Tag: The Soapbox

Joe Manchin Wants to Pass a Popular Gun Control Bill That Will Save Lives, but He Loves the Filibuster More

It’s difficult to remember now, but one of the last major items on the table for Congress before the novel coronavirus swept the globe last year was a gun control bill. Early in 2019, House Democrats passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would have established universal background checks by closing a loophole in existing […]

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The NatSec Bros Who Want to Save Congress From QAnon

On a Twitter account called @10milesbadroad, Smith would “send up an occasional flare” if he thought journalists weren’t adequately reporting on Prince’s contacts with the Trump administration. (I first learned of Smith during the summer of 2020, when I saw him tweeting about Prince from this account.) Smith, who identified himself on the @10milesbadroad account […]

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The Manifest Destiny Marauders Who Gave the “Filibuster” Its Name

In the summer of 1855, William Walker, a ruthless, ambitious, famously short Tennessean, invaded Nicaragua with a private militia, declared himself president, and reintroduced slavery. For his brief reign, he was, as one of his biographers recently put it, a “five-foot-five colossus astride the isthmus.” But of all the nicknames he ever earned, Walker particularly […]

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The Cult of the Thuggish Democratic Politician

Ruthless was once the favored adjective to describe Bobby Kennedy as attorney general in his brother’s Cabinet. A former aide to Joseph McCarthy (really), Bobby Kennedy in 1963 gave his approval for the FBI to wiretap Martin Luther King. The eavesdropping was kept secret until 1968, but Bobby’s take-no-prisoners style as attorney general reflected the […]

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The Deficit Hawks That Make Moderate Democrats Cower

The organization embraces a deflationary logic: It wants the government to suppress private consumption so a greater share of economic output accrues to the private owners of existing capital, supposedly making the country more competitive in the international fight for investment dollars. Federal spending threatens that model. The CFRB warns that government borrowing can “crowd […]

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The Supreme Court Is Not Going to Save Voting Rights

But the most damning question for the Arizona GOP came from Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She noted that the DNC had legal standing to participate in the case because the out-of-precinct policy it challenged could make it harder for the party’s supporters to cast a ballot. But that theory doesn’t apply to the Arizona Republican […]

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Is Merrick Garland Really the Right Man for the Job?

After all, with few exceptions, career lawyers participated in virtually all of the actions that legal commentators decried as egregious abuses of power—like defending preposterous and politically motivated positions in the courts, attempting to dismiss the case against Flynn, intervening in the case against Trump by E. Jean Carroll, pursuing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew […]

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Why Are Troops Leading the Vaccination Effort?

At the same time, Biden has not fought particularly hard to keep the minimum wage increase in the final deal. He could have had his vice president overrule the parliamentarian, or more aggressively whipped two Democrats who oppose the proposal. Instead, he conceded the effort’s failure well before it actually happened. As even members of […]

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The Supreme Court Case That Lays Bare Puerto Ricans’ “Second-Class Citizenship”

Puerto Rico, in its own brief for the court, noted the perverseness of justifying its exclusion for tax reasons. The SSI program is generally used by beneficiaries who are elderly, disabled, and often unable to work. “Thus, the SSI program benefits individuals who do not pay federal income taxes because their income is too low,” […]

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The Democrats Are Blocking a $15 Minimum Wage

A good question! And the answer may well be “none.” But the primary advocate of the Green Lantern theory of domestic politics over the past two years has been Joe Biden. The central policy argument of his campaign, repeated throughout the primaries and general election, was that he, alone among all other Democratic contenders, would […]

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New President, Same Old Forever War

Airstrikes are a constant of the forever war—a perverse form of continuity between presidential administrations of both parties. After spending years ramping up the drone war in several countries, President Barack Obama on his last day in office authorized an airstrike against an Al Qaeda training camp in Syria. More than 100 people died, according […]

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Welcome to the Census Crisis

Two states, Virginia and New Jersey, are in an even tougher spot because they hold off-year legislative elections later this year. In Virginia, where maps are drawn by a bipartisan commission, state officials are expecting to run this year’s elections under the existing maps. That could give a slight edge to the beleaguered state GOP […]

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The Incalculable Debt That America Owes Black People

It’s reasonable to assume that the principal opposition to slavery reparations today will come from Republicans, many of whom adamantly reject any interpretation of American history, such as the 1619 Project, that suggests collective guilt by white Americans. (Donald Trump set up a competing 1776 Commission that largely dismissed the problem of slavery.) However, there […]

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Joe Biden’s Immigration Acid Test

That opens the door to the possibility, already being floated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, that the Citizenship Act might be broken up. “We think that there might be a world where the Dream Act portion of the legislation or the farm worker pieces of the legislation could move first and garner the […]

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The Andrew Cuomo Show Has Lost the Plot

Longtime New York politics hands like former Bloomberg spokesperson Stu Loeser still explain Cuomo’s sticky approval by arguing that his voters “KNOW he’s super-aggressive & tough,” and describe his temperament as “a feature not a bug.” I find it hard to square that interpretation with what we actually watched TV Cuomo do, as his popularity […]

