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Trump: Roots of improvisation

Lawrence Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Right-Wing Studies | August 27, 2016

From the very start of his campaign, Donald Trump’s case for his superior qualification for the presidency has rested on his vaunted deal-making ability. Here is an excerpt from a fund-raising email his campaign sent around on August 23: “I’ve built my career…by making great deals. I’m known for it — I even wrote a … Continue reading »

Today’s American political dysfunction

Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong | August 30, 2013

Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute have a very nice op-ed this morning about America’s political dysfunction. I, however, found it sad: their fantasy is for pressure to work in America’s interest to be directed toward Speaker of the House Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell by… … Continue reading »

How to never win another election

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | November 16, 2012

Suppose you have just been defeated in a tough political contest. Suppose further that it was one that, in your heart, you expected and felt entitled to win. Suppose in addition that most serious analysts attributed your loss, to a significant extent , to your antagonizing several key groups of voters: African Americans, women, Latinos, … Continue reading »

The verdict on class and voting

Michael Hout, professor emeritus of sociology and demography | November 13, 2012

Class issues stood out more in the 2012 presidential election than in previous ones, even more than in 2008. The campaigns invoked, as always, issues of all sorts, but seldom in American politics are the issues of class so prominent as they were this year. Governor Romney’s personal wealth and how he accumulated it were … Continue reading »

Democracy as dialogue — and the peril of excluding women from the conversation

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | November 8, 2012

Americans are rightly proud of our increasingly democratic form of government. But too often we call ourselves a “democracy” without asking just what that means, or ought to mean. If we were to do so, we might discover that we are less democratic than we think. Occasionally, too, the inability of some candidates for electoral … Continue reading »

What would Romney do? How reelection strategy could shape a Romney presidency

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 5, 2012

If Romney is elected president tomorrow, the sun will still rise in the east and sea will still be salty.  Beyond that, predictions about a Romney presidency become more difficult, given his exceptionally inconsistent history on the issues. As I showed in an earlier post, Romney’s views about environmental and energy issues flipped 180° between … Continue reading »

From green governor to conservative candidate: The amazing transformation of Mitt Romney

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 30, 2012

“EPA New England applauds Governor Romney for his strong environmental leadership.” That quote from EPA’s regional director in 2004 shows the extent of Romney’s transformation in the past eight years. It’s no secret that Mitt Romney’s current views on many issues differ from his actions as Governor of Massachusetts.  Still, it’s a bit shocking to … Continue reading »

Romney vs. disaster assistance

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 29, 2012

In assessing Mitt Romney’s argument that disaster response should be a purely state responsibility, we should consider his record in Massachusetts. In his last year as governor, Romney refused to provide state assistance when major floods hit western Massachusetts., even though the state government had ample funds.  Romney had already begun to run for President, … Continue reading »

Romney vs. Obama: Showdown at the auto CAFE

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 26, 2012

Perhaps lost in the media focus on the Republican convention, the Obama Administration created CAFE standards two months ago.  (CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy, a fancy name for gas-mileage rules.)  Romney immediately attacked the rules.  It’s a very revealing – not to mention acrimonious — dispute. According to the Administration, the new standards … Continue reading »

Neoncons and the foreign-policy presidential debate: The ism that dare not speak its name

Lawrence Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Right-Wing Studies | October 23, 2012

In Monday’s final presidential debate, President Barack Obama came full circle and more from his conflict-averse showing in the first debate. Obama not only attacked his opponent, but, in the absence of much challenge from Mitt Romney, took it upon himself to raise the very points required to mount his attacks. For the most part, … Continue reading »

Climate change and tonight’s debate

Dan Farber, professor of law | October 22, 2012

A key issue is missing from the list of topics for tonight’s debate. Climate change is a global problem with global impacts, ultimately requiring a global solution.  Climate change is a threat multiplier from the point of view of national security, intensifying the risk of international conflict and terrorism. (See here for more.) It has … Continue reading »

How to put the shine on Romney’s jobs plan

Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong | October 18, 2012

The scary thing is that in three hours I could write a 1,000-word study with tables and charts projecting that the Romney plan will generate 12 million jobs before 2017. It’s trivially easy to do: Project labor force growth over 2000-2008 forward–thus you have already baked the retirement of the baby boomers into your projections. … Continue reading »

It’s about the dog

Lisa García Bedolla, chancellor's professor, education and political science | October 17, 2012

After watching the second presidential debate, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the dog. When I first heard the story that Mitt Romney had strapped their dog, Seamus, to the roof of their car on a trip to Canada, the dog lover in me was horrified that a pet owner could do such a … Continue reading »

Memo to the President: Your next debate

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | October 15, 2012

To: POTUS From: Robert Reich RE: Upcoming debate Your passive performance in the last debate was damaging because it reenforced the Republican claim that you’ve been too passive in getting jobs back and in responding to terrorism abroad. That doesn’t mean you have to “come out swinging” this time. You need to be yourself, and … Continue reading »

Why Obama lost the first debate

George Lakoff, professor of linguistics | October 5, 2012

You don’t win a presidential debate by being a policy wonk. Obama violated all the basics of presidential debating.  The best defense is a good offense. You have to set the terms of the debate and press those terms. Obama failed. Here are those basics: State your moral values. Contrast them with your opponent’s. Project … Continue reading »

Was debate #1 a Pyrrhic victory?

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | October 4, 2012

Debate 1 is over, and the pundits have declared Mitt Romney the victor. The only remaining question is: was his victory overwhelming, or did Romney only win because Obama didn’t? That is today’s story. But will it be the way we tell it after November 7? On the surface it seems set in stone: Romney … Continue reading »

The first presidential debate

Robert Reich, professor of public policy |

In Wednesday night’s debate, Romney won on style while Obama won on substance. Romney sounded as if he had conviction, which means he’s either convinced himself that the lies he tells are true or he’s a fabulous actor. But what struck me most was how much Obama allowed Romney to get away with: Five times … Continue reading »

Democrats finally get a framing win with ‘Vouchercare’

David Aaker, professor emeritus of marketing and public policy | September 24, 2012

Democrats always seem to lose the all-important discussion framing battle. But with “vouchercare,” they’ve finally won one. “Vouchercare” describes the republican approach to the reform of Medicare. It frames the discussion around the concept that a fixed price voucher will be given to retired people who must then accept the risk that the insurance industry … Continue reading »

Four reasons why Romney might still win

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | September 21, 2012

Can Romney possibly recover? A survey conducted between Sept. 12 and Sept. 16 by the Pew Research Center — before the “47 percent victim” video came to light – showed Obama ahead of Romney 51% to 43% among likely voters. That’s the biggest margin in the September survey prior to a presidential election since Bill … Continue reading »

The 47% charge in U.S. history

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | September 19, 2012

There are many angles — and many comments on each angle — to Mitt Romney’s statement that 47% of American voters are “dependent upon government, … believe that they are victims, … believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, … that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to … Continue reading »