Franklin Foer

The Grumblers
September 13, 2004

new york, new york On the first morning of convention week, a raft of high-roller donors and the politicians who take their money congregated at a fusty Gilded Age club in Midtown. In contrast to much of the week's frivolity and agitprop, the purpose of this gathering was substantive discussion: a seminar on the Bush economy hosted by the Club for Growth, a group that funds the candidates most devoted to the gospel of conservative economics.

Opportunism Knocks
September 06, 2004

To grasp the strangeness of the current rapprochement between President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, you need to understand the saga of John Weaver, the political operative who brokered the peace. Long before many Democrats became Bush haters, Weaver was already there. As a chief strategist for John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, he bore witness to the carnage of the primary in South Carolina, where Bush campaign proxies spread spurious rumors about their rival's venereal diseases, treasonous wartime behavior, and the black child he sired with a prostitute.

The Boss
August 02, 2004

Robert Shrum, John Kerry's chief strategist and speechwriter, is considered the poet laureate of populism--the man who injected the phrase "the people versus the powerful" into Democratic vernacular. Over his 35-year career, Shrum has been responsible for many of the memorable lines to leave the mouths of such Democratic eminences as Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, and Al Gore. But one of his most telling speeches won't ever be collected in an anthology of great oratory. For many years, Shrum plied his trade on behalf of Richard Gephardt.

Closing of the Presidential Mind
July 05, 2004

On February 27, 2001, George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. When the president had last ventured to the Capitol for his inauguration 37 days earlier, he had delivered a homily urging the nation to move past the sting of the Florida recount.

Closing of the Presidential Mind
July 05, 2004

On February 27, 2001, George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. When the president had last ventured to the Capitol for his inauguration 37 days earlier, he had delivered a homily urging the nation to move past the sting of the Florida recount.

Teen Wasteland
April 12, 2004

High school reunions are inherently unkind. But, for John Kerry, the fortieth gathering of the St. Paul's class of 1962 was particularly bad. The key episode took place in a Concord, New Hampshire, restaurant, not far from the school itself. Kerry wasn't at the dinner. That, however, didn't prevent him from looming over the evening. Toward the meal's end, the class president, a Boston lawyer named Lloyd Macdonald, rose to give a toast. He wanted to celebrate his classmates who had devoted their careers to public service.

Like Father
March 08, 2004

By the time John Kerry's father, Richard, published his only book, The Star-Spangled Mirror, in 1990, he