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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.

Why Won't Congress Reform the No Child Left Behind Act?

When No Child Left Behind was signed into law 2001, lawmakers knew that mandating 100 percent student proficiency in math and reading by 2014 was unrealistic. But they assumed that by 2009, at the latest, Congress would reform and reauthorize the law and in the process adjust some of its unfeasible mandates.

Now it’s 2011, and Congress has yet to update NCLB. This failure means that 80 percent of Americans schools will be designated as “failing” when school begins in a few weeks. On MSNBC, Dana Goldstein says that Congress has been unable to pass NCLB reform because the Tea Party has eroded the decade long bipartisan consensus on education policy. For more from Goldstein and education reform, read her recent post, “Matt Damon, Arne Duncan and the Divisive Teacher-Quality Debate.”

Kevin Donohoe

A Tale of Two Michel(l)es: Bachmann and Obama

On the campaign trail in 2008, Michelle Obama spoke at a rally and told the American people that for the first time in her adult life, “I am proud of my country.” The backlash was swift, as news commentators and politicians of all creeds and colors—black, white, male and female—implied that she was Barack Obama’s angry, bitter wife. In other words, they could not understand Michelle Obama outside of the "angry black woman” stereotype.

Before winning the Iowa Straw Poll this past weekend, however, Michele Bachmann made a similar statement. But instead of being lambasted for not appreciating her country, the media has ignored her almost identical comment.

On MSNBC’s The Last Word last night, Melissa Harris-Perry offered a comparison of the two responses, and her own definition of equality: “We will be an equal society when we can all celebrate and criticize our country together.”

Anna Lekas Miller

The Last of Wisconsin's Recall Elections

After a summer of outside money and fake candidates, Wisconsin’s historic recall elections are finally over. Despite the media’s coverage of the “failed recall elections,” the actual numbers show that Democrats won five seats while Republicans won four…an overall victory for Democrats. Not only is the state Senate only one seat away from having a Democratic majority, but one of the moderate Republicans currently in the senate was against Scott Walker’s union-busting agenda. In other words, Wisconsin has a pro-union state Senate.

The Nation’s John Nichols joins The Ed Show to discuss what the victory means for Scott Walker’s anti-union political agenda.

Anna Lekas Miller

How Did Michele Bachmann Win the Iowa Straw Poll?

This weekend, Representative Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll, securing her a place as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Originally seen as a long-shot candidate, Bachmann's ability to successfully fuse the small government, anti-tax rhetoric of the Tea Party with the ideology of the religious right has allowed her to emerge as a viable for the nomination.  

On Democracy Now! this morning, Sarah Posner explained how candidates like Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Representative Ron Paul are using a small government message to appeal to both fiscal and social conservatives. You can find Posner's latest article on the Iowa straw poll here

Kevin Donohoe

In Wisconsin, Did Democratic Strategists Tell Candidates to 'Soften' Their Pro-Labor Message?

In Tuesday’s recall elections in Wisconsin, Democrats ousted two Republican incumbents but were unable to win enough seats to take control of the State Senate. That may be because Democratic strategists advised candidates to avoid discussing union issues and to “soften and dumb down” their pro-labor message. 

On MSNBC’s Hardball, John Nichols discusses why the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, and President Obama, have been reluctant to defend working people and advance a pro-labor, pro-jobs agenda—and how that reluctance may cost them in future elections. 

Kevin Donohoe

Ari Berman: The Not-So-Super Committee

Nancy Pelosi finally added her three selections to the “Super Committee” of twelve congresspersons tasked with deciding how to cut $1.2 trillion dollars from the federal budget—and with her selections comes some welcome racial diversity in a group of otherwise predominantly white men. However, although every Republican member of the committee signed Grover Norquist’s pledge not to increase taxes, one of the Republican selections, Michigan’s David Camp, has claimed that he may consider the forbidden tax increases, showing that anything is possible for the next three months of debate before the cuts must be finalized.

The Nation’s Ari Berman comments on Nancy Pelosi’s final selections for the “Super Committee” and the fate of the budget on Countdown. For more from Berman, read “The Real Problem with the Congressional ‘Super-Committee’.”

Anna Lekas Miller

How Will Religion Influence the 2012 Presidential Race?

Why is religion featuring so prominently in the Republican presidential race? What happened to jobs?

On her Sound Off segment on MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry argues that religion has been central to Republican party politics for more than a decade. After 9/11, faith became a central part of conservatives' electoral strategy as politicians tapped anti-Muslim anxiety to gain votes. But Harris-Perry reminds us that not all people of faith are conservative, and that religious voters could make issues of equality and social justice a major part of the 2012 election. 

Kevin Donohoe 

GOP Works to Block Obama's Recess Appointments

Congress is technically on recess—but the Republican Congress is still holding symbolic meetings to prevent President Obama's recess appointments. This is the latest in a long campaign to block Obama's nominees—in particular women and people of color—from getting a vote. 

It says volumes that this Congress has found a means to hinder our government and halt economic recovery even while they are on "vacation." The Nation's Ari Melber joins The Dylan Ratigan Show for The Daily Rant, deconstructing the GOP tactics to block Obama's progressive nominees at all costs. 

Anna Lekas Miller

John Nichols: Wisconsin May Now Have a Pro-Labor Senate Majority

In last night's special recall elections in Wisconsin, Democrats and progressive groups managed to oust incumbent Republican state senators in two of the state's most conservative districts. While Republicans still hold a 17-16 majority in the State Senate, the Democrats could now form a 17-16 pro-labor coalition with moderate Republican State Senator Dale Schultz, who earlier this year voted against Governor Scott Walker's attack on unions.

On Democracy Now! this morning, John Nichols explained why last night was a victory for progressives and whether activists will now try to recall Governor Walker. You can read Nichols' latest post on the recall elections here

Kevin Donohoe

As Go Unions, So Goes the Middle Class

The fate of America’s unions and the fate of our middle class are inextricably intertwined. More than any other movement, the labor movement has worked to ensure essential benefits and working conditions for ordinary Americans, creating a long-term recipe for prosperity. Unions are the bedrock of the Democratic party, funding and supporting candidates who campaigned on the platform of the middle and working classes.

But are Democrats willing to hit back when unions are attacked? Barbara Ehrenreich, sociologist and author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, joins Rachel Maddow to discuss the absence and need for a populist economic dialogue on the Democrats’ campaign trail. 

Anna Lekas Miller

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