John B. Judis

Obama At His Best
January 26, 2011

I thought that my reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union speech was colored by having spent the day listening to Chicago mayoral candidates talk about pensions and potholes, or by the two Scotches I downed afterwards, but upon rereading the speech this morning, I’m once again convinced that this was Obama’s best speech as president.

In Defense of Joe Lieberman
January 19, 2011

I have often found Senator Joe Lieberman’s positions infuriating. I didn’t agree certainly with his unstinting support for the invasion of Iraq, or his support for Israel’s Likud governments, or his sanctimonious denunciation of Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances, or his endorsement of John McCain in 2008. Still, I rue Lieberman’s departure from the Senate—along with that of Kent Conrad, and the recent departures of Russ Feingold, Byron Dorgan, and Robert Bennett. Some of it has to do with sheer predictability and individuality.

Mortal Coil
January 15, 2011

Consider the following reactions to the tragic shooting in Tucson: First, President Barack Obama’s speech got rave reviews (“magic,” New York Times columnist Gail Collins called it), even though, by the standards, say, of Bill Clinton’s Oklahoma City address, it was pretty humdrum, especially during those times when the president was trying to draw lessons from the tragedy rather than eulogizing its victims.

Return of the Republicans
January 13, 2011

(Join John B. Judis and Richard Just at 1 p.m. on January 20 for a livestream discussion about the Republicans' return.) In 1960, the political scientist Clinton Rossiter began his classic text, Parties and Politics in America, with the following memorable words: “No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no parties without compromise and moderation.” Rossiter saw U.S.

The Tucson Shooter and Arizona Politics
January 09, 2011

Perhaps the stupidest and least surprising comment about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson came from New York Times columnist Matt Bai. Bai, the author of an interesting book about Democratic politics, analyzed the political environment—the universe of discourse that framed the alleged attempt at assassination by Arizonan Jared Lee Loughner. Here is what he wrote: Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web.

Three Cheers for Obama and the Dems
December 23, 2010

After last November’s election, one might have expected the Obama White House and Democratic Congress to take six weeks off to mull their defeat. Instead, they used the lame duck session in December to win cloture-proof majorities for some very significant bills. Just today, the Senate ratified the new START arms control treaty by a whopping 71 to 26 vote. On December 18, the Senate voted by 65 to 31 to strike down the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against gays serving openly in the armed forces. Today’s ratification of the New Start treaty reduces U.S.

A Defense of Wikileaks
December 01, 2010

The Obama administration has condemned Wikileaks for its second release within a year of classified foreign policy documents. And some liberal commentators have backed up the administration’s complaints. And I am not going to argue that the administration doesn’t have a case. Governments rely on candid assessments from their diplomats; and if Americans in overseas embassies have to assume that they are writing for the general public and not for their superiors back home, they are not likely to be very candid. But there is also something to be said in defense of Wikileaks.

Is the Republican Comeback Just a Flash in the Pan?
November 26, 2010

Did the 2010 election demonstrate that the electorate is moving to the right? I thought the answer was obvious, but my colleagues Ed Kilgore and Ruy Teixeira have argued that it did not, or did so only marginally. Jay Cost, who along with Sean Trende, dispenses political wisdom for Real Clear Politics, takes issue with Kilgore and Teixeira. Who is right? I think to understand the dispute, you have to distinguish between two very different questions. First, did the election demonstrate movement to the right? On that question, I agree with Cost and not with Kilgore and Teixeira.

You've Got Them All Wrong, Mr. President
November 18, 2010

The White House thinks that Democrats got drubbed in the election because they lost the support of “independent” voters. Obama’s advisers, the Washington Post reported, “are deeply concerned about winning back political independents, who supported Obama two years ago by an eight-point margin but backed Republicans for the House this year by 19 points.

Lost Generation
November 10, 2010

Asked on election eve to assess the significance of the coming Democratic defeat, Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tried to portray this election as fairly typical.

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