Timothy Noah
Politics, economics, domestic policy, and a smattering of culture.
Created 27 May 2020
  • Don't ask me to take the Jan. 6 insurrectionists seriously
    18 Nov 2021 • < 1 min read • 5 2
    My latest, for the New Republic, is a confession that, try as I might, I can’t bring myself to fear the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on the Feast of the Epiphany. I deplore them for s...
  • Correction on our previous post
    12 Nov 2021 • < 1 min read • 1 0
    Richard Helms was convicted of contempt of Congress in 1977, but he only had to pay a $2000 fine. So G. Gordon Liddy is the last person imprisoned for contempt of Congress. Backbencher regrets the err...
  • What to think about Steve Bannon's indictment
    12 Nov 2021 • 3 min read • 2 0
    Steven Bannon has been indicted for contempt of Congress! Here’s the document. Rita Lavelle was the last person tried for contempt of Congress, but she wasn't convicted. (She was convicted of perjury ...
  • Jimmy Carter, Reconsidered
    09 Nov 2021 • 1 min read • 3 0
    In July, while I was guest web-editing the Washington Monthly, I spent a couple of hours on Zoom with my old friends Jonathan Alter and Kai Bird while they discussed the legacy of Jimmy Carter. They b...
  • This Is Your Mind on Standard Time
    02 Nov 2021 • 1 min read • 2 0
    My latest, for the New Republic: Sen. Joe Manchin (D.-W.Va.) has for three months been negotiating the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill, formerly known as the $3 trillion reconciliation bill and bef...
  • How Four-Year Colleges Shafted Community Colleges, Why Harry F. Byrd Needs To Be Stuffed Back Into His Grave, Plus What's Wrong With "Ideas"
    29 Oct 2021 • < 1 min read • 2 0
    My latest New Republic stories: Bad enough that President Joe Biden’s plan to provide free community college got struck from the reconciliation bill. Far worse is that four-year colleges lobbied again...
  • Your Taxes Are Too Low
    22 Oct 2021 • 1 min read • 3 0
    I’m resuming my previous practice of pushing my New Republic pieces on Backbencher, on the theory that if you cared enough to have Backbencher delivered to your inbox (which hasn’t happened much latel...
  • Executive privilege is a made-up thing
    18 Oct 2021 • < 1 min read • 1 0
    Steve Bannon told the Jan. 6 committee he won’t appear, claiming executive privilege. That is, of course, outrageous, and he will be cited tomorrow for contempt. But it would be a pity to miss this op...
  • Substack Farewell
    30 Aug 2021 • 4 min read • 21 10
    A little more than a year ago I lost my job at a mainstream publication and put out my shingle on Substack. I titled my newsletter Backbencher, a term I knew many potential readers in the United State...
  • The Lesson of the Master
    25 Aug 2021 • 4 min read • 2 1
    “Almost all my greatest ideas have occurred to me first as jokes,” Bernard Shaw wrote in 1909. Perhaps that’s why Shaw (1856-1950) has fallen out of the English literary canon in recent years. We don’...
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