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Mike Signer
Mike Signer is Managing Principal of the Madison Law & Strategy Group, PLLC, the author of Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies, and an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech.

Mike is the chair of the New Dominion Project, a Virginia political action committee. In 2009, Mike was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, raising almost $500,000 and receiving the endorsements of five newspapers.

Mike frequently publishes on strategy and policy in outlets including The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report.

He is on the Board of Directors of the Truman National Security Project Educational Institute and is a member of the Economic Club of Washington.

Mike holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law; and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Princeton University. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Entries by Mike Signer

Mitt Romney's Chimerical Foreign Policy

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2011 | 8:33 PM

In Greek mythology, the chimera was a beast cobbled together from lions, snakes, and goats. In an accident of etymology, the term has also come to mean a foolish fantasy.

The term does a pretty good job of describing the foreign policy Mitt Romney has assembled so far --...

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Stop the Madness: The New Politics of Stunts

(3) Comments | Posted October 7, 2010 | 12:58 PM

On the heels of the controversy about this week's terror alerts in Europe, I reflected on a recent experience with the very real costs of what you might call the terrorist-hysteria complex.

Two weeks ago, I was in Afghanistan on a U.S. government-sponsored mission to observe the Parliamentary...

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Election Protection in Afghanistan

(2) Comments | Posted September 9, 2010 | 3:53 PM

This Saturday is the ninth anniversary of 9/11. Normally, I'd try to commemorate that horrible, epochal day as best as I can here at home. But this Saturday, I'll instead be stepping off a plane in Dubai along with several dozen other Americans, on the way to Kabul for a...

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It's a Change Election, Stupid

(3) Comments | Posted August 10, 2010 | 2:12 PM

At events around the country, Democratic candidates are unveiling, buffing, and polishing the shiny new message that will drive this fall's campaigns. The message generally employs a car as its major metaphor, with direction as its logic, invoking remarks President Obama made several weeks back. Republicans, President Obama said, have...

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The Next Financial Reform Floodgate

(2) Comments | Posted July 30, 2010 | 11:17 AM

A lot can turn on an active verb. Hamlet said, "To be or not to be -- that is the question." The same applies to the new Dodd-Frank financial reform bill's whistleblower provisions, signed by President Obama last week, which requires that any whistleblower providing "original information" leading to a...

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A Nation of Pilot Projects?

(6) Comments | Posted July 7, 2010 | 2:22 PM

More news this weekend that the Obama administration continues to pursue its unheralded campaign to reverse retrograde Bush-era policies and put the nation on a more sustainable footing. The president announced that the Department of Energy will award $2 billion in conditional commitments from the Recovery Act to...

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Stop the Violence: Taking on Today's Demagogues

(5) Comments | Posted March 28, 2010 | 2:49 PM

After a week of bricks through windows, spitting and racial epithets at lawmakers, and acts of vandalism, political violence continued to dominate the news Sunday morning political shows, with Doris Kearns Goodwin arguing on Meet the Press that "the tone of recent times really is troubling."

Meanwhile, a...

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Saving States From Terrorists (or, Stand with Westphalia)

(7) Comments | Posted February 4, 2010 | 11:51 AM

The "aught" decade that just ended was bracketed by 9/11, perpetrated by al-Qaeda terrorists who had enjoyed havens in Sudan and Afghanistan, and a thwarted Christmas 2009 airline bombing by a Nigerian terrorist, who learned his craft in Yemen. The years were filled with a running, halting effort to prevent...

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Let There Be Light! Obama's Budget Delivers on Energy

(3) Comments | Posted February 2, 2010 | 11:27 AM

Elections really do have consequences. After years of virtual inaction from the Bush administration on a clean economy, the president's new budget is a politically savvy, substantively brave, and altogether impressive collection of proposals. Against the dim eight years, the proposals for the Department of Energy are electrifying, and continue...

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The Philosophical President

(8) Comments | Posted January 29, 2010 | 8:42 AM

"There was quite a bit of lecturing, not leading."

This is what Sarah Palin said about Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. Yes, I laughed, too -- but it's worth listening to Palin's response (if not taking it too seriously). I found the president's speech serious to the point...

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Vision of a State: Ultra-Federalism in Afghanistan

(1) Comments | Posted January 19, 2010 | 12:09 PM

President Obama's provocative, considered decision to send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan was a major moment in his presidency. By the president's own description, the deployment is a means to an end. However, since his speech, there has been too little discussion about what we hope to achieve after security...

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The Incredible Hulk in Copenhagen

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2009 | 5:03 PM

Among some members of the chattering class, it's become something of a meme to assert that the Obama administration is too deferential to its opponents -- whether Tea Partiers arguing about health care or Senate Republicans attacking on Afghanistan. The charge has especially been taken up by his critics, who...

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Drive Like a Jetson

(10) Comments | Posted November 19, 2009 | 4:55 PM

When you watch an episode of The Jetsons, what gets you isn't so much that Elroy wore an antenna on his head or that the family spent their time in cars that levitated. What still resonates about the show is the extreme ease of transportation -- they always just seem...

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Why Retrofitting Should be Sexy

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2009 | 9:12 AM

You've doubtless seen ads recently offering you a $1,500 "stimulus federal tax credit" for 30 percent of the cost of putting in new windows. How the stimulus is related to windows might not be transparent to anyone less than wonky. But it's an important facet of the Obama administration's broader...

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Counting in Kabul: A Virginia Monitor Heads to Afghanistan

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2009 | 12:25 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation from to travel to Afghanistan to monitor the run-off presidential election on November 7. I immediately accepted. In the days since, as violence has mounted and as the election itself has changed (as of this writing, Abdullah Abdullah, President Karzai's only...

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At the White House, Clean Tech Gets a Push

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2009 | 10:22 AM

A room full of clean tech entrepreneurs likely would not have been found in the Bush White House. But on Wednesday, October 28, that's just what you would have seen in a brand-new auditorium (so new that there was no sign for the entrance, and it felt sort of like...

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Build This: A Real Infrastructure Policy for America

(2) Comments | Posted October 28, 2009 | 2:44 PM

Imagine boarding a sleek new bullet train and rocketing from Washington, D.C. to Richmond, VA in under an hour. Imagine creating thousands of durable new blue-collar jobs to build and maintain railways, construct and fine-tune railcars, and help design the electrical grid that would support high-speed rail. Imagine a new...

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What the Neocons Don't Get about Freedom

(18) Comments | Posted July 10, 2009 | 12:13 PM

The neocons are rising, zombie-like, from the grave American voters dug for them in the last election. Untroubled by regret, much less shame, they're already whetting their knives for the Obama administration, exploiting challenging events abroad -- whether in Iran or Honduras -- to rewrite their own history, on the...

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Taking our Democracy to the Next Level -- in Virginia

(2) Comments | Posted March 25, 2009 | 5:42 PM

With no disrespect to other states, I firmly believe my home Commonwealth of Virginia is the most extraordinary state in the union. It's not immodest to say that Virginia gave democracy not only to the American nation, but to the world. Our provenance includes the soaring ideas of Thomas Jefferson,...

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