. Romney is still the presumptive nominee, and his big win in Illinois—51 percent to 31 percent for Santorum—will strengthen his path to the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. But, delegates aside, the most important thing to come out of the Illinois primary was Mitt Romney’s new message. For as long as Romney has been on the trail, his message has centered on jobs, with constant attacks on the president’s job-creation record and a campaign that has highlighted his private-sector experience as a blueprint for creating job growth as president...

This Station is Non-Operational

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This kind of statistic is incredibly misleading when it’s not included in context. A new study “argues that President Obama’s strong association with an issue like health care should polarize public opinion by racial attitudes and race.” The Susan G. Komen Foundation has hit a rough patch since its attempt, earlier this year, to defund breast screening services provided by Planned Parenthood. Internet Explorer really has gotten better in recent iterations. The trailer for Snow White and The Huntsman , starring Kristen Stewart, is surprisingly good:

Makers and Takers

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
If you want to know the priorities behind Paul Ryan’s latest budget, “The Path to Prosperity,” look no further than the line he delivered to the audience at the American Enterprise Institute. “We’ve become a nation of net takers versus makers,” said the House budget chair. The natural instinct of most liberals is to put this in stark class terms. In the language of Occupy, the makers are the “1 percent,” and the takers are the other 99 percent. But this ignores the degree to which the Republican Party is engaged in a form of generational warfare against the rising tide of younger Americans. For the last two years, Republicans have tried to defend the prerogatives of the elderly and near-elderly—opposing health care reform and anything else that would redistribute income to young people—for the sake of preserving their political coalition and providing benefits for the wealthy. The “makers” aren’t just rich people—it also includes the elderly people who feel entitled to the benefits...


Slate ’s Emily Bazelon explores Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in greater detail . Roger Ebert reviews The Hunger Games . Mitt Romney: the most unpopular (likely) presidential nominee of all time. The lesson of this is that Barack Obama’s position on gay marrige is a transparent political ploy that gets more insulting as time goes on and the public changes its mood. This is the viral video of the morning, and it’s pretty hilarious:

An Exercise in Contrasts

(Federal Reserve)
From Representative Paul Ryan’s “ Path to Prosperity ”: The United States is facing a crushing burden of debt – a debt that will soon surpass the size of the entire U.S. economy and ultimately capsize it if left on its present course. From reality: This graph shows the amount the United States pays per year on interest for its debt. If this is what being “crushed by debt” looks like, then we’re doing pretty well. More seriously, this is another reason why it’s silly to focus obsessively over the total amount of debt. Yes, a large debt burden is a long-term liability, but at the moment—when global markets are eager to purchase US debt—there are more pressing issues to deal with, like high unemployment and a sluggish ecovery.

Three Things to Know About Paul Ryan's New Budget

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Later this morning, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan will unveil his latest budget plan, “ The Path to Prosperity .” Like the “Roadmap” released last year—and passed by House Republicans—the Path to Prosperity fits neatly within Ryan’s self-described Randian ideology: It would slash social and entitlement spending and direct the savings to lower taxes on rich people and corporations. Despite this, as Matthew Yglesias points out, Ryan has a habit of portraying his policies as somehow beneficial to the broad majority of Americans. I plan to be in the audience for Ryan’s unveiling, but in the meantime, here are a few things to remember and look out for as Ryan tries to sell his program to the public. 1. Premium support will not lower costs for the health system or ordinary Americans : Ryan’s plan for Medicare vouchers came under fire last year and contributed to the unpopularity of House Republicans. This time around, Ryan has replaced vouchers with “premium support,” a plan in which...

This Station Is Non-Operational

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Michael Bay wants to take the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and turn them into aliens. There goes my childhood. My guess is that, as per usual , Paul Ryan will use tomorrow’s event to propose regressive cuts to existing social programs but insist that it’s necessary to save our fiscal future, or something. Also, there will be large tax cuts for rich people. I’ve already said it today, but Ta-Nehisi has been doing great work following the Trayvon Martin case. The iPad sold like gangbusters over the weekend. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only black person who actively listens to Peter Gabriel:

A Remarkable Work of Staggering Dishonesty

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
As Greg Sargent , Steve Benen , and others have amply demonstrated, Mitt Romney has a problem with the truth. Throughout his campaign, he has openly lied about his previous positions, his beliefs, and the records of his opponents, Republican or otherwise. In a speech today on economic freedom at the University of Chicago, Romney continued the trend, building a mostly substanceless case against President Obama on the basis of half-truths and falsehoods. You can read the whole speech if you’d like. For now, I’d like to highlight a few passages that sum up Romney’s case against Obama in fact-free aplomb. First, there’s this: For three years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper in debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. There are a few things missing from this account. First is the fact that the Great Recession began in 2008 and was already on its way to reach its nadir by the time Obama took office. By the...