Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

If Republicans Want to Govern, They Should Try Winning Elections

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To understand Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s renewed push for filibuster reform, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s angry reaction to the proposal—he declared that Reid’s “tombstone” would say that he “presided over the end of the Senate”—you have to look at the last four years of Senate dysfunction. Norms matter as much as rules in governing the conduct of Congress, and the most important norms change of the last decade happened at the beginning of Barack Obama’s first term, when Republicans adopted the filibuster as a routine tool of opposition. Rather than reserve the tactic for consequential or controversial pieces of legislation, Republicans—led by McConnell—invoked it on everything from judicial and executive branch nominations, to small-scale legislation with wide support, like the DREAM Act. By the second year of Obama’s presidency, the Senate had become a super-majoritarian...

The First All-White Political Party

Back in 1964, in an interview with Ebony Magazine , the former vice president Richard Nixon—who had run for president in 1960 as a civil-rights moderate—warned that Barry Goldwater would transform the Republican Party forever if he managed to win his crusade for the GOP nomination. “If Goldwater wins his fight,” Nixon said, “our party would eventually become the first all-white political party.” Now, of course, Goldwater would win his fight, and four years later, Nixon would capitalize on post-civil rights resentment to win two presidential victories, the second, a landslide. But setting aside Nixon’s about-face on the question of African American voters, it’s worth noting that he was right. The current Republican Party—and its rejection of any government—flows directly from the beliefs embraced and pushed forward by Goldwater and his supporters. And not only has this GOP become a vehicle for white resentment, but in the last...

I'm Shocked—Shocked!—That Rand Paul Has Ties to Neo-Confederates

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr During his 2008 presidential campaign, then Texas Representative Ron Paul faced wide criticism for his newsletters—published as far back as the 1970s—which, at various points, were racist, homophobic, and anti-semitic . One newsletter from 1992 claimed that nearly all black men in Washington D.C. are “Semi-Criminal or Entirely Criminal”—while another from 1994 claimed that gays were “maliciously” infecting people with AIDS. Paul defended himself by saying that the newsletters were produced by a ghostwriter—with his name attached, and presumably, his consent—and the controversy didn’t do much to diminish his following among a certain set of young libertarians. But for those of us less enamored with Ron Paul, it did underscore one thing: His long-time association with the reactionary far-right of American politics. Ron Paul has retired from politics, but his son—Kentucky Senator Rand Paul—is...

Congress Is Squandering the Opportunity of a Lifetime

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Dan McKay / Flickr It’s the first Friday of the month, which means a jobs report . And this one isn’t bad. The economy added a net 195,000 jobs in June, with upwards revisions of 70,000 in April and May. Which means that, so far this year, the economy has added more than 1 million jobs. To repeat a point, this is why the 2012 election was so critical for Democrats—a Mitt Romney win would have given Republicans a chance to claim credit for the current job growth, and use the political capital to push a highly-ideological agenda. But back to the numbers. Federal government employment dropped by 5,000, a likely result of sequestration, and part of an overall decline of public employment—since 2010, the public sector has shed more than 600,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent, with a slight drop in long-term unemployment. Still, more than four million people have been out of work for longer than six months. In other words, despite the...

The Real Robert E. Lee

Today is the 150th anniversary of the final day of the Battle of ‎Gettysburg, and with that in mind, it’s worth remembering the particular actions of Confederate soldiers a week earlier, as they marched north into Pennsylvania. In the movement that culminated in Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee’s men kidnapped free blacks by the hundreds—men, women, and children. Up to a thousand were captured and forced into labor with the Confederate Army. And during the eventual retreat from Pennsylvania, they were sent South. Once in Virginia, they were returned to their former owners, or if born free, sold into slavery. What's key is that this wasn’t the work of bad apples or isolated units. It won approval from field commanders and leaders at the top of the chain. It was so widespread, in fact, that you could legitimately describe these raids as an objective of the campaign, especially given the time and manpower required to carry them out. So yeah, as we commemorate the...