Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House.

Recent Articles


Though the Hillary ad I mentioned below is not, in my view, offsides in its invocation of terrorism, this repellent and highly misleading ad produced by a conservative 527 group is clearly out of bounds. It is amazing, but never surprising, just how low the conservative movement will stoop -- particularly in their use of fear and hate -- to motivate people to vote against things. I hesitated to add the link, but you really have to see it to understand. There are plenty of people and sources to blame for the general apathy and widespread cynicism Americans feel toward politics and their government. But conservatives deserve the lion’s share; their entire project is based on appealing to our worst and lowest sentiments: hate and fear. It’s really maddening, and ads like these remind us what’s at stake -- not just policies, and not even offices and elections, but the quality of discourse in this democracy which, ironically, conservatives hold up as a beacon to the rest...


I really don’t see what the fuss is about Hillary Clinton’s new ad that features—very briefly and as part of a larger montage of images—a brief shot of Osama bin Laden . So what? It’s not like the guy who masterminded the September 11 attacks and is still at-large is not an issue. He is. We should be trying to capture or kill him. Terrorist threats won’t end on January 20. The ad’s use of bin Laden’s image was neither gratuitous nor scare-mongering. The music wasn’t menacing. In fact, the first time they ran it on CNN, after some television pundit promised a controversial new ad, I actually thought the producers queued up the wrong spot. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about, other than perhaps that, after six weeks of trying to find new and fresh angles to cover this interminable Pennsylvania primary (and you thought the run-up to Iowa and New Hampshire was bad!) non-controversies must somehow be elevated to controversies...


Several dozen journalists, columnists, authors, bloggers, policy wonks and other thinkers signed their names to a statement deploring the conduct of ABC News, and moderators George Stephanopolous and Charles Gibson , during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. The statement has been published over at The Nation and will likely be posted or re-printed elsewhere on the web. From the Prospect’s current or extended family, Spencer Ackerman , Dean Baker , Sam Boyd , Ezra Klein , Addie Stan , Mike Tomasky and yours truly are among the signatories. Sections from the opening and closing lines: We the undersigned deplore the conduct of ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson at the Democratic Presidential debate on April 16. The debate was a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world. This is not the first Democratic or Republican presidential debate to emphasize gotcha...


Here’s the truly sad news about Hillary Clinton today. In a way, she blew a great opportunity during last night's debate to do something dramatic: To reverse her negatives, remove the doubts about her as a Democratic team player, punch the media bigwigs (including her hubby’s own former deputy!) square in the jaw, and score major points with Pennsylvania voters. And all she had to do was remember how crass Barack Obama looked at key moments of their (three-way, with John Edwards ) debate back in January in New Hampshire, and do the reverse by interrupting Georgie and Charlie at some point around the 30-minute mark, following all those dumb questions, look down at her watch and say something like this: May I interject for a second before Barack answers that question? We’re about a half hour into this debate and all you two have done is raise ridiculous, distracting issues that most voters don’t care about, yet you and others in the chattering classes are...


If I were Howard Dean , I'd be worried about this . If I were Howard Wolfson , I'd be worried about this . And if I were Juwan Howard , I'd be worried about this . (Note the career stats v. this year.) --Tom Schaller