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Steve Benen
Works at MSNBC
Attended George Washington University
Lives in Essex Junction, Vermont
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, May 22, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* When it comes to social issues and the so-called "culture war," one thing is certain: It's a whole new day (http://on.msnbc.com/1PBx8dR).

* Now that some of his top aides are under criminal indictment, Chris Christie wants the media to apologize to him. Here's why that's bonkers (http://on.msnbc.com/1Fs5Oqm).

* Ask Republicans about the Affordable Care Act, and they hate it. Ask Republicans about the coverage they received through the Affordable Care Act, and they love it (http://on.msnbc.com/1FDLSlL).

* Jeb Bush believes "budget deficits and spending just went up astronomically" after his brother left office. Let's do a little fact-checking to see whether President Obama did what Bush claims he did (http://on.msnbc.com/1Ap3KQY).

* Speaking of Bush, remember last week when Jeb caused a bit of a stir by pointing his Apple Watch as part of his health care vision? Yesterday, he did it again (http://on.msnbc.com/1IPz1zl).

* Lindsey Graham think Americans have "never seen more threats against our nation" than right now. Maybe he's confused by what "never" means (http://on.msnbc.com/1F6B7Ve).
On social issues, conservatives have traditionally enjoyed a sizable edge over liberals. Not anymore.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, May 20, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* A South Carolina man wanted no part of "Obamacare" -- until he had a medical crisis. Now he's giving up on the Republican Party altogether (http://on.msnbc.com/1R3v77r).

* Ted Cruz is convinced: "the left" and political reporters are "obsessed" with sex. Given his agenda, there's reason to believe the Texas Republican has this backwards (http://on.msnbc.com/1PWWpdg).

* Republican Talking Point on Iraq #1: blame intelligence failures. Republican Talking Point on Iraq #2: blame Obama. Here's why both arguments are outrageously wrong (http://on.msnbc.com/1KkGMxR).

* Are there limits to the efficacy of the politics of fear? If so, Marco Rubio is testing those limits with vacuous sloganeering (http://on.msnbc.com/1R3LpNq).

* When Obama takes executive actions, Republicans scream about "tyranny" and "dictatorships." So why is it all right when a Republican governor takes executive actions on an anti-gay policy? (http://on.msnbc.com/1ScoCAL)

* Some communities in red states want to raise their local minimum wage and ban fracking. If Republicans value "local control," why are states cracking down on cities that want to try progressive governance? (http://on.msnbc.com/1KkGqqU).
Luis Lang wanted no part of the ACA, right up until he had a medical crisis. Now he not only wants coverage, he's even leaving the Republican Party.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, May 18, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* After the crisis in Ferguson, the debate over the militarization of local law enforcement quickly came and went. President Obama, however, didn't forget (http://on.msnbc.com/1IMLC4Z).

* The only thing worse than Jeb Bush struggling with questions about Iraq? Marco Rubio struggling with questions about Iraq (http://on.msnbc.com/1AaPLhS).

* On a related note, it matters that Republicans are failing miserably with the "if you knew then..." question on Iraq. It matters more that it's still the wrong question (http://on.msnbc.com/1PuyGpT).

* A variety of far-right groups, including Karl Rove's, are quietly pushing a bizarre new attack: Hillary Clinton isn't liberal enough. The point is to trick the left into doing Republicans' work for them (http://on.msnbc.com/1LdvQ2x).

* In the wake of an FEC fine, Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) is facing some pressure to resign, and he seems to be running low on intra-party allies (http://on.msnbc.com/1QXqQSV).

* Ted Cruz keeps raising the alarm about "mandatory gay marriage." Does the Republican presidential candidate not realize that it would be voluntary? (http://on.msnbc.com/1HqTHNQ)
After the crisis in Ferguson, the debate over the militarization of local law enforcement quickly came and went. President Obama, however, didn't forget.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, May 14, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Congressional Republicans sometimes have an odd sense of timing. They chose yesterday to slash Amtrak's budget, while rejecting Democratic proposals to improve infrastructure and train safety (http://on.msnbc.com/1EHyNmB).

