The Week: Most Recent from Bill Scher recent posts.en-usWed, 09 Apr 2014 06:09:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent from Bill Scher from THE WEEKWed, 09 Apr 2014 06:09:00 -0400Don't fear the dynasty: Clinton vs. Bush would not doom democracy<img src="" /></P><p>Over the weekend, Jeb Bush cracked open the door to a possible 2016 run, which has already sparked a round of moaning that American democracy is being bigfooted by political dynasties. A contest against Hillary Clinton would mean that either a Bush or a Clinton has been on nearly every presidential ticket since 1980, and even Barbara Bush has lamented that we can't seem to find anyone from any other family to run for president. In <em>Politico</em>, Larry Sabato argued that eight more years under a Clinton or Bush would make America "monarchial," and undercut our ability to promote democracy abroad.</p><p>Please...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Wed, 09 Apr 2014 06:09:00 -0400Is bipartisan foreign policy making a comeback?<img src="" /></P><p>The partisan sniping surrounding Russia's annexation of Crimea is still hot. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently said the White House response to Russia's actions has been "timid." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) implied that Republicans deserve the blame, saying events may have "unfolded differently" if Republicans hadn't held up his Ukraine aid bill.</p><p>And yet, aid to Ukraine won a big bipartisan vote this week. Reid jettisoned a provision reforming the International Monetary Fund resisted by Republicans, and in return, Republicans are buttressing President Obama's approach to Russia...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Fri, 28 Mar 2014 06:08:00 -0400How Putin bolsters the case for American exceptionalism<img src="" /></P><p>Conservatives have long embraced the concept of American exceptionalism. Ronald Reagan often implied that America was uniquely blessed by God, citing a World War II-era quote from the Pope that "into the hands of America, God has placed the destinies of afflicted humanity." His vice president, George H. W. Bush, put it less eloquently when he said, "I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don't care what the facts are."</p><p>This theocratic, jingoistic version of American exceptionalism has long rubbed the Left the wrong way. Liberals bristled as conservatives used patriotism...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:00:00 -0400No, Congress is not done for the year<img src="" /></P><p>Barely halfway into the 113th Congress, some pundits are already writing the legislative body's obituary. <em>The Hill</em> declared, "Congress has in some ways already closed for business until after the midterm election. Any laws made between now and November will be minor." CNBC's Ben White similarly announced: "It may be only March but the legislative year in D.C. is basically over." In this view, immigration reform, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and even under-the-radar issues like transportation funding are all seen as D.O.A.</p><p>This pessimism is understandable. Our two major parties are more...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:00:00 -0400There's money in politics. Get over it.<img src="" /></P><p>News of billionaire Tom Steyer's plan to spend $100 million to elect pro-environment candidates provoked some interesting reactions on both the left and right. <em>New York Times</em> editorial board member David Firestone lamented, "Big money pollutes politics whether it comes from the Koch brothers...or from Mr. Steyer and his liberal friends." <em>The Guardian</em>'s Andy Kroll tut-tutted that Steyer's "big money" will "alienat[e] everyday precisely the time when their voices and their involvement are needed most."</p><p>Conservatives, normally champions of the notion that campaign money is a glorious...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Fri, 21 Feb 2014 06:08:00 -0500Why MSNBC's political scandal coverage is more powerful than Fox News'<img src="" /></P><p>In the latest Marist poll, Hillary Clinton is riding high, beating all possible Republican presidential candidates by at least eight points and most by double digits. Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) reputation has taken a big hit. His favorable rating is 13 points lower than his unfavorable rating. And Americans have shifted over the past month from believing Christie is "mostly telling the truth" about the infamous bridge lane closures, to now believing Christie is "mostly not telling the truth."</p><p>The change is all the more notable given the fact that Christie held a slight lead...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Mon, 17 Feb 2014 06:00:00 -0500The Mike Huckabee boomlet betrays the GOP's lack of seriousness<img src="" /></P><p>Since Mike Huckabee delivered his anti-contraception "Uncle Sugar" speech to the RNC two weeks ago, he has catapulted to the top of two GOP presidential primary polls.</p><p>Yes, that is what it takes to become the Republican frontrunner these days. Not innovative policy solutions. Not an impressive legislative record. No, what you need is to let loose a politically incorrect swipe at a liberal caricature, stir up a bunch of media outrage, and Republican primary voters will want to give you the nuclear codes.</p><p>The Republican Party is suffering record low favorability and struggling to be seen as capable...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Tue, 04 Feb 2014 10:20:00 -0500Will Republicans raise the minimum wage? History says yes.<img src="" /></P><p>Republicans may not have applauded when President Obama called for Congress to raise the minimum wage in his State of the Union address, but if history is any guide, it's a good bet they will eventually do just that.</p><p>Since the minimum wage was established in 1938, every president, Republican or Democrat, except for Ronald Reagan has signed an increase into law. And in almost every instance, the bill came to the president's desk with a big bipartisan vote from Congress. When Democrats crank up the pressure &mdash; and are willing to compromise with business interests &mdash; Republicans have routinely...