Jamelle Bouie

The Future Is Far from Certain

(The White House/Flickr)
For Democrats, the last month has been filled with Schadenfreude and glee. Beginning with their opposition to the administration’s contraception mandate—which bled into a general opposition to contraceptives—Republicans have done everything they could to alienate women voters, from dismissing birth control as an integral part of women’s health care, to standing on the sidelines as key conservative activists unleashed vitriolic rhetoric against contraception advocates—and women who use birth control in general—attacking them as “sluts” who need to keep their legs together. If it sticks in the public consciousness—and if they refuse to back down from their anti-contraception stance—this incident promises to be a disaster for Republicans in the fall. On the gleeful side, Democrats are clearly excited about President Obama’s improved standing with the American public. Job growth has exceeded 200,000 for the last three months, and Obama’s approval rating has been on the upswing , reaching...

Closing Time

(maistora/Flickr)
As you may have noticed, I'm out for today and tomorrow on something of a vacation. But I'll be back on Monday, and ready to go. See you then!

The Future of Apple Is the iPad 2

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Matthew Yglesias makes a smart point about Apple and the iPad: The iPad is already the market leader to such an extent that simply coming out with a better one doesn’t change the landscape. But if Apple’s supply chain allows them to ramp up production of a new high-end product while continuing to sell the iPad 2 in volume as a cheaper option, that shakes up the landscape. If you look at iPad sales compared to competitors, it’s hard not to conclude that the “tablet market” is a fiction—what we have is an iPad market, with a few companies operating outside of it. Moreover, high demand means that the iPad market continues to have tremendous room for growth at premium price points. But—as demonstrated by the success of the Kindle Fire—its also true that there is room for growth at the lower bound of the tablet space. And, because Apple doesn’t have much in the way of competition, the price of iPads depends mostly on Cupertino’s ability to produce them. If Apple rereleases the iPad 2 as a...

Rick Santorum Can't Win

Rick Santorum speaking to supporters at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Frontloading HQ’s Josh Putnam crunches the numbers and finds that under the most optimistic scenario, Rick Santorum is limited to a delegate haul of 1,075, which falls somewhat short of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. Putnam notes that you could goose that even further and assume big wins for Santorum in the remaining primaries. Even still, the most he could win is 1,152 delegates. By contrast, Mitt Romney’s minimum 1,162 delegates while his maximum extends to 1,341 delegates. In other words—at this point—it’s mathematically impossible for Santorum to win the nomination through delegate accumulation. Of course, there’s always the question of a brokered convention. But as Putnam points out, of the people to win the nomination through negotiation, Santorum is at the bottom of the list: The bottom line here is that Romney has enough of a delegate advantage right now and especially coming out of today’s contests that it is very unlikely that anyone will catch him, much less catch...

All Mitt Romney Wants is to be Himself

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
For all of his gaffes and unforced errors, it’s important to remember that Mitt Romney never promised to be a likeable presidential candidate, or someone for whom personality was a selling point. The point of Romney has always been that he is a generic Republican candidate, with the skills and profile necessary to win a general election. He has conventional experience (a business career with a stint in the public sector), a conventional persona (competent businessman), and a standard-issue message—the economy is off-track, and only I can bring it back to station. The simple fact is that this is more than enough to win the general election. Even the most optimistic predictions have unemployment clocking in at 8 percent by November, and while the rate of change is more important than the overall number, the economy won’t grow fast enough for Barack Obama to cruise to reelection. By definition, a major-party presidential nominee has a good chance of winning the presidency, and the...

By the Skin of His Teeth

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Mitt Romney’s Super Tuesday wasn’t a disaster, but you’d be hard-pressed to call it good, either. The primaries he won decisively—Massachusetts, Virginia, Vermont, and Idaho—were ones where he held an overwhelming advantage; either he was governor, or he was in friendly territory, or he was one of two candidates on the ballot. The states he lost were also expected, on account of their deep conservatism and religiosity. Georgia went to Newt Gingrich, while Rick Santorum picked up wins in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. Of course, Ohio is where Romney focused his attention, in an attempt to knock Santorum off of his game and out of the race. He missed his mark by a wide shot. Romney barely managed to secure a win in Ohio, picking up the Buckeye State with a lead of 1 percentage point—roughly 12,000 votes. If you look at a map of the results, what you’ll see is a sea of Santorum supporters, with a few islands of Romney holdouts; these are the urban centers, which by the end of the...

This Station is Non-Operational

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
I never understood why it’s so hard to believe that Iranian leaders are rational actors. They might be awful people, but they care about maintaining their power. John Cole defends the (large majority of) women who have sex for pleasure. More of this please. As far as wealth and presidents goes, the trend probably looks like a U-shaped curve, with extraordinarily wealthy presidents at the founding, progressively less wealthy presidents through the 19th century, and an uptick again in the 20th century. Fraser Speirs talks about the problems with Android. I find it hard to disagree. I spoke about Super Tuesday for a few minutes on the radio this afternoon. Check it out. (I’m at the 5 minute mark.) There’s nothing about this that I don’t like:

Economists Project Eight Percent Unemployment by Election Day

(The White House/Flickr)
As far as political news is concerned, I would rate this as considerably more important than the minutae of what happens in the Republican primary elections today: The economists think the unemployment rate will fall from its current 8.3 percent to 8 percent by Election Day. That’s better than their 8.4 percent estimate when surveyed in late December. By the end of 2013, they predict unemployment will drop to 7.4 percent, down from their earlier estimate of 7.8 percent, according to the AP Economy Survey. The U.S. economy has been improving steadily for months. Industrial output jumped in January after surging in December by the most in five years. Auto sales are booming. Consumer confidence has reached its highest point in a year. Even the housing market is showing signs of turning around. That’s from a recently released survey of economists from the Associated Press. As it stands, it wouldn’t take much for the economy to reach 8 percent unemployment by November; according to this...

