Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House.

Recent Articles

Party Crashers

How ironic that liberal bloggers Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, after teaming up to transform online politics, offer a stinging critique of the Democratic party using a medium that's been around since Gutenberg: A book. Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics (Chelsea Green) is muscular not only in its language, but in how Armstrong and Moulitsas play the heavies with a variety of Beltway insiders, consultants, and other political “experts” within the mainstream national Democratic party. Knowing both authors (disclosure: I blogged for Daily Kos during the 2004 election), readers can be assured that Armstrong and Moulitsas blog the way they speak, and write the way they blog: In the sometimes caustic but always conversational tone that makes otherwise arcane “insider” topics accessible to non-Beltway readers. Regular visitors to their respective websites, MyDD and DailyKos , will be familiar with many of...

New Math

The conclusion from Iowa is that former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.) and Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) lost because their machines were no match for the positive, resonating messages Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) used to motivate caucus goers. That story line is only half-correct. The important back story from Iowa 2004 is that Kerry's field organization, though perhaps smaller in size, was far more efficient and better organized to catch Iowans as they fell away from both Dean and Gephardt. Call it the Kerry trapeze net -- or, more accurately, the Norris-Strasma-Whouley net. In midsummer, Kerry's state director, John Norris, started identifying which way registered Democrats on Iowa's voter list were voting or leaning. Nothing new about that approach -- all campaign staffers with any brains and enough resources do that. But Kerry's team did things a little differently, emphasizing quality over quantity, depth over breadth. Instead of focusing on the "hard count" of...

I Will Survive:

Jaws dropped last week when it was learned that former President Bill Clinton drew some $9 million in speaker's fees in the year 2001. Though seemingly determined not to overshadow the junior senator from New York who doubles as his wife, Clinton nevertheless maintains a certain rock-star status. Once Hillary's political honeymoon ends, does anyone really expect Bill to remain offstage? Clinton is not the only former president to make news recently. Jimmy Carter drew front-page headlines with his trip to Cuba in May. Gerald Ford co-chaired, with Carter, the national commission that studied our electoral system in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, and was recently seen opining in t The Washington Post in favor of therapeutic cloning. And George Bush Senior's role as mediator in the Colin Powell versus Donald Rumsfeld foreign-policy divisions in his son's White House continues to generate media whispers. Didn't these guys retire? Many scholars deem Carter the first "postmodern...