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:08:00 -0500Does it matter if Edward Snowden is a Russian spy?<img src="" /></P><p>We already know that Edward Snowden is dependent on the Russian government to keep him out of reach of the American justice system. But accusations have recently been made that Snowden's relationship with the Kremlin goes much deeper than we previously suspected.</p><p>On Sunday, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) strongly suggested that Edward Snowden stole NSA secrets with help from Russia, though Rogers declined to provide any evidence to back that suggestion.</p><p>The following day, <em>The New Republic</em>'s Sean Wilentz published a harsh profile chronicling the backgrounds of Snowden and his...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:37:00 -0500If Chris Christie goes down, who can Republican moderates turn to?<img src="" /></P><p>The moderate wing of the Republican Party was already on its last feathers, but some fearful of a Tea Party takeover hoped blue state Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) would let them fly again. However, with Christie's political career suddenly in jeopardy, Republican moderates may find themselves with no strong alternatives. And they may start to ask themselves: Why am I still in this party?</p><p>Betting on Christie should have always made moderates nervous. Lurking behind that cheerful pugnacity is a reckless streak, which emerged when he thought it wise to publicly berate a school teacher in the closing...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Wed, 15 Jan 2014 15:08:00 -0500Cabinet officials going rogue: A brief history<img src="" /></P><p>Washington is predictably hyperventilating about the swipes against the Obama White House delivered by his former secretary of defense in a new memoir, but the fact that a cabinet official had differences of opinion with a president is hardly a shocking development. Pick any history book about a presidential administration, and you will find loads of palace intrigue, bruised egos, grudge matches, and sharp words from those who lost internal arguments.</p><p>Furthermore, battles between presidents and cabinet members have been known to be far nastier than anything revealed by Gates.</p><p>You may recall that...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Thu, 09 Jan 2014 10:52:00 -0500How the budget deal could pave the way for immigration reform<img src="" /></P><p>The two-year bipartisan budget deal passed by the House Thursday night potentially will do more than just dispel the atmosphere of chronic crisis in Washington, which has driven Congress' approval rating to record lows. The Capitol stage is now set for an even bigger bipartisan achievement: Immigration reform.</p><p>The immigration issue was set to come to a head last fall, after immigration advocates ran circles around the Tea Party during the August recess to whip up support for the bipartisan Senate bill. While Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was resistant to the Senate&rsquo;s comprehensive approach...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Fri, 13 Dec 2013 06:07:00 -0500Why we shouldn't celebrate Mandela's militancy<img src="" /></P><p>While most Nelson Mandela tributes highlight his dignity while incarcerated and his magnanimity toward his former foes once free, there is a strain of commentary on the left arguing we should also emphasize, and even celebrate, the violent militancy that led him to prison in the first place.</p><p>Bob Herbert writes in <em>Jacobin</em> that Mandela's "primary significance" was not his "willingness to lock arms or hold hands" with his former oppressors, but his "unshakable resolve to do whatever was necessary to bring those enemies to their knees" and the "fierceness" of his "militancy." <em>Salon</em>'s Natasha Lennard...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:19:00 -0500No, Obama doesn't have to fire everybody in the White House<img src="" /></P><p>In the wake of the disastrous rollout of, President Obama's inner circle is taking a pounding.</p><p>Several anonymous Democrats recently dumped on Obama's White House political aides in the pages of <em>The Hill</em> newspaper, suggesting they should be fired for dropping the ball on their boss's top domestic priority.</p><p>Ron Fournier took a more direct approach. In a <em>National Journal</em> piece titled "Fire Your Team, Mr. President," Fournier argued that Obama will never regain his standing with the public unless he overhauls his staff "so thoroughly that the new blood imposes change on how he manages...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Thu, 05 Dec 2013 06:06:00 -0500Is John Kerry a better secretary of State than Hillary Clinton?<img src="" /></P><p>Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was christened a "rock-star diplomat" by <em>The New York Times</em> as her tenure was winding down. Her successor, John Kerry, was recently mocked by <em>Washington Post</em> columnist Jackson Diehl as a "self-deceiving bumbler."</p><p>But now Kerry has achieved something that his predecessor never did: A breakthrough peace agreement.</p><p>Does this mean that in less than a year Kerry has proven himself the better of President Obama's two secretaries of state?</p><p>It's too early to make a definitive assessment. Kerry's Iran deal is a temporary one, and we don't know if it will lead...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Tue, 26 Nov 2013 06:09:00 -0500Why the left is terrified of a Hillary Clinton coronation<img src="" /></P><p>Nearly every poll about the 2016 presidential race shows Hillary Clinton scooping up about two of out every three Democratic primary voters and leading every possible Republican contender.</p><p>As a mainstream left-of-center Democrat, she would extend Obama's policy legacy, and in turn, help facilitate a generational ideological shift. At the same time, the bitter 2008 primary allows her to avoid being perceived as an Obama clone, so she can distance herself from any unpopular aspect of Obama's tenure.</p><p>As a woman president, she would be a historic first. She has as complete a resume as anyone could...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-scher" ><span class="byline">Bill Scher</span></a>Wed, 20 Nov 2013 11:25:00 -0500