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Ben Wyskida

Entries by Ben Wyskida

How to Lose the Congress in 2010

(11) Comments | Posted January 18, 2010 | 11:55 PM

Whatever the outcome of the Special Election in Massachusetts, the Democratic Party has a serious message problem in 2010. In September the Democrats squandered an opportunity to reframe the debate around healthcare, campaigning for reform in a dispassionate, technocratic tone instead of communicating reform as a basic human...

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The Nation's Special Issue "Food for All"

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2009 | 1:18 PM

So much coverage of food politics tends towards elitism, or at least luxury: what we can and should be buying. Mine certainly does - I've been blogging lately about my Whole Foods boycott, and before that I think I wrote something about organic cheese. But there is a much broader...

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Five Things You Can Do About Healthcare, In Ascending Order of Difficulty and Commitment

(27) Comments | Posted August 18, 2009 | 6:16 PM

(Note: A version of this post originally appeared at

Health care reform is in trouble. Rachel Maddow handed the Obama administration its ass last night, while the New York Times - in the single most depressing thing I've read all month - reported that the...

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Why I'm Done with Whole Foods

(136) Comments | Posted August 14, 2009 | 4:23 PM

(Note: A version of this post originally appeared at

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has struck a nerve with his op-ed for the Wall Street Journal trashing President Obama's healthcare proposals. In his op-ed, Mackey writes that "the last thing our country needs ... is a massive...

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What I Learned on Summer Vacation (About Geothermal Power)

(1) Comments | Posted July 28, 2009 | 11:13 AM

I was in Iceland last week, and in addition to (a) spending a weekend in the most unbelievably beautiful place in the world and (b) eating some delicious marinated whale steaks, I came across the best thing ever -- this house under construction in downtown Reyjkavik with...

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Is Sarah Palin Our Richard Nixon?

(43) Comments | Posted July 27, 2009 | 2:28 PM

Sarah Palin quit on Sunday, exiting "stage far right" as Talking Points Memo put it. Point Guard Sarah couldn't finish the third quarter -- she quit with 17 months, or nearly a third of her term, remaining. In Saturday's New York Times, Alaskan political legend William Iggiagruk Hensley noted...

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Ill Communication: President Obama's Misguided Health Care Strategy

(16) Comments | Posted July 26, 2009 | 1:03 AM

In 1998 I ran communications for one of the most stunning political victories of the '90s: Jordan Roberts' upset win as the first-ever woman Senator from the State of Confusion. The campaign was a simulation, part of an intensive five day campaign boot camp, but even though Roberts was fake...

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Shearer's Strange Broadside

(151) Comments | Posted December 25, 2008 | 11:07 AM

We couldn't let Harry Shearer's post Tuesday, ("New Orleans Faces The Nation") pass without a reply. Shearer's strange broadside took The Nation magazine (and by extension the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute) to task for our publication of Katrina's Hidden Race War, an 18-month investigation that...

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Swinging Red Relatives Blue: Claire's Closing Argument

(2) Comments | Posted November 2, 2008 | 5:42 PM

Claire has been an exceptionally good sport these past three weeks, opening up her in-box (whoa) to Pinko for a look at her efforts to swing her fence-sitting, potentially McCain-voting relatives. We got word last week that her grandmother was voting Obama(!), but Claire was still reticent about...

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Red Relative Blues: Swinging Matthew's Cousin

(19) Comments | Posted October 30, 2008 | 4:59 PM

Years ago I tried to "swing" my handsome friend Matthew, who I had a substantial crush on. He wasn't willing to go my way, but my heart fluttered just a bit when he said to me earlier this month "Ben! We have to swing my cousin. He's in Ohio." Woof!...

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Red Grandma Blues: Readers Respond (with Great Ideas!)

(24) Comments | Posted October 23, 2008 | 4:45 PM

On Tuesday we told you about Claire, who is trying to swing her 94-year-old Grandmother from a red Reagan Republican to a born-again blue voter. We asked you for your advice on how to "swing" fence-sitting friends and family around the country. Both at Pinko Magazine and here at...

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Red Grandma Blues: A Conversion Diary

(73) Comments | Posted October 20, 2008 | 9:47 PM

Every time there was a debate, MSNBC and CNN did that thing. They took some undecided voters, put them in a room on an awkward sofa, strapped a sensor to their head, gave them some Cool Ranch Doritos, and then asked them questions. It's always exasperating, watching them parse words...

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Swinging Grandma: Volume One

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2008 | 9:45 PM

Between now and election day Off the Bus will be cross-posting a series from Pinko Magazine called "Swinging Grandma," looking at voters grassroots, person-to-person tactics to "swing" their fence sitting friends and relatives. Pinko is an online journal of progressive politics and culture. This is the first in the...

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Time to Choose: The Case for the Eight

(31) Comments | Posted November 8, 2007 | 4:18 PM

The following collection of articles is published online in partnership with The Nation and HuffPost's OffTheBus.

With the national media focused squarely on the superficial (polls, pile-ons, UFOs, cleavage, etc.), The Nation Magazine this week focused on the substantive: An affirmative look at each of the eight Democratic...

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