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


NONE OF THE ABOVE. Nancy Pelosi has, thankfully, chosen to reject both Hastings and Harman , the obviously correct option. The evidence against Hastings is pretty compelling , and taking a bribe as a federal judge isn't the typically vacuous "character" issue; it suggests a lack of ethics and judgment in ways that can affect policy. Moreover, the political hit would have been immense, and it's not as if Hastings was so great on the merits it would be worth paying the price. Meanwhile, Matt is right that Hastings's only virtue was not being Harman: "Hastings shook some dudes down for $150,000 and ruined three FBI investigations. Jane Harman, by contrast, supported an invasion of Iraq based on bogus intelligence that's costs hundreds of billions of dollars and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Who do I have more doubts about?" Avoiding both of them was clearly the right call, and kudos to Pelosi for bucking the various caucus pressures and doing it. Alas, it seems as if the oft-...


CENTER-RIGHT PUNDITS ARE NOT A GOVERNING COALITION. Brothers Ben and Ezra say most of what needs to be said about this atrocious, risibly anachronistic op-ed by Thomas Edsall. An argument this silly contains multitudes, however, and there's one point I'd like to add. My question: if we're throwing "organized labor, minority advocacy organizations [and] reproductive- and sexual-rights proponents" out of the Democratic coalition, who's left? Where are the votes coming from? (The irony here is that DLC types, who see the Democrats building a governing Democratic coalition out of wealthy, complacent white males, are the flipside of Ralph Nader , who seems to think that a governing progressive coalition can be built by white college students .) There are two moves Edsall makes that are crucial to propping up this nonsense. The first is the egregious double standard in evaluating Democratic and Republican-affiliated factions. Supporters of reproductive freedom are a "special interest"...


DAMN THOSE LEGISLATIVE ACTIVISTS! You have to hand it to Mitt Romney --like so many opponents of same-sex marriage, he's principled. These decisions should be left to the legislature. Unless, of course, the legislature reaches an outcome you don't like, in which case the executive can veto the legislation and urge that it be resolved by the courts. Or, in Romney's case, when the legislature give you the wrong answer, you return to the courts , claiming another kick at the can because the legislature has used the method it usually uses to defeat enactments rather than the method you'd prefer. Although somehow I doubt that people who ( selectively ) decry "judicial activism" will object to this attempt to use the courts to "thwart the will of the people." As for the chances of the lawsuit succeeding: Lawrence M. Friedman, a specialist on Massachusetts constitutional law at the New England School of Law, said the court must decide if the State Constitution requires the legislature to...


WHEN YOU THINK YOU'VE LOST EVERYTHING, YOU FIND OUT YOU CAN ALWAYS LOSE A LITTLE MORE . So it's not just that Bush 's new chief of family planning services, Eric Keroack , uses wacky cartoons to teach kids reactionary, anti-scientific nonsense about sexuality. Apparently, he's not even a board-certified ob-gyn . Heckuva job, Bushie! (In fairness, as Bush appointments to crucial family planning posts go, he's still not quite as bad as David Hager .) -- Scott Lemieux


ROBERT ALTMAN. I was lucky enough to see a beautiful 35mm restoration of La Regle Du Jeu last week. The most obvious modern inheritor of the "open" filmmaking style invented by Renoir , Robert Altman , has died. Altman was a risk-taker, and as is well-known this made him uneven. ( Pauline Kael , one of his biggest critical supporters, said about the disastrous Quintet that "Altman has reached the point of wearing his failures like medals. He's creating a mystique of heroism out of emptied theaters.") But the upside is that he made a number of pictures that will be seen as long as people watch American movies. For me, the canon starts with the hauntingly lovely McCabe & Mrs. Miller , Nashville --his most successful Renoir-style social panorama--and the superb late-career Raymond Carver adaptation Short Cuts . And since any fan needs one, my favorite of his less-lauded pictures is California Split , his loose, amiable picture about happily degenerate gamblers. He was a giant of...