* If Jeb Bush knew then what he knows now, would he have launched the war in Iraq? He's had four positions in four days. Today's response was the best yet (http://on.msnbc.com/1FnwHz1).

* Speaker Boehner believes questions about congressional Republicans, infrastructure spending, and the Amtrak tragedy are "stupid." Here's why he's wrong (http://on.msnbc.com/1Hg3CTA).

* As the right-wing fringe raises concerns about the "Jade Helm 15" conspiracy theory, how many Americans actually believe it? When it comes to Republican voters, more buy into this than you might think (http://on.msnbc.com/1cArBSI).

* Much of the Beltway establishment likes to believe Republicans are moving past the culture wars of the recent past. We were just reminded in a big way how wrong these assumptions are (http://on.msnbc.com/1A4vxG3).

* Marco Rubio believes the war in Iraq was worth fighting. He also believes it shouldn't have been fought. How he can believe both at the same time? (http://on.msnbc.com/1Jhmnbm)
Republicans sometimes have an odd sense of timing. They chose yesterday to slash Amtrak's budget, while rejecting Democratic infrastructure proposals.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, May 12, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* According to a major conservative news outlet, when votes elect white men as president, it's because of their "intrinsic qualities." If Americans elect an African-American man and a white woman, they're "affirmative-action presidents." Wait, what? (http://on.msnbc.com/1QFQqvJ).

* How problematic is Jeb Bush's position on the war in Iraq? One prominent conservative pundit said his posture is "disastrous." Another conservative questioned whether Bush is "a sane human being" (http://on.msnbc.com/1E3EDxS).

* It's a straightforward fight: the interests of U.S. troops and their families, or the interests of the financial industry and payday lenders. Why do Republicans in Congress consider this a tough call? (http://on.msnbc.com/1PF9eZm)

* Wall Street's bold new argument: Ed Milliband's criticism of the financial industry didn't help in the UK, so Clinton should avoid similar rhetoric in the US. This is deeply foolish (http://on.msnbc.com/1QFRkbo).

* While some Texas Republicans inexplicably blame President Obama for the ridiculous "Jade Helm" conspiracy theory, more mainstream Republicans are starting to find humor in the nonsense (http://on.msnbc.com/1zY0ps8).

* Allen West thought for sure that he'd found evidence of "Sharia law" at a Florida Walmart. What he actually found was ... something far more innocuous (http://on.msnbc.com/1EBN0Bu).
It was probably only a matter of time before the right rolled out the "affirmative-action" argument. Apparently that time is now.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, May 8, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* When the unemployment rate falls to a seven-year low, that's good news (http://on.msnbc.com/1EUJHIZ).

* Remember all the times Jeb Bush insisted, "I am my own man"? Well, forget it. George W. Bush is now advising his brother on one very important issue (http://on.msnbc.com/1PuG27m).

* Two years ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) cited the death of his mother as a rationale for his health care stance. This week, the governor effectively admitted his rhetoric wasn't quite true (http://on.msnbc.com/1RlJm8z).

* Want to see Darrell Issa make the transition from congressman to Dickensian villain? It's what happens when Congress' richest member talks about how life's not so bad for the poor (http://on.msnbc.com/1RlGaKc).

* For many liberal voters, Bernie Sanders is a welcome breath of unapologetic fresh air. But when it comes to the senator's progressive vision, there's one important exception (http://on.msnbc.com/1EV3IPu).

* Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wants Americans to believe ISIS is "winning." There's plenty of evidence to suggest he's flat wrong (http://on.msnbc.com/1ImGRR0).
After the job totals in March, most wondered if it was a one-month fluke. As of this morning, that appears to be the case.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, May 21, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Remember when Jeb Bush wanted to be seen as "the smart one"? After his latest comments on climate change -- he thinks those who believe science are "arrogant" -- he's shaping a new reputation (http://on.msnbc.com/1F3CXqb).

* The good news is, five big banks will pay $5.6 billion in fines and plead guilty to multiple crimes. The bad news is, Elizabeth Warren is right to say the deal still "stinks" (http://on.msnbc.com/1AhAZWL).