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Dominion Voting Systems’ Legal Rampage Against Trump’s Grifters

Five days later, Newsmax gave Lindell an interview to discuss the fact that Twitter had banned Lindell’s account for spreading election disinformation and then had banned MyPillow’s corporate account because Lindell had used it to circumvent the ban on his personal account. Newsmax knew that the discussion of those bans was an invitation to have […]

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The GOP Is Imploding in Spectacular Fashion

The fissures among Republican voters make the GOP look like the scene after an earthquake. This Sunday, Trump will return from Elba to address the rightwing CPAC convention in Orlando. While predicting the precise turns of a Trump speech is as difficult as guessing what Ted Cruz will do next to humiliate himself, it is a […]

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No One’s Buying the Republicans’ Deficit Fearmongering Anymore

It’s a much harder task to sort the “winners” and “losers” of a global pandemic. While it was possible to chide those who took out loans with too-good-to-be-true terms back during the build-up to the subprime mortgage collapse, it’s more difficult to label people “undeserving” in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The fact that […]

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The Desperate Need for a Covid-19 Commission

Who would lead such a committee and serve on it? Thompson’s bill would allow the chairs and ranking members of fifteen different House and Senate committees to appoint members. Schiff’s bill would require its ten-member body to be chosen by party leaders in Congress, with the chair named by the president and the vice chair […]

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The Rise and Fall of the L. Brent Bozells

In L. Brent Bozell III (1955-present), we start to see what IQ experts delicately call “regression to the mean.” If Leo’s preoccupation was to build a successful business and Brent’s was to build an intellectual foundation for movement conservatism, Brent III’s was to build a series of organizations to perpetuate that movement. The most significant […]

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Rush Limbaugh and the Nineties Roots of “Cancel Culture”

The era in which the mass media constantly elevated right-wing figures like Limbaugh or Matt Drudge without being able to offer up any left-wing alternatives basically ended, for many reasons, with the Bush administration. By the close of his career, Limbaugh was just another character in the right’s information ecosystem, easily avoidable if you didn’t […]

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Ted Cruz Should Stay in Cancun

The Republican response to Covid-19, in which even the most basic reforms and health recommendations were fought at every turn by conservative lawmakers who coded “mitigating the effects of the pandemic” as “left wing,” presaged the failures in Texas. This hands-off approach to governance was particularly apparent in Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s response to the […]

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Ted Cruz Should Have Stayed in Cancun

The Republican response to Covid-19, in which even the most basic reforms and health recommendations were fought at every turn by conservative lawmakers who coded “mitigating the effects of the pandemic” as “left wing,” presaged the failures in Texas. This hands-off approach to governance was particularly apparent in Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s response to the […]

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The Supreme Court Could Demolish Another Pillar of the Voting Rights Act

Largely siding with the DNC is Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who oversees the state’s election system. She told the Supreme Court that the other side’s reading of Section 2 would immunize a broad swath of state election laws from review under the VRA’s remaining provisions. “In a radical departure from the […]

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The Deep Rot of the Massachusetts Democratic Party

In the 4th District, a young Jake Auchincloss—with the help of his mother’s expansive donor network, forged through her role as head of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and her cozy relationship to The Boston Globe—won Congressman Joe Kennedy’s former seat. Prior to his electoral victory, Auchincloss worked for Baker; he is viewed by progressives in […]

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I Was a Rush Limbaugh Whisperer

One reason I enjoyed listening to Limbaugh in the early days is that I had his private email address. Oftentimes, while he was on the air, I would have some thought or an obscure fact that fit with whatever he was pontificating about. Literally within minutes, I would hear him repeating what I told him. […]

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Trump Will Be Haunted by the Law for Years to Come

The secretive nature of criminal investigations makes it hard to gauge the full extent of Trump’s legal exposure. There are signs, for example, that Trump is also under investigation by the local prosecutor’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, for his interactions with state election officials over the past few months. Trump infamously pressured Georgia Secretary […]

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The Capitol Riot Killed “Both Sides” Journalism

When the vast majority of Senate Republicans voted against convicting Trump—just as the vast majority of House Republicans voted against impeachment—it was a dark day for America. But let us not overlook that it also was an invalidation of the trauma experienced by those who thought they would perish in the attack that day, including […]

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Arizona’s Democratic Senators Are Already Angering the Left

Last week, during a series of votes on amendments to the Senate’s budget resolution, eight Democrats signed onto an amendment aimed at prohibiting undocumented immigrants from receiving Covid-19 stimulus checks—a redundant measure that might have threatened payments to their spouses and children, according to Democrats like Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and […]

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The Botched Democratic Effort to Convict Donald Trump

Why did the Democrats cave after they had the votes for witnesses? The full answer will seep out over the next few days as reporting sheds additional light on the conversations among Senate Democrats. But there are tentative guesses. Schumer, never one to take on quixotic causes, has obviously been worried that witnesses, subpoenas, and […]

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