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Adam Howard

Adam Howard is the former Assistant Web Editor of The Nation and currently the News Editor of The Grio.


  • January 6, 2010

    2010 Isn’t 1994…Yet

    With the revelation last night/this morning that veteran Democratic Senators Christopher Dodd(CT) and Byron Dorgan (ND) are not seeking re-electionthis year, the mainstream press is going wild with speculation that theseretirements herald doom for the Democrats in this year's midtermelections. This is despite that fact that they are almost a year awayand that six, count 'em (Bunning, Brownback, LeMieux, Bond,Gregg, and Voinovich) six, GOP senators are retiring this year as well asseveral other Republicans in the House.Still, a narrative is forming (and we all know how powerful politicalnarratives can be) and if Obama and the Democrats don'tget in front of this soon it could become a self-fulfillingprophesy--the pundits have decided it's 1994 all over again.

    For those youngsters out there who may not remember, in November of '94Congressional approval was at an all-time low and President Clinton's approval numbers weremired in the low 40s after his failure to pass healthcare reform. The result was a Republican landslide that dominated Congress until 2006. But2010 can be different and in some ways it already is. The public clearlyhas a lot more good will in the bank for Obama, he remains close to orat 50 percent approval in most public opinion polls--despite roughly six months of consistently bad press. Healthcare reform will likely be passed by the end of this month, albeit a comprised bill, but a political and strategic victory nonetheless. In addition if the Democrats get aggressive on immigration, education and climate change (which are all on the legislative agenda for this year) and continue to rack up victories it'll be easier to contrast themselves with "TheParty of No". Naturally there needs to be significant movement on jobstoo by the White House and Democrats in Congress, my hunch is that 10percent number hovers like a shadow over anything the party in powerdoes.

    True, losing Dorgan (as JohnNichols writes) is a significant blow. He was a strong progressivein an undeniably right-leaning state and it will be exceedingly difficultfor any other Democrat to replace him. ChrisDodd, on the other hand, despite having many virtues, was totally tainted by scandal(even Michael Moore went after him in Capitalism: A LoveStory) and was likely to lose his re-election campaign. Hisdeparture, while perhaps bittersweet, clears theway for Connecticut's popular Democratic attorney general, RichardBlumenthal, to capture his seat. It seems unlikely to me that aprogressive state like Connecticut would send a Republican to representtheir state alongside nominal Independent Joe Lieberman.

    Adam Howard

  • November 12, 2009

    Carrie Prejean: An All-American Sore Loser

     

    Permit me to borrow one our president's most famous turns ofphrase--Carrie Prejean's story could "only happen in America." Most ofus who don't consume a daily diet of shows like Access Hollywoodand TMZ would normally not have heard of Miss Prejean, but now that she'sbecome a regular on Fox News, an author and poster child for "Palinized" conservative women everywhere--she's almost unavoidable. Most recently she appeared on Larry King Live, where she repeatedly snapped at the septuagenarian host for being "inappropriate."

     

     

    For the uninitiated, a quick recap:

     

     

    Carrie Prejean was competing the Donald Trump-funded Miss USA pageant, and was representing California. Apparently she was well ahead in points when she reached the question-and-answer segment. Openly gay blogger Perez Hilton, serving as a judge, asked her about her position on same-sex marriage. To which she replied (emphasis mine):

     

    Adam Howard

  • October 26, 2009

    The ‘Beneath the Presidency’ Routine

     

    The far right's latest attack line on President Obama is not assubtle as they think it is. By calling his administration's war of wordswith Fox News "beneath the presidency" --conservatives hope to add fuel to the fire of a potent and potentially racist, ideological effort to delegitimize the president. They've employed this tactic earlier but less histrionically when Obama became the first sitting president to appear on The Tonight Show and again when he courted the 2016 Olympics for Chicago, but it's really taken off with regards to the Fox News fight.

     

     

    Whether you believe the president is right or wrong to challenge Fox News (I happen to agree with Slate's Jacob Weisberg, I believe he's right), it's pretty petty and profoundly ironic that the very people who excused George W. Bush's frequent malapropisms, carefree warmaking and authorization of torture as bold leadership now hope to marginalize Obama for publicly rebuking Fox News. As Amanda Terkel of Think Progress points out:

     

     

     

    Bush also called a New York Times reporter "a major league asshole" -- and never apologized. In fact, Bush never gave the NYT a single interview throughout his presidency. The White House frequently went after NBC News, and Perino has admitted that they essentially froze out MSNBC "towards the end."

     

     

    Adam Howard

  • Healthcare Policy September 29, 2009

    Democrats Don’t Deliver Healthcare Reform… Again

    Five Democratic senators on the Senate Finance Committee helped defeat a public option; do they really think that will advance reform--or even their political careers?

