Scott Lemieux

Scott Lemieux is an assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose. He contributes to the blogs Lawyers, Guns, and Money and Vox Pop.

Recent Articles


THE DEMOCRACY/SECURITY CONFLATION. Beyond the obvious , what's puzzling about Ken Baer 's attack on Ezra is this claim: "[s]ome even go so far as to excuse the Iranian regime, the better to deny the very existence of a threat." Even leaving aside Baer's hackish misrepresentation of Ezra's position, he's conflating two very different questions. First of all, the Iranian regime is obviously illiberal but not as repressive as many other regimes (say, Saudi Arabia) that one apparently doesn't have to support bombing in order to meet the Ken Baer Test of Seriousness. And secondly, does Baer seriously believe that a genuinely democratic Iran would be less of a threat to Israel? And if so, on what evidence? The fact that democratic regimes in which citizens have generally liberal values generally don't pose a security threat doesn't mean that this will be true of democracies in which the population isn't particularly liberal and is generally even more hostile to the U.S. and Israel than...


THE TRAP. As a follow-up to J. 's post below , I actually have a certain grudging respect for the position expressed by Brownback . The rape and incest exemptions favored by many anti-choicers give away the show; they make it clear that what's doing the work is not the moral status of the fetus but the moral status of the sexual behavior of the woman . Although Brownback is wrong, I think that his position is actually more coherent and defensible than the marginally more "moderate" one. From a strategic perspective, I would abjure the "Rapists' Fatherhood Rights" label not so much because it's inflammatory -- anti-choicers dish it out , they can take it -- but because it's a trap. The obvious response to this objection is to "compromise" by supporting rape and incest exemptions. The gain to pro-choicers here is negligible; in practice, states determined to prevent (some classes) of women from obtaining abortions can create procedural hurdles that make them essentially worthless, and...


HARDLY WORKING. In addition to ignorance of basic facts about Iraq noted by Ezra below, in the most recent debate Mitt Romney defended his flip-flop on "don't ask don't tell," arguing that, "It's been the policy now in the military for what, 10, 15 years, and it seems to be working. And I agree with what Mayor Giuliani said: that this is not the time to put in place a major change, a social experiment, in the middle of a war going on." What does he mean by "working?" Apparently, it means firing an extremely scarce Arabic translator because he's gay, even though he didn't publicly disclose his sexuality. So, if you define an effective policy as one that prioritizes bigotry over national security, I would urge you to vote Republican in '08. --Scott Lemieux


HOW BAD PROVISIONS GET PASSED. Several bloggers (including TAPPED's own Ann Friedman ) have discussed the dismal fact that Congress is proposing an increase in funding for useless abstinence-only sex ed. programs. According to a (subscribers-only) Congressional Quarterly report , the increase in funding was part of a deal to obtain leverage to fund other domestic priorities (including a commensurate increase in funding for Planned Parenthood). This compromise is defensible, assuming the final version does secure the other funding, but remains depressing. It will be worth keeping a careful eye on what finally emerges from the legislative sausage factory. --Scott Lemieux


WHOOPS, I DID IT AGAIN! An absolute must-read piece by Eric Boehlert on "journalist" Jeff Gerth and the "reporting" that ended up helping a president be impeached. Gerth's primary strategy is to blame many of the countless errors in his allegations about the Whitewater non-scandal on his colleagues, throwing the editors who inexplicably defended him under the bus. How about the crucial claim that Bill Clinton protected James McDougal 's Savings and Loan from being shut down? Funny story: Yet reading Her Way , which details Whitewater at great length, there is no reference to Bassett Schaffer , and there is no reference to the allegation that the Arkansas regulator turned a blind eye to Madison's woes in order to help out Clinton's savings and loan chum. The entire premise of the Times' early Whitewater reporting has simply disappeared. Why? Because Gerth's reporting on Bassett Schaffer was categorically false. Arkansas regulators had no authority to independently shut down failing,...