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Jim Sleeper


  • Originally published 07/10/2013

    Jim Sleeper: How Spitzer's Fall Showed He Deserves a Second Chance

    Jim Sleeper lectures in political science at Yale and posts frequently at TPM.New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's fall from office and public grace in 2008 was a tragedy in the strictest classical sense: The substance of his offenses paled before the shock of his stupidity and hypocrisy in committing them. You had to worry even more about his mentality than about his morality.What made the fall so stunning was not his infidelity and how he committed it but the sheer folly of one as tough and experienced as he'd proven himself to be in pursuit of others' far-more-consequential wrongdoings. That very toughness and experience made his tragedy a public one, because New Yorkers and all Americans at that time needed a real fighter -- one as good as Spitzer was on offense as well as defense -- against the casino-finance, corporate-welfare regime that would soon throw millions of people out of their homes and jobs.

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Jim Sleeper: Don't Panic About the Voting Rights Ruling. Re-Strategize.

    Yes, the Supreme Court, in Shelby v. Holder, has gutted the Voting Rights Act's requirement that state and local jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination obtain federal approval before they can alter an election-district line, move a polling place, or impose voter-registration requirements, such as photo I.D.'s.(I applaud Lani Guinier's suggestion yesterday, seconding Alabama civil-rights attorney James Blackshire, that, under the circumstances, every U. S. Attorney should deputize an assistant to litigate abuses that the Justice Department was empowered to prevent administratively until now.)

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    What's Still Missing From the Gun Control Debate

    Image via Shutterstock.Originally appeared on the Huffington Post.Behind the gun control debate lies a deeper one that we need to have. It would show that the danger to our freedom isn't coming from government censors and conspiracies but from marketing sensors that are bypassing our brains and hearts on the way to our gut instincts and wallets.

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Jim Sleeper: Guns Require a New Politics

    Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at Yale, is the author of "The Closest of Strangers" and "Liberal Racism." E-mail him at james.sleeper@yale.edu. The Senate Judiciary Committee was told often enough last week that the United States' intolerably high levels of murder and maiming by gunfire would drop sharply if we had the gun control of other developed nations. (Only Mexico and Guatemala have constitutional provisions resembling our Second Amendment.)It won't happen, unless we dissolve the deep bond between our libertarian individualism and our glorification of runaway corporate engines that are disrupting public trust more brutally than their own managers ever intended or know how to stop.The challenge is too deep for law or social science alone. A republic can't shape aggressive, impressionable youngsters into citizens unless it can nourish public narratives, myths, or constitutive fictions that give kids direction and hope....

  • Originally published 02/03/2013

    Jim Sleeper: The King of New York

    Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at Yale and author of “The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York,” is a former columnist for The Daily News.I WAS almost scripted to hate Ed Koch from the moment in September 1977 when I moved, with a new Harvard doctorate, to Brooklyn, on what would become a long activist-writer’s foray into the city’s fiscal crisis and the effects of that summer’s power blackout and looting.Mr. Koch was winning the Democratic mayoral primary, and my cousin James Wechsler, who’d been the editor of The New York Post in its liberal glory days but was then in charge of just the editorial page, was shaking his head in a lonely corner office on South Street as The Post’s new proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, turned it into a virtual press office for the Koch campaign.Throughout his 12 years as mayor I assailed Mr. Koch — in a Brooklyn newspaper that I edited, in Dissent, in The Village Voice and even while working across the hall from him as a speechwriter for the City Council president, Carol Bellamy, whom the mayor at one point denominated, with his customary grace, “a horror show.”...

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Jim Sleeper and Daniel J.H. Greenwood: To Stop Gun Violence, We Need to Remember We Can Regulate Corporate Speech and Advertising

    Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in Political Science at Yale, is a former New York Daily News columnist and the author of The Closest of Strangers. Daniel J.H. Greenwood, professor of law at Hofstra, writes on corporate governance and coauthored a brief in the Citizens United case.The Obama Administration's gun-control agenda is unlikely to prevail unless it's accompanied by a wrenching national struggle on two fronts: re-thinking the "well regulated" part of the Second Amendment, and curbing paid corporate gun glorification that undermines "free" speech under the First Amendment. As the president said in his inaugural address, we must re-impose rules of fair play on markets.National Rifle Association vice-president Wayne LaPierre was right to charge that violent video-games such as Doom and Call of Duty seed social storms of fear and mistrust with gladiatorial spectacles that have been virtual instruction manuals for mass shooters in Colorado, Connecticut and Norway, who were inveterate players of those games.

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Jim Sleeper: Israel's Election: Sea Change, or Mood Swing?

    Jim Sleeper lectures in political science at Yale and posts frequently at TPM. He has been a New York newspaper columnist and is the author of The Closest of Strangers and Liberal Racism. His website is www.jimsleeper.com."In the space of a few hours, Netanyahu watched as the American people formally gave their president four more years, and the people of Israel gave their prime minister six more weeks. That is the prime minister's deadline for forming a new coalition based on a Knesset majority, and it is going to be one long row," writes Bradley Burston of the liberal Haaretz, Israel's equivalent of Britain's The Guardian.In Burston's judgment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a mostly Pyrrhic victory in the recent elections not only because he'd tried to offset religious rightists' defections from his coalition by moving farther right himself; his big mistake was to assume "that the center was as dead as the left. [But] the center, unimaginably, woke from years of suspended animation."

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