Nick Baumann

Nick Baumann

Senior Editor

Nick is based in our DC bureau, where he covers national politics and civil liberties issues. Nick has also written for The Economist, The Atlantic, the Washington Monthly, and Commonweal. Email tips and insights to nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com. You can also follow him on Facebook.

Get my RSS |

The Super-Close Senate Race You've Never Heard Of

| Fri Oct. 31, 2008 5:40 PM EDT

Jim-Martin-300x200.jpg

In 2002, Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss was running against Senator Max Cleland (D-Ga.), in one of the most bitter races of that election cycle. With 9/11 still fresh, Chambliss ran an attack ad featuring a photo of Osama bin Laden that accused Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee, of not having the "courage to lead" on national security. The ad worked; Chambliss won. But even Republicans thought the attack on Cleland's patriotism was over the top: Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) called it "beyond offensive." This year, Democrats are looking to get their revenge by kicking Chambliss to the curb. And they think Jim Martin, a longtime state legislator and former candidate for lieutenant governor, is just the man to avenge Cleland.

Can Democrats really pick up a seat in deep-red Georgia? Until late September, it didn't look possible. Chambliss led by a 17-point margin in a poll released on September 16. But as the economy worsened, Chambliss suddenly appeared vulnerable. Now most polls have Martin within a few points. Martin has yet to show a lead in a major non-partisan poll, but Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com thinks the polls are "lowballing" Martin and the race is closer than it seems:

Advertise on MotherJones.com

MotherJones.com: Like Getting the Paper Six Months Early

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 1:23 PM EDT

Back in March, Stephanie Mencimer wrote a story for MotherJones.com about Daniel Troy, the former chief counsel to the Food and Drug Administration. As FDA, chief, Troy introduced a questionable legal theory called preemption, in which agency lawyers would show up in state courts and argue that companies whose products had been approved by the FDA were protected from lawsuits even if they injured people in violation of state laws. Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee released a report (PDF) revealing that "key FDA career officials strongly objected to Bush Administration drug labeling regulations that would preempt state liability lawsuits." According to the report, FDA career officials said "that the central justifications for the regulations were 'false and misleading'" and warned "that the changes would deprive consumers of timely information about drug hazards." In her story, Stephanie explained how much the FDA's embrace of preemption represented a break from the past:

What's The Problem With Conservative Columnists?

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 12:45 PM EDT

kristol.jpg

"Many of them lie in print," says New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, speaking to the Guardian about U2 frontman Bono joining the Times' op-ed page.

Hey, Andrew? Isn't it your job to make sure the columnists you publish don't "lie in print"? Or do you just believe that the facts have a liberal bias and allowing conservative columnists to lie is your misguided attempt at "balance"?

In not-unrelated news, Bill Kristol will be on the Daily Show Thursday night.

(h/t Brian Beutler)

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.): Palin's Not Ready

| Mon Oct. 27, 2008 2:18 PM EDT

In an interview with his home-state paper, the Omaha World-Herald, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), says Sarah Palin "doesn't have any foreign policy credentials.":

You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything.... I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia.' ... That kind of thing is insulting to the American people.... [I]n a world that is so complicated, so interconnected and so combustible, you really got to have some people in charge that have some sense of the bigger scope of the world. ... I think that's just a requirement.

Hagel, who is retiring, is perhaps the most outspoken Republican critic of the Iraq war in Congress. Hagel traveled with Barack Obama and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) when Obama visited Iraq earlier this year. And Hagel's wife, Lilibet Hagel, endorsed Obama earlier this month. Now the Senator himself has become the most prominent Republican critic of Sarah Palin, his own party's VP pick. Could a formal endorsement of Obama be coming before the election?

Mon Jul. 21, 2014 6:00 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 4, 2013 11:23 AM EST
Tue Nov. 6, 2012 9:47 PM EST
Fri Sep. 21, 2012 5:40 PM EDT
Sun Aug. 19, 2012 6:21 PM EDT
Mon Jul. 30, 2012 11:16 AM EDT
Mon Jul. 9, 2012 10:04 AM EDT
Thu Jun. 28, 2012 12:40 PM EDT
Wed Jun. 20, 2012 7:30 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 11, 2012 10:32 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 4, 2012 9:43 AM EDT
Wed May. 9, 2012 3:01 AM EDT
Tue Mar. 20, 2012 11:15 AM EDT
Fri Feb. 10, 2012 1:56 PM EST