The Reactionaries Were Right!

(Stacy Lynn Baum/Flickr)
When it comes to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, progressives minimize the extent to which this is actually about a woman’s ability to have sex without pregnancy. Despite right-wing crowing about her sex life, Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony was about the medical need for hormonal birth control—not her desire to enjoy sex without having to worry about pregnancy. The problem with this is that it obscures the extent to which recreational, non-procreative sex is as common as breathing in the United States, and reinforces the troublesome notion that there is something shameful about female sexuality. Aside from the value that comes with affirming women’s autonomy, the upside to embracing sex in this fight is that it opens the door to stronger arguments for why the administration is right to mandate contraception coverage in insurance plans. At the New York Times , Annie Lowrey flags a study that shows contraception has been an unambiguous good for the economic...

Halftime

(pantagrapher/Flickr)
At Mother Jones , Tim Murphy and Andy Kroll have the goods on Rick Santorum’s first Senate campaign, where he warned that single mothers are “breeding more criminals.” Here at The Prospect , Abby Rapoport reports on the crazy notion that a state might encourage voting, not work to restrict it. The iPad 3 debuts tomorrow. Get ready . Speaking of Apple, Thomas Brand has an awesome Tumblr where he walks you through classic Macintosh programs. A mashup of two of my favorite things— Community and Batman:

Obama, Black Voters, and Same-Sex Marriage

Registering voters during a Mardi Gras parade in Louisiana. (Barack Obama/Flickr)
On Twitter, I’ve been in something of a friendly back-and-forth with The New York Times ’ David Leonhardt about the African American vote and President Obama’s support—or lack thereof—for same-sex marriage. In its most recent survey , NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 49 percent of Americans favored same-sex marriage, while 40 percent opposed. What’s more, for 54 percent of Americans, the question of support or opposition wouldn’t make a difference in how they voted. Leonhardt considered this in the context of African Americans. Given the degree to which black voters are less likely to support same-sex marriage—only 36 percent do, according to a recent Pew poll —is it possible that Obama would lose African American votes if he moved with the curve and endorsed same-sex marriage before the election? Leonhardt says yes . “[It’s] Hard to believe the effect of any such high-profile, contested issue will be zero. And some states are likely to be v[ery] close.” As you probably...

When in Doubt, Spend

(Flickr/401K)
The people who vote in presidential primaries might be more partisan than the median voter, but that says nothing about their overall knowledge of the political process, or the candidates in particular. For the most part, presidential primaries are low-information elections: Few voters know anything about the candidates outside of what they learn from media, and the circumstances of presidential primaries—a relatively short window for campaigning, multiple candidates, and the fact that everyone belongs to the same party—make it difficult for voters to form strong opinions. Go to almost any primary event in any state, and you’ll meet a large number of attendees who are there with an open mind—they just want to see what the candidate "is all about.” Under these circumstances, money goes a long way. Regardless of the content, sustained advertising can shape the electorate and bring low-information voters to one side or another. Look no further than the major Super Tuesday races for...

This Station is Non Operational

This neat calculator lets you figure out how many jobs the economy needs to create to get to a given unemployment rate within X number of months. Everyone knows that the best character in The Wire is that unsung hero, Lester Freamon. Historian James Cobb speaks out against an attempt by the Georgia state senate to whitewash American history and present the Founding Fathers as blameless saints. “Since December, white women are now eight percentage points more apt to view Obama positively. Among Democratic-leaning white women, the number with improving opinions of the president has nearly doubled (from 25 to 49 percent)” This trailer for Mass Effect 3 is enough to make me want to buy an XBox 360 and take a week-long staycation:

GOP Successfully Alienates Latino Voters

The most you can say about the Republican Party’s performance with Latino voters right now is that it isn’t in the single digits. Eight years after George W. Bush won 44 percent of Latino voters—and four years after John McCain nabbed 31 percent of the overall Latino vote—the GOP has seen the bottom drop out of its reputation with Latinos. According to the latest survey from Fox News and Latin Insights, 73 percent of Latinos approve of President Obama’s job performance, compared to 35 percent approval for Mitt Romney, 13 percent for Ron Paul, 12 percent for Newt Gingrich, and 9 percent for Rick Santorum. What’s more, in a head-to-head matchup with the president, none of the GOP candidates would win more than 14 percent of the Latino vote. It’s not hard to figure out the why of Latino disdain for the Republican Party. At this point, the GOP fervently opposes every priority held by Latino voters. To wit: The Fox News Latino poll show likely Latino voters across the country...

Romney's Problem with Health Care is that He Actually Believes in Reform

In a scoop that demolishes a year’s worth of rhetoric from the Romney campaign, Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski discovers three separate videos in which Mitt Romney urges Barack Obama to adopt Massachusetts-style health care reforms as a model for the rest of the country. Here is one of the more damning videos: Somewhere, a Romney staffer is shaking his fist at those “meddling kids” at Buzzfeed. More seriously, it’s amazing that these were never uncovered by rival Republican candidates. Both Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry could have rescued their campaigns—or at least, damaged Romney—with one of these clips, much less three. That they were a non-issue for the better part of the GOP campaign season is a testament to the poor quality of Romney’s competition. With all of that said, there’s also something useful here for those of us who aren’t out to win the Republican presidential nomination. The key fact about Romney’s rhetoric isn’t that he presents the Massachusetts health plan as a...

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