    Adam Howard

  • September 22, 2009

    Capitalism: A Love Story–An Early Review

     

    Last night I attended a press screening of Michael Moore's new filmCapitalism: A Love Story. As with all of his films it made animmediate, strong impression on me and it also surprised me a little, mythoughts are below and yes, this contains some spoilers sobeware...

     

     

    First off, the film in some ways made me realize how familiar MichaelMoore's filmmaking has become--this is arguably a detriment to hismessage and possibly a slight to his directorial prowess but as fan Ihave come to enjoy his usual gimmicks and this film is chock full ofthem:

     

     

    The moving personal testimonials: Families recount learning thatcompanies had profited from large insurances policies taken out on theirtragically deceased loved ones--this sequence literally made me want tocall my Congressman to express my outrage.

     

    Adam Howard

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  • Political Figures July 20, 2009

    No More Excuses, Mr. President

    President Obama brought the house down at the NAACP centennial celebration with yet another stirring speech on race. But if his deeds don't begin to match his words, he's going to have a lot of explaining to do.

    Adam Howard

  • Election 2008 September 29, 2008

    Will Letterman and Saturday Night Live Help Defeat McCain?

    If Letterman and Saturday Night Live continue to cast McCain as a liar, it could have a devastating impact.

    Adam Howard

  • September 24, 2008

    McCain’s Major Meltdown

     

    In the wake of several new polls showing Barack Obama's lead widening inthe presidential race--which has been attributed to the public's perception that he is the better candidate on the economy--John McCain has made a

     

     

    He has requested that their foreign-policy themed debate, long scheduledfor this Friday, be postponed so that he and Senator Obama can reacha bipartisan solution to the ongoing economic crisis. Here is an excerptfrom McCain's statement:

     

     

     

    Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have sincediscussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administrationhas put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities andconcerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talkabout the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take goingforward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear theirperspective.

     

     

    Adam Howard

  • September 13, 2008

    Thank God for Barbara Walters?

     

    I never thought I'd say this--but thank God for Barbara Walters. I have been waiting patiently for the election's narrative to shift from pigs wearing lipstick to the issues, but I never thought that the usually grating hosts of The View would help supply it. On a day when Obama launched fresh, stronger ads taking on McCain, Sarah Palin's husband was subpoenaed because of "Trooper-gate" and Palin finally admitted that she had indeed once supported the "Bridge to Nowhere"--The View made the front page of the New York Times website. Why? Because unlike so many other mainstream journalists right now, Barbara Walters actually did her job yesterday.

     

     

    John McCain appeared on her show Friday morning in an obvious atempt to pander to its audience of mostly middle aged, white women. According to recent polls, the choice of Palin as a running mate has helped McCain make serious inroads with that demographic and he must have assumed an easy, softball interview on The View would only continue to improve his fortunes. Especially since the show features one of his most unambiguously eager beaver supporters, right-winger Elisabeth Hasselbeck. But instead the show's only experienced journalist, Barbara Walters, flanked by entertainers Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg took John McCain to task on a host of real issues like Palin's experience (or lack thereof), abortion and earmarks. To say that McCain was floundering would be a tremendous understatement. Take this exchange and analysis from the New York Times for instance:

     

     

     

    Ms. Walters also noted that Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have said that her job will be to reform Washington. But, she pointed out, Mr. McCain has been in Congress for 22 years, the Republicans have been in the White House for eight years, so who, exactly, is Ms. Palin going to reform?

     

     

    Adam Howard

  • September 9, 2008

    The Short Attention Span Society

     

    I wake up this morning and The Today Show informs me that suddenly after a week of hearing about Obama's post-convention bounce,John McCain is now ahead and has all the momentum. Supposedly whitewomen voters, who as recently as last week were supporting Obama nearly10 percent more than McCain, were now supporting McCain 12 percent more than Obama. Naturally the on-air pundits attributed nearly all of this to the surprise addition of Sarah Palin to the GOP ticket, but would that many white female voters simply switch sides like that? Are they that ideologically flexible?

     

     

    I have this regular debate with my fellow progressive friends aboutwhether voters are simply stupid. I always play devil's advocate andargue that the voters are not stupid, just misinformed. That a barrageof 24-hour cable news numbs them and makes them more susceptible thanthey should be to the ignorant and blatantly false arguments ofthe right. But lately I haven't been so sure.

     

     

    It's not that the Obama campaign is flawless or has perfected itsmessaging--it hasn't. But by all accounts McCain's convention speechwas a dud. He didn't address the number one issue in the country--theeconomy--in any remotely substantive way, he was heckled, stood in fronta picture of a high school (that was meant to be Walter Reed Hospital),chewed up most of his air-time recounting his days as a POW--whichliterally every speaker before him had already done--and was thoroughlyupstaged (and continues to be) by his own running mate. This should havebeen a recipe for disaster, right?

     

    Adam Howard