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Michael Wolraich's picture

Swing Voter Analysis

I went to see my shrink today.

"Doc," I said to him after I'd sprawled myself on the couch, "I'm thinking about breaking up with my guy Barry."

"Is that so?" he replied. I like Doc. He's got this way of saying things without saying anything.

"Yeah, I mean, we've been together for what four years now? I'm just not sure it's going anywhere. It's like a...a rut. I was depressed when we started. I'm still depressed."

Michael Wolraich's picture

The Best Republican Platform Ever Adopted

The Republican National Platform of 2012 "may be the best one ever adopted" according to Phyllis Schlafly.

That's high praise for a party that once demanded the "utter and complete extirpation" of slavery from America's soil.

Michael Wolraich's picture

Human is Human

I'll say one thing for Todd Akin. He's consistent. Or rather, he's less inconsistent than his fellow abortion opponents.

Most abortion opponents share a core principle: Life begins at conception.

If you believe that a fetus is a person and entitled to the same human rights as the rest of us air-breathing old fogies, then nothing else really matters--not a woman's choice, not a child's future. You can't sacrifice a baby because his mother doesn't want him. You can't euthanize a child because she has down syndrome. Human is human.

Michael Wolraich's picture

The Paul Ryan Challenge

Politics is a serious matter, of course, of course. The future of the country is at stake, a great war of ideas and all that. Individualism and equality and security and liberty and lots of other weighty words.

But as we harrumph our way through the Economist and the New Republic, anyone looking over our shoulder might notice that we'd slipped the latest issue of People between the pages. For all our puffing about Ideas, we spend most of our political leisure time obsessing over gaffs and scandals and expensive haircuts and bad tans.

Michael Wolraich's picture

Good Assassinations and Bad Assassinations

Iran's government condemned the suicide bombing that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria yesterday.

"The Islamic republic, the biggest victim of terrorism, believes terrorism endangers the lives of innocents," stated Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast.

But Israel's leaders blame Iran for the attack. They say that the bomber was a Hezbollah agent acting at Iran's behest.

"The attack yesterday in Bulgaria was carried out by Hezbollah, the long arm of Iran," charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Michael Wolraich's picture

Before Politics...

Before politics, there was love.

Even the priggish old Bible that hurried God's busy hands into the dawn of time honored the proper order of the world. Before God admonished the first people to shun evil, he begged them to multiply. The old world's profession was the dating consultant.

I'm getting married on Saturday.

Michael Wolraich's picture

When the War Began

Readers and friends,

I'm happy to announce that I've signed a deal for my second book, When the War Began: Teddy Roosevelt, Republican Progressives, and the Birth of Modern Politics.*

It will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in the Spring 2014. Palgrave is a great publisher, and I'm excited about the deal.

I haven't met with my editor yet, but I would like to ask her permission to publish excerpts of my work-in-progress in order to get feedback from all the clever folks at dagblog.

In the meantime, here's a brief description of the book:

Michael Wolraich's picture

Debt Ceiling II: Return of the Boehner

Demonstrating the shrewd political acumen for which he has become known, House Speaker John Boehner has come up with a new strategy to galvanize American voters before the election. Seeking to top his electrifying "Pledge to America" campaign from 2010, Boehner promised yesterday a bold new plan that may be the popular Republican campaign in history: Debt Ceiling Standoff, Take Two.

The Speaker is aware that the debt ceiling is a complicated legislative mechanism well beyond the understanding of most real Americans, so he asked me to help make sense of it. I will now take several questions from an imaginary interlocutor in order to help the ignorant electorate understand this exciting campaign.

Michael Wolraich's picture

Obama's Big, Bold To-Do List

In a scene from Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act by South African dramatist Athol Fugard, a small boy builds an imaginary house in the sand. It has two rooms for his impoverished family of six. A man sees him playing and encourages the boy to expand.

"If you're going to dream," he says, "Give yourself five rooms, man."

President Obama has been playing in the sand ever since the Republican-dominated 112th Congress convened last year, a body so divided and deranged that it can barely pass routine measures, let alone critical legislation. As the election looms, Obama's chance of getting any bills passed is asymptotically approaching zero, and his proposals are like imaginary houses that will never be built.

That has not stopped him from producing them. His latest gambit is a five-point "to do list" for Congress. Its elements are all measures that he has previously proposed without success, including various tax incentives to encourage hiring, mortgage refinance efficiencies, and a jobs programs for veterans.

Michael Wolraich's picture

A Cardinal's Regret

In 1975, the Catholic Church of Ireland sent Father Sean Brady to interview two teenage boys who had been abused by their priest, Brendan Smyth. Brady recorded their harrowing testimony and submitted it to his superiors, who transferred Smyth to a different parish, again and again. Twenty years later, Smyth was finally imprisoned after being convicted on 153 counts of child abuse in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Father Sean Brady moved up the Church hierarchy. He is now Cardinal Sean Brady.

After the BBC recently reported his role in Smyth's investigation, Brady publicly expressed regret. He regrets that his superiors dealt inappropriately with Smyth. He regrets that the Church had no "guidelines" for handling pedophilia by priests. He regrets that he and others did not understand the "full impact of abuse" on the lives of children.

But for his own role in abetting child abuse, Cardinal Brady's regret is rather meager. He explained that he was nothing more than a note-taker without any authority to act. As to why he remained silent when his superiors transferred Smyth, he reluctantly conceded, "I also accept that I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the Church."



Michael Wolraich's picture

Personal Information


Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, New York Magazine,,, Reuters, and Pando Daily.


Wolraich is also the computer genius who maintains dagblog's state-of-the-art software, but he denies responsibility for technical glitches and advises users to "quit sniveling." In his spare time, Wolraich raises peach mold and performs live impressions of the law of gravity.


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