Jonathan Bernstein

Dreaming of a World Where He Could Do Just What He Wanted To
October 29, 2010

Jamelle Bouie is uncharacteristically way off base on this: I seriously doubt that Tea Party Republicans will be in any way distinctive from "regular" Republicans...Every class of "insurgent" Republicans eventually falls in line with the leadership, and this group will do the same. In fact, there's a long history of insurgent Republicans, especially in the House, deciding that the current leadership is too moderate and too quick to compromise, and booting them out. You probably know that there were two Republican Houses during the New Deal era (Truman's punching bag in 1947-1948, an

Do We Actually Want Everyone To Vote?
October 28, 2010

That’s really the question that Kevin Drum is tackling in his posts on voter fraud (first one, second one). Look, it’s not as if there’s no history to this. There have always been Americans who believed that everyone should vote...and there have always been Americans who want a better electorate. In my experience, those attitudes (as opposed to the way they’re deployed politically) are not partisan.

Understanding Fox News
October 27, 2010

Responding to a debate between Michael Tomasky and Ross Douthatover whether liberals should appear on Fox News, Andrew Sullivan makes an important point: Just as important, it seems to me is if Fox could give, say, Ron Paul his own show, and actually allow an internal conservative debate about issues, such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, or foreign policy, or the social issues, such as abortion, or even have a supporter of gay equality who isn’t an easily dismissed leftist stereotype on prime time - like a Jon Rauch or a Ted Olson?

Is Michael Bloomberg Going to Get Sarah Palin Elected President? Nope.
October 26, 2010

Brendan Nyhan already knocked this down in up to 140 characters, but I’ll take a shot too... John Heilemann spins a convoluted scenario in which Sarah Palin wins the presidency in 2012 as a consequence of a third-party run from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now, technically I suppose this doesn’t violate the Iron Law of Politics that New York City Mayor is a dead-end job; NYC Mayors do occasionally run for other offices and lose. Sometimes, they run for president.

Walter Mondale for the Supreme Court?
October 25, 2010

Over the weekend, I asked back at my blog what would happen if the Supremes have an opening in the next couple of years. A filibuster (or outright defeat, if there are 51 Republican Senators) seems inevitable to me and most of the people who responded, summed up by commenter JazzBumpa who supposed that the GOP would filibuster Robert Bork’s clone if Barack Obama sent him up. Nor is it really plausible that Obama would nominate someone that conservatives like.

Are Neocons Serious About National Security?
October 22, 2010

 Steve Benen argues: I continue to believe in a simple litmus test -- if you claim to believe in fiscal responsibility and want to cut the deficit, you can’t insist that the Pentagon budget is untouchable. It’s an immediate credibility killer, reflecting a fundamental lack of seriousness about the subject. I understand his point, and it’s a good post, but I’m going to disagree with it.

Why is Politico Reporting that Sarah Palin is a Pain in the Butt?
October 21, 2010

There's a fascinating Jonathan Martin story about Sarah Palin over at Politco today. Here's the gist of it: The election is two weeks away, but the campaign trail reviews of Sarah Palin already are in, and they aren’t pretty. According to multiple Republican campaign sources, the former Alaska governor wreaks havoc on campaign logistics and planning.

How Money Works In Congressional Elections
October 20, 2010

You’ll want to read John Sides on the David Brooks column about money in politics. As John says, Brooks is correct to say that people overrate the importance of money in elections--but John corrects him on the current debate over spending effects: “the major debate is not over whether money matters, it’s over the relative impact of incumbent and challenger spending.” The people who study this (and I’ll repeat John’s citation of Gary Jacobson) most definitely do believe that campaign spending matters--but not as much as some think. Why does money have only limited importance?

The Phantom Tax Cut
October 19, 2010

Three comments on the excellent Michael Cooper NYT story about the Democrats’ stealth tax cut within the stimulus bill. First, Cooper doesn’t mention the most likely reason people think taxes went up: they’ve been told that Barack Obama and the Democrats are raising taxes, nonstop, by GOP pols and conservative talk show hosts. Anyone listening to Rush and watching Fox News -- and having no other source of news - would naturally believe that Obama and the Democrats had done nothing but raise taxes from day one.

Are you Receiving Me?
October 18, 2010

Speaking of the news that the Awakening in Iraq may not end the way that it started (see this NYT article, a good Matt Yglesias post, and my remarks about politicians and policy)... One of the most interesting things about Iraq, to me, is how it demonstrates how the relationship between elections and public policy really work. I’m thinking about the 2006 election cycle.