Noam Scheiber
Senior Editor

Romney's Army
May 21, 2007

It took the political pros a year to decide that Mitt Romney's religion would be a disaster for his presidential prospects. It took them all of two days to revise that view. On April 1, the Romney campaign announced it had raised $21 million in the first quarter of 2007, a spectacular sum for any Republican candidate, much less an obscure Northeastern governor. By mid-week, the press was chalking it up to the power of Romney's Mormon connections.

Revenge of the Nerd
April 30, 2007

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about how too many academic economists are doing cute and clever work instead of tackling weighty questions ("Freaks and Geeks," April 2). I placed some of the blame for this on Steve Levitt, the University of Chicago professor and author of Freakonomics. Levitt, I argued, was both a leading practitioner of cute-and-clever and a role model to top young economists. Now Levitt has responded with a blog post so strange and incoherent it is almost hard to believe he wrote it. It's worth pointing out that I wrote my piece feeling ambivalent about Levitt.

Popular Mandate
April 23, 2007

By the time Fred Thompson decides whether or not to join the presidential fray, you will have heard the story of his red pickup truck at least a dozen times. The truck in question is a 1990 Chevy, which the famed statesman-thespian rented during his maiden Senate campaign in 1994. The idea was that Thompson would dress up in blue jeans and shabby boots and drive himself to campaign events around the state. Upon arriving, he'd mount the bed of the truck and launch into a homespun riff on the virtues of citizen-legislators and the perils of Washington insider-ism.

Off Message
April 09, 2007

There comes a point in the life of every fan when he must confront the mounting evidence that he and the rest of the world part company on the object of his fan-dom--and the rest of the world may have a point. I have in mind here such historic milestones as year four of the disastrous Bobby Bonilla experiment in New York, the year I fell out of love with the Mets. On paper, the Mets of early '90s vintage looked like world-beaters. Somewhere in the middle of their third consecutive losing season, however, it became clear that this team was never going to put it together.

Freaks and Geeks; How Freakonomics is ruining the dismal science.
April 02, 2007

Related Links: Steven Levitt's response to Scheiber's argument, and Scheiber's response to Levitt. One of the few papers I actually read as a grad student was written by a pair of economists named Josh Angrist and Alan Krueger. In the early '90s, Angrist and Krueger set off to resolve a question that had been gnawing at economists for decades: Does going to school increase your future wages? Intuitively, it seemed obvious that it did. When you compared the salaries of, say, Ph.D.s with those of high-school dropouts, the grad-school set almost always did better.

Freaks and Geeks
April 02, 2007

One of the few papers I actually read as a grad student was written by a pair of economists named Josh Angrist and Alan Krueger. In the early '90s, Angrist and Krueger set off to resolve a question that had been gnawing at economists for decades: Does going to school increase your future wages? Intuitively, it seemed obvious that it did. When you compared the salaries of, say, Ph.D.s with those of high-school dropouts, the grad-school set almost always did better. The question was whether education accounted for the difference.

Clever Economists
March 26, 2007

In the current issue, I criticize the recent rush by economists to produce cute and clever work, à la Freakonomics. But cleverness isn't always a bad quality in an economist.

The many conversions of Sam Brownback.; The Apostle
December 18, 2006

The many conversions of Sam Brownback.; The Apostle

More On The Bush Family
December 05, 2006

Three quick thoughts in response to Jason's post about Poppy and Jeb. First, it's not such a stretch for Jason to theorize that, deep down, H.W. might have preferred Jeb to be the son who ascended to the White House. The Bush family literature is filled with this kind of thing. For example, The Bushes, the tome written by Bush-family confidants Peter and Rochelle Schweizer, includes the following paragraph about H.W.'s thoughts during the 1994 campaign season: As the father watched his sons campaign, he offered his own assessments of their strengths.

Page Turner
October 30, 2006

It’s the afternoon of December 19, 1998, the day the House will impeach Bill Clinton, and one Republican representative can’t bring himself to vote. Not, as you might expect, because he’s torn between his partisan passions and constitutional principle—the representative has just delivered a screed pronouncing the president’s offenses impeachable. But because he literally can’t vote.

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