John Judis

John B. Judis is an editor at large at Talking Points Memo and the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.

Recent Articles

Below the Beltway:

C ritics of the bush administration's Iraq policy finally stepped forward -- and they are Republicans rather than Democrats. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger argue that the United States should attempt to contain Saddam Hussein diplomatically while giving equal, if not more, weight to securing Afghanistan and achieving peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Proponents of an immediate invasion fought back vigorously -- not by advancing a clearer version of their own but by impugning the critics' credentials. Whereas The Weekly Standard branded Scowcroft an "appeaser," The Wall Street Journal identified Scowcroft's views with those of the "anti-war left." The New York Sun enumerated Scowcroft's current business ties and his founding of a "front group" that includes a "plo apologist" on its board. As for Hagel, The Wall Street Journal' s editorial page accused him of trying to "grab a...

Why Democrats Must Be Populists

T he Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) can take credit for many of the Democratic Party's successes in the 1990s. It was instrumental in deflecting Republican charges that Democrats condoned crime, favored welfare over work, and backed higher deficits and taxes. But since the November 2000 election, the DLC and its leaders in Congress have waged a scorched-earth campaign against "populism" in the Democratic Party. This campaign, if successful, would deprive Democrats of what historically has been one of their most important ideological assets, and make it more difficult for the party to win back the majority that it lost to conservative Republicans in 1980. The DLC's campaign against populism was front and center at its convention last month in New York. DLC Chairman Al From warned that Democrats should not use the spate of recent corporate scandals to justify populist attacks against Republicans. "There's a difference between being cropped in the progressive tradition of American...

Unilateralism Revisited

A mong democratic politicians and political consultants, the accepted wisdom is that George W. Bush has been successful in foreign policy but a flop in domestic policy. This assessment is based more on polling than personal conviction, although some would-be presidential candidates, such as Rep. Dick Gephardt and Sen. John Kerry, have actually endorsed key parts of Bush's foreign policy. Yet when the wise men of the mid-21st century total up the pluses and minuses of this Bush administration, they may well conclude that the president's foreign-policy failings more than matched his domestic ones; and while his domestic policy was fiscally imprudent and fueled the country's financial unrest, his foreign policy was reckless and foolish and imperiled America's place in the world. Except for a brief respite after September 11, the Bush administration has supported what conservatives call "unilateralism" but really a variant of 1920s isolationism. The isolationists of the 1920s did not...

Is the Third Way Finished?

I n the last two years of his administration, Bill Clinton hosted three conferences on the "Third Way" that included British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Three years later, only Blair and Schröder are still in office, and Schröder may be gone by the end of September when he is up for re-election. Does this mean that the third way is finished, as the German newspaper Die Zeit recently concluded? As a movement of elected heads of state, it is certainly kaput, at least for the time being -- a victim of schisms on the left, imperfect execution, and the post-September 11 fear of immigrants. But it remains the primary political philosophy of the Democrats in the United States, Labour in Britain, and some of the Social Democratic -- and even Christian Democratic -- parties in Europe. It is the only politically viable alternative to laissez-faire...

Hidden Injuries of Class

T ake a good dose of free-market ideology, mix in political debts to your business backers and an overriding concern with re-election, and voila: You have the recipe for George W. Bush's domestic policies. The imperative of re-election has taken precedence over Bush's conservative convictions on some occasions, leading him to adopt policies like the tariffs on steel that have annoyed some of his business backers. But this doesn't happen often and hardly at all on complicated issues that don't receive widespread attention from the national media. Such has certainly been the case with many regulatory (or deregulatory) decisions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But nowhere has it been more apparent than in Bush's approach to worker health and safety. This issue is the all-time unsexy news story. It only gets attention when a mine explodes or a postal employee goes berserk. Yet it's of vital interest to just about every blue-collar...

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