* This week, Republicans have pushed the line that harrowing conditions in Iraq are Obama's fault. Now, the president has begun to push back (http://on.msnbc.com/1Pzdyie).

* Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held the Senate floor yesterday for 10-and-a-half hours, which naturally leads to one important question: What exactly did he accomplish with the Senate spectacle? (http://on.msnbc.com/1IS7yf5)

* After 9/11, some of the emergency national-security measures were supposed to be temporary. But as of this week, one high-profile Republican senator backs a "permanent" surveillance state (http://on.msnbc.com/1JE7d07).

* As Obama moves closer to a historic diplomatic breakthrough with Cuba, Marco Rubio makes the case for a narrow, ineffective foreign policy (http://on.msnbc.com/1IS89NI).
Remember when Jeb Bush wanted to be seen as "the smart one"? His latest rhetoric on climate change suggests he's thrown that reputation away.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, May 19, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Bernie Sanders' ambitious new idea: free college tuition in the United States. Is this feasible? Is it a good idea? I'm glad you asked (http://on.msnbc.com/1Pv2SRO).

* Senate Republicans used to say Iran cannot be trusted, ever. GOP senators are now saying they might trust the Ayatollah over the American president (http://on.msnbc.com/1EhKIqF). No, seriously.

* Chris Christie has an amazing explanation for why his own constituents think he'd made a bad president:  the governor thinks the people of New Jersey just love him too much to see him go to the White House (http://on.msnbc.com/1diAK3c).

* Speaker Boehner's entire argument on authorizing the ISIS mission -- or in this case, not authorizing the mission -- is an incoherent mess (http://on.msnbc.com/1FmwoBo).

* If you're not worried about President Obama creating the apocalypse ... you must not be on Herman Cain's mailing list (http://on.msnbc.com/1F0nsPy).

* Just a couple of weeks ago, the field of likely Republican presidential was at 22 candidates. As of this morning, it shrunk to 19 candidates (http://on.msnbc.com/1cNa0Ho).
Bernie Sanders' new idea: free college tuition in the United States. Is this feasible? Is it a good idea? The answers matter.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, May 15, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Jeb Bush's grand health care plan involves repealing the Affordable Care Act -- and replacing it with an Apple Watch? (http://on.msnbc.com/1B144Al)

* What does it take for a House Republican to support the separation of church and state? Pope Francis disagreeing with Republicans, apparently (http://on.msnbc.com/1PnXKie)..

* The House Speaker has accused Democrats of "turning their backs on American troops." What Boehner doesn't realize: by his own standard, he fails the exact same test of patriotism (http://on.msnbc.com/1H7n2au).

* Want to see the debate over pay equity take a painfully ridiculous turn? "Women do earn less in American because they choose to," one conservative said. "They're less ambitious" (http://on.msnbc.com/1e5UXJL).

* It's a counter-intuitive dynamic: Ben Carson's support grows the more awful his candidacy becomes (http://on.msnbc.com/1EKw8IN).

* One of Congress' most right-wing members used to condemn the very idea of foreign aid. The interesting thing is what changed the Republican lawmaker's mind (http://on.msnbc.com/1JNGYSF).
Jeb Bush's grand health care plan involves repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with ... expensive wrist gadgets?
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, May 13, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Less than a day after the deadly Philadelphia train crash, an important debate has begun anew on infrastructure spending -- and Donald Trump is talking about the issue in a way that's stunning, even for him (http://on.msnbc.com/1FeEygb).

* What does it say about Jeb Bush as a national candidate that he's flubbing obvious questions he's had years to prepare for? (http://on.msnbc.com/1IAS5jg)

* A Republican state House Speaker, popular with the religious right, fought to "preserve traditional marriage." Now he's caught up in a not-safe-for-work sexting controversy involving a young intern -- who isn't his wife (http://on.msnbc.com/1FeVSSo).

* Republican presidential candidates were asked the other day to name the greatest living president. It didn't go well -- they kept mentioning a former president who died many years ago (http://on.msnbc.com/1EE5gKu).

