June 11, 2012
One demographic has plagued Obama since his primary duel with Hillary Clinton: white voters without a college degree. Although Obama ultimately won enough white non-college voters to win the presidency in 2008, his performance was underwhelming by historic standards. And over the last four years, Obama’s already tepid support among white voters without a college degree has collapsed. At the same time, the “newer” elements of the Democratic coalition—college educated and non-white voters—have continued to offer elevated levels of support to the president.
Last week, a New York Times/CBS poll found that only 44 percent of Americans approve of the Supreme Court’s job performance and 75 percent say the justices are sometimes influenced by their political views. But although the results of the poll were striking, commentators may have been too quick to suggest a direct link between the two findings.
June 08, 2012
The Politics of Stupid, In Real Time
The conservative reactions showed up in my twitter feed within a few seconds, the first missive from the Republican National Committee came through e-mail not long after that.
In the wake of the failed Wisconsin recall vote we're hearing an awful lot about those spoiled government employees with their flush pay packages and their godawful unions. The worst, of course, are the teachers' unions. They are responsible for everything that's gone wrong in America today. Government leaders urge that they restrain their demands, but in vain. But according to this June 5 article from the Dallas Morning News, Dallas's incoming superintendent of schools--a government leader, right?-- will enjoy a base salary of $300,000. His chief of staff will make $225,000.
Calling Truce in the 'Leak Wars'
POLITICO, in its tireless quest to drain the word “war” of meaning, is gleefully covering what it calls “the leak wars”—the burgeoning dispute between the White House and Republicans over a recent spate of national security scoops in the New York Times. After revelations in the Times about President Obama’s so-called “Kill List” and the use of cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear program, Republicans are accusing the White House of leaking important national security secrets to the paper of record just to make the president look tough.
The latest sign of rightward drift in American politics, or at least the Republican Party, came this week when Politico reported that Mitt Romney had asked Michael Leavitt to begin preparing for the transition, in case Romney wins. Leavitt is a former Republican governor of Utah and former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. In normal times, those credentials would be more than enough to satisfy most conservatives.
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s star has been rising for what seems like an eternity. His fame rests largely upon a number of almost absurdly heroic acts, which have varied from harrowing to Hollywood-esque: saving a resident from a burning building, cradling a twelve-year-old dying from gunshot wounds, hunger-striking for better police protection in the projects, sleeping in a trailer for five months to halt open-air drug markets. Along with Booker’s media-friendly persona, these superhero moves have ensured a steady stream of adulation.
ONE YOUNG Englishman was exhilarated by the queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as he had been ten years earlier when the Golden Jubilee had celebrated her first half-century on the throne. Then twelve years old, he had written to his mother: “P.S. Remember the Jubilee,” followed by a series of letters begging to be taken to see the great event. They were signed, “Your loving son Winny.” That Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, in the summer of 1887, had seen European royalty gather in Westminster Abbey, while across the land, bonfires were lit. In A.E.
June 07, 2012
Lab-Conditions Tax Avoidance
Is the American public's distaste for taxation irrational? A 2011 paper by Abigail B. Sussman, a graduate student in psychology at Princeton, and Christopher Y. Olivola, a fellow in behavioral science at the University of Warwick, suggests that it is. The paper, published last year in the Journal of Marketing Research (and flagged today by the Russell Sage Foundation's Twitter feed) found that between two ways to save money--(legal) tax avoidance or straight-up discount--more people will choose the former than the latter, even when the latter saves an equal or even greater amount of money.