Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard is a political reporter at Grist, and a former Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles


John Dickerson offers what is by far the best analysis of Barack Obama 's "bitter" comment that I've seen thus far, parsing out what he probably meant, and why that won't at all matter to the types of voters he's offended. There are two very important points. One, which he notes as a mere parenthetical, is that all of these justifications for the comments would get Obama and his defenders laughed out of a bar in rural Pennsylvania, and are only digging him a deeper hole. Obama would be better served by pointing out Clinton's problems than trying to defend his indefensible remarks. The second key point is that Obama should know better about writing off voters as base, emotional, and thoughtless, since the same allegations have been lobbed at his supporters. "Hope" is the "guns" of the left. It's a larger lesson that not just Obama, but Democrats in general have been slow to learn – people don't like to be told that their voting choices are deluded or irrational. Even if they are...


It seems like so long ago when the Republican presidential candidates were battling to be the most anti-immigrant in order to win the nomination. But then John McCain won and it turned out that immigration might not be that big of a factor for the Republicans in this election after all. We've barely heard the word "immigration" mentioned since, and McCain has been making a concerted effort to court the Latino vote. But now some Republicans are hoping to raise the issue again, and threatening to stay home if their candidate "panders for the Hispanic vote." "[P]olitically, he'll kill himself and he'll kill us,'' Arizona state Representative Russell Pearce told Bloomberg, and vowed that there are more anti-immigrant votes out there than there are moderates who prefer McCain's approach to the issue. There are, of course, others who think he might have already hurt himself by agreeing in a Republican debate last January that he would no longer support the immigration bill he cosponsored...


Rumor has it that George Bush "is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming." Perhaps he's fired up about Earth Day next week and finally ready to commit to policy that actually addresses climate change. Or perhaps they're concerned that the lawsuits underway right now seeking forced action under existing rules like the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act will create a regulatory calamity. Or maybe they're hoping to earn some cred before their next "Major Economies" meeting in Paris at the end of this week. Most signs, however, indicate that Bush and Co. want to push something comparatively weak through now as the clock runs out on their administration. Even without a firm idea of what the president is going to push for, Republican Congressmen are already getting hot and bothered, and I'm jumping to the conclusion that whatever he comes up with will probably...


The Family Research Council just sent out an email asking folks to take part in their " Reconciliation Referendum " marking the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. 's assassination. It's only a week and a half late, but I guess we should take what we can get from FRC. This line of the email, however, got me: To commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 40th anniversary of his assassination, over 40 leading ministers - 20 whites and 20 blacks - made a commitment to bring racial reconciliation to our nation within a decade. Wait, a group that's half white and half black? That sounds an awful lot like a quota system to me. --Kate Sheppard


Barack Obama also spoke at the Associated Press annual meeting today , and started out by making light of the weekend's kerfluffle: I know I kept a lot of you guys busy this weekend with the comments I made last week. Some of you might even be a little bitter about that. He went on to make it less a speech about the press at all, but rather an attempted save for last week's comment. The heart of it: I will never walk away from the larger point that I was trying to make. For the last several decades, people in small towns and cities and rural areas all across this country have seen globalization change the rules of the game on them. When I began my career as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, I saw what happens when the local steel mill shuts its doors and moves overseas. You don’t just lose the jobs in the mill, you start losing jobs and businesses throughout the community. The streets are emptier. The schools suffer. [...] And after years and years and years of this, a...