Chris Mooney

Chris Mooney is a Prospect senior correspondent and, most recently, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatened Our Future (with Sheril Kirshenbaum).

Recent Articles

Mandate Madness:

If mimicry is the best form of flattery, conservatives are making a lot of people blush. Lately, they've been stealing rhetoric at will -- even if they railed against that very rhetoric just months ago. During last December's electoral fiasco in Florida, for example, Republican pundits happily drew upon lefty postmodernist theories of human subjectivity to argue against the hand recounting of presidential ballots, even though they usually refer to those theories as politically correct nonsense. But with the latest political earthquake -- the shift in control of the Senate from the Republicans to the Democrats -- this kind of conservative parroting has reached a new pinnacle. Led by a hyperbolic Trent Lott in the Senate -- and, in the media, a hysterical Wall Street Journal editorial page -- conservatives are now saying of Senate Democrats exactly what Democrats said of the dubiously elected George W. Bush. Tom Daschle's crew, the right claims, lacks the political legitimacy to move...

The Secret War on Tom Daschle

The producers who brought you Doggygate and the brouhaha over Al Gore's alleged claim that he invented the Internet are at work on a brand new project: the destruction of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Comments from a recent discussion thread on the right wing website FreeRepublic.com demonstrate the budding smear efforts: "Please help me flesh out various scandals that Daschle is involved in," writes one contributor. "There is something about his wife's employment I think that might be a conflict of interest. Maybe not," suggests another. (Daschle's wife, Linda, is a transportation lobbyist for the firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell.) The website Spinsanity.com , which tracks and critiques political rhetoric, has been monitoring Daschle-bashing, recently noting a Washington Times article that mentions a "coordinated" attack on the senator by right-wingers. Thanks in part to Spinsanity , it's possible to trace many of the key motifs and rhetorical techniques...

Bush Interfaces With Brain

Just when you thought Slate 's book, George W. Bushisms , couldn't possibly sell any more copies, the President has done it again. According to the Washington Post , a vacationing Bush was surprised on Tuesday when asked by reporters about the plans of Panos Zavos, a Kentucky scientist, and Severino Antinori, an Italian fertility doctor, to clone a human being. Bush decided to answer on the topic of stem cells instead. Then, he offered this promise: "I'll be making a statement about my views on how life and science should interface when I'm ready." It's fascinating to imagine the hand gestures that might have accompanied this declaration. Personally, I like to picture Bush trying in vain to fit together two invisible, poorly matched Legos. And in the same session, Bush also managed this more minor flub on the Middle East, observing: "Our administration is in contact with the Israelis and the Palestinians on a regular basis. We will continue to do so." As Bush continues to tackle these...

The Cajun Rage:

When Pat Brister, state chairwoman of the Louisiana Republican Party , wanted to do her part to seal the 2000 election for George W. Bush, she didn't need Tom DeLay to provide an e-ticket to Florida. Instead, she just strolled out into her political backyard. Last month, Brister assembled a mid-sized Republican mob outside the Baton Rouge office of Louisiana's senior senator, Democrat John Breaux , and hand-delivered a letter urging Breaux to "call for Vice President Gore to accept the certification of the Florida Secretary of State" ensuring that Bush had won the election. Covering the media stunt, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported that Brister was unable to actually get to Breaux, and had to hand the letter over to an intern. But Louisiana Republicans had made their point. In a state George W. Bush carried handily, John Breaux was beholden to them at least as much as to the national Democratic Party. So far, Breaux hasn't called for Gore to concede. He has, however, been on...

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