Alec MacGillis
Senior Editor

Let Us Bow Down Before The Big Dog
June 03, 2012

Well, so much for Barack Obama's reelection campaign talking at all about Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital. The private equity firm has proven a great vulnerability for Romney in the past and it exemplifies the economic vision Romney is running on, but Obama better lay off it for the rest of the campaign.

Why Walker's Urban-Crime Scare Ad Might Work
June 01, 2012

Well, so much for Scott Walker's brand of Republicanism being all about forward-looking, green-eyeshade bottom-line reform. It's flown mostly under the national radar this week, but Walker decided to go old-school, late-1980s-style, with a TV ad conjuring the menace of inner-city crime to attack his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The Strained Attack On Mitt’s Mass. Record
June 01, 2012

It was overshadowed by the return of the jury in the John Edwards case, but the Obama campaign opened a whole new front of attack against Mitt Romney on Thursday: going after his record as governor of Massachusetts. Romney has of late been starting to invoke his gubernatorial record, after running mainly on his years in business during the Republican primaries, so it makes sense for Team Obama to try to undermine his claims of success on Beacon Hill as it is trying to undermine his record at Bain Capital.

Have Mitt’s Women Troubles Been Overstated?
May 31, 2012

A couple months ago, Democrats were taking comfort in the reports of the massive gender gap facing Mitt Romney, who was trailing Barack Obama badly among women voters. At the time, the size of the gap struck me as slightly counter-intuitive. Yes, Romney had just come through a Republican primary season that was not exactly designed to attract women swing voters, what with all its talk about limiting contraception access and such. It was clear why the Republican brand, at that moment, might not be so popular with women.

In Coal Country, Proof That Politics Matters
May 31, 2012

In a moment of Washington gridlock of the sort we’ve had since the 2010 midterms (and arguably before that in the filibuster-bound Senate), it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that truly nothing has been getting done, and perhaps even that there won’t be all that much of a difference if the other guys win the White House this fall, as long as Democrats still can filibuster bills in the Senate.

How Do You Say Brouhaha In Polish?
May 30, 2012

I have little patience for overreaction to political gaffes or misstatements, but usually this lack of patience takes the form of dismay at the blatant cynicism involved in such overreactions. In the case of the upset over President Obama's reference last night to "Polish death camps," I'm left with more mystification than dismay, because the uproar of sensible people like David Frum and Michael Tomasky is genuine.

Mrs. Warren’s Profession
May 29, 2012

Elizabeth Warren’s supporters breathed a sigh of relief last week when polling emerged showing her running neck and neck with Scott Brown despite several weeks of stories about her and the universities that employed her having at various points made highly dubious claims about her having Native American roots.

Mitt’s Keynesian Slip: Not The First Time
May 29, 2012

Sharp readers like Jonathan Chait have seized on a telling exchange in Mark Halperin’s recent interview with Mitt Romney, in which Romney blatantly undercuts the anti-Keynesian line that he and other Republicans have been pushing for the past couple years. Halperin: You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically. Why not in the first year, if you’re elected—why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office?

Obama’s Bid To Cast Mitt In Hoover Mold
May 25, 2012

Amid all of the commentary this week on what the mayor of the 68th biggest city in the country thinks of the Obama’s campaign attacks on Bain Capital (Democratic blowback!), I’ve seen little analysis of what Obama is actually up to with his critique of Romney. If you take a look at what Obama is actually saying, he’s not only attacking Romney for the infelicitous particulars of private equity, he is more broadly suggesting that Romney’s background as a businessman—the chief asset Romney is running on—does not necessarily translate into being a good president.

So Which Is It, Politico?
May 25, 2012

Politico went big with one of its conventional wisdom-setting 30,000-foot pieces today: “Obama Stumbles Out of The Gate.” As typical for this form, the piece is full of sniping quotes from anonymous consultants. The piece also manages to turn a smattering of voices speaking out against Obama’s anti-Bain Capital attacks—most notably Cory Booker, mayor of the 68th biggest city in the country—into a “Democratic blowback” against Obama. But what struck me most about it was its glaring internal contradiction. First, the article gives us this: Bain has turned into pain this week.