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This Week: Spotlight on Poverty. PLUS: Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up? | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

This Week: Spotlight on Poverty. PLUS: Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?

MITT ROMNEY: EXTREMIST IN PINSTRIPES. As Romney ascends to the GOP nomination, it’s time to start taking his extremist positions seriously. As I argued in the Washington Post this week, a close look at his stances on social issues, national security and particularly the economy reveals he’s clearly a reactionary candidate, camouflaged in corporate pinstripes. He’d repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform, outlaw women’s right to choose, ban same-sex marriage and establish a right-wing activist Supreme Court. He’d swell the defense budget and go to war with Iran over nukes. I joined MSNBC’s The Ed Show this week to explain that this former corporate raider, buoyed by right-wing money, is the vessel and vehicle of the Chamber of Commerce forces in this country.

THIS WEEK IN POVERTY. The Nation is expanding its coverage of poverty with a new feature at TheNation.com. “This Week in Poverty,” by Nation contributor Greg Kaufmann, offers key statistics that are too often ignored; provides updates on legislative efforts at the national, state, and local levels; reports on the battles activists are fighting in their communities; summarizes cutting-edge ideas, studies and proposals offered by antipoverty experts and organizations; finds opportunities for action, highlights programs that are working, busts myths and much more. Be sure to check back every Friday for the latest.

THE PROGRESSIVE ‘MANCRUSH’ ON RON PAUL. “What is it with progressive mancrushes on right-wing Republicans?” asks Nation columnist Katha Pollitt in a recent column. The newest object of progressive affection: Ron Paul. A small consensus on the left praises his libertarian “principles” and “values.” And to be sure, Paul has an advantage over his Republican rivals; he has an actual worldview rather than a set of interests, argues Pollitt. But “these are a handful of cherries on a blighted tree,” she writes. For more, read Katha’s take here. She joined Reason editor-in-chief Matt Welch on KAWL Your Call in San Francisco this week to explore Ron Paul’s growing appeal among progressives. That’s available here.

NATION CONVERSATIONS: LATINO VOTERS GO BEYOND IMMIGRATION. In this week’s episode of Nation Conversations, executive editor Betsy Reed talks to Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, whose piece in the current issue, “For Latinos in 2012, It’s Not Just About Immigration,” examines how the Obama administration must engage with Latino voters beyond just immigration policy and treat them as the “multi-issue electorate” they are. Obama will have to focus on creating jobs and improving education outcomes if he wants to attract a wider swath of Latino voters, she argues. Listen to this week’s episode here.

MELISSA-HARRIS PERRY: MSNBC’S NEW HOST. Congratulations to Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Perry, who’ll be joining former DC editor Chris Hayes with her own weekend show on MSNBC. A frequent contributor to the network, Melissa often guest-hosts The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Debuting February 4, you’ll be able to catch her on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to noon. She also joined Stephen Colbert this week to talk about her latest book, Sister Citizen. Watch that here.

WELCOME ILYSE HOGUE AND KATIE HALPER. We’re delighted to welcome two new voices to The Nation’s coverage of politics and social issues in this crucial election year. Ilyse Hogue, a Senior Adviser to Media Matters and former director of Political Advocacy and Communications at MoveOn.org, will be writing at TheNation.com on the nexus of politics, movements, new economies and culture. Her latest post, “Why the Obamas Should Embrace The Obamas,” examines the reactions to Jodi Kantor’s new book on the first family. Be sure to follow her on Twitter—@ilyseh. And welcome Katie Halper, a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker. She’ll be blogging for us on breaking news, politics and culture—with a humorous twist. Her latest post, “Top 3 Right-Wingers of the Week,” looks at three particularly over-the-top right-wing nuts. Read that here. And follow her on Twitter—@kthalps.

As always, thanks for reading. I’m on Twitter—@KatrinaNation. Please leave your comments below.

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