* Chris Christie wants to stop talking about his scandals and start talking about the economy. Given his stunning new economic plan, he might be better off sticking to "Bridgegate" (http://on.msnbc.com/1IAQZnM).

* Texas remains fiercely opposed to marriage equality. The Supreme Court may not care. So, Republican policymakers in the state are already taking steps to ignore a possible court ruling (http://on.msnbc.com/1A10bk7).
The tragic train accident in Philadelphia is shining a light on a political debate over infrastructure. Donald Trump, alas, is eager to weigh in.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, May 11, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Rick Perry thinks he's identified the single biggest issue of the 2016 presidential campaign. In an unexpected twist, the Texas Republican is absolutely correct (http://on.msnbc.com/1J6rkUt).

* Simple catchphrases are fine in movies. But when a Republican presidential candidate uses a movie catchphrase to summarize his national-security strategy, it's a problem (http://on.msnbc.com/1ItH19c).

* Rand Paul's political director in New Hampshire today quite literally licked the camera of a Democratic staffer. In presidential politics, we expect the unexpected, but no one's ever seen anything quite like this (http://on.msnbc.com/1QCPPuK).

* "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized" the invasion of Iraq? Jeb Bush's answer is the sort of thing that may dog his campaign for a long time (http://on.msnbc.com/1zVXKPI).

* Would Americans elect an infomercial pitchman - who peddled dubious miracle cures - to be the leader of the free world? Mike Huckabee seems quite uncomfortable with the question (http://on.msnbc.com/1KAYyJM).

* John McCain believes he's great at identifying wasteful spending -- and any spending related to animals is hilarious. There's brand new evidence he's wrong on both counts (http://on.msnbc.com/1KAXQMC).
Rick Perry believes the Supreme Court is the biggest issue of the next presidential election. He raises a very good point.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, May 7, 2015 -- and here are some highlights:

* Has Hillary Clinton made things tougher for Republicans on immigration? Put it this way: one party insider said Clinton has an opportunity "to rip off our arms and beat us with the bloody ends" (http://on.msnbc.com/1F1pfHD).

* Can your boss fire you based on your reproductive choices? A new law in the nation's capital says, "No." Several far-right groups say ... something else (http://on.msnbc.com/1GRj1XM).

* Selling hidden cures for cancer embedded in Bible verses? Quick fixes for heart disease? Food hoarding? Mike Huckabee's "hucksterism" is likely to be a real problem for his presidential campaign (http://on.msnbc.com/1ETywA9).

* Ben Carson feels comfortable giving lectures on "how the Constitution works." After what we saw today, that's really not a good idea (http://on.msnbc.com/1JSH0vO).

* Of all the topics Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) should avoid, one issue is at the top of the list: How hospitals spend their money. Has he already forgotten his massive fraud scandal? (http://on.msnbc.com/1Ekcu6r)

* The first Thursday in May, by congressional mandate, is set aside as the official “National Day of Prayer." Why does a country with separation of church and state have a National Day of Prayer? (http://on.msnbc.com/1bBdQ5n)
Republicans would love to condemn Hillary Clinton's bold new position on immigration, but they're not sure how, when, why, and what the consequences might be.
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In his circles
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Work
Employment
  • MSNBC
    Producer, The Rachel Maddow Show, 2012 - present
  • Washington Monthly
    Contributing Writer, 2008 - 2012
  • The Carpetbagger Report
    Founder, Publisher, 2003 - 2008
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State
    Communications Department, 1997 - 2002
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Currently
Essex Junction, Vermont
Previously
Washington, DC - Miami, FL
Story
Tagline
Campaign-covering, chart-making, policy-wonking progressive blogger/reporter/commentator for MSNBC
Introduction

Before joining MSNBC, I was a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, headlining the "Political Animal" blog. I've also written for a variety of other publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com. My blogging career started in February 2003 with the launch of The Carpetbagger Report.

Bragging rights
In July 2009, The Atlantic named me one of the top 50 most influential political commentators in the United States. (I finished one slot above Lou Dobbs, which made the honor that much more satisfying.)
Education
  • George Washington University
    1996
Basic Information
Gender
Male