Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles


NELSON: CASE IN POINT. I don't want to keep beating up on Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) -- I realize he may be the best one can hope for out of Nebraska -- but today he once again cast a decisive ( corrected, as commenters had noted ) vote of major importance. By a 51-48 margin, the Senate rejected an amendment to strike provisions on habeus corpus review from the putrid "compromise" bill on torture. It was a party-line vote, Nelson being the only Democrat voting with the majority. This is not long after Nelson earned the dubious distinction of being the only Democrat to vote against funding for embryonic stem cell research. If the Senate is more closely divided next term, liberals will need to bring some pressure to bear on guys like Nelson. --Ben Adler


HOUSE ENACTS A POLL TAX. Following up on my post from yesterday about the importance of election oversight at the state level comes news of an attack on voting rights at the national level. From Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Nation : Republicans in Congress are on the job and doing everything they can to further disenfranchise voters.... The House recently passed a bill along party lines requiring voters to present a photo ID beginning in 2008. Starting in 2010, voters would need to pay for a government-issued proof of citizenship -- a virtual poll tax.... Demos, a national public policy organization, reports that the legislation would disproportionately impact people of color, individuals with disabilities, rural voters, people living on reservations, the homeless, and low-income people -- all of whom studies show are less likely to carry a photo ID and more often have to change photo ID information. It's unclear if and when the Senate will act on this legislation. But, if it's...


HOW ABOUT SOME SOS LOVE? Massive disenfranchisement in the closest swing states have marred the last two presidential elections, and with that in mind, now would be a good time for progressives to focus on putting control of election oversight in the hands of competent and honest officials. While Secretaries of State Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris have made nakedly partisan rulings to the benefit of their political patrons, progressives should focus on protecting every citizens' right to vote. Efforts like the Secretary of State Project (SOS), which attempts to raise money for incorruptible secretary of state candidates, are one way to go about this. Secretary of State elections are just as important as the House and Senate races that garner all the attention and money. Just as state legislatures have national importance because they control congressional redistricting, putting honest public servants in charge of election oversight at the state level has major implications -- for...


VALUES VOTERS' VALUES. I just got back from the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit . The audience was what you'd expect -- white and old. The speakers, on the other hand, mixed things up a little. Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), addressing George W. Bush 's original "compassionate conservative" framework, suggested that being "pro-life" also means caring about the fetus's safety after it's born. This sentiment, perhaps because it sounded as though it could have come from Jim Wallis , drew much more tepid applause than the Brokeback jokes (e.g., everyone should stand against gay marriage "until Moses comes down with two stone tablets from Brokeback Mountain.") It was only toward the end of the speech, when Huckabee finished off his appeal for the welfare of children by calling on the audience to imagine "what we could do if instead of paying half their income in taxes, but gave a dime of every dollar to their church or charitable organization," that it became apparent what...


DEMOCRATS FOR REPUBLICANS? In his latest piece , Jacob Weisberg addresses the question of whether the party that loses the midterms will, as a result, actually win in the long run. Although I think he takes the silly proposition a little too seriously, he admits that the right answer to this is the "boring" one: "the real winner in the November election will be the winner." While Weisberg raises some good points to support that position, there are a few others worth noting. First, the main premise of the "Dems should win by losing" line is that they will do better in the 2008 presidential election by being completely out of power, and therefore be able to run against the Bush administration's incompetence without any constraints. But given that the 2008 Republican front-runner is the MSM�s favorite son, John McCain , who has carefully distanced himself from Bush at times, and the Democrat's prohibitive favorite is the wildly unpopular Hillary Clinton , the Dems would be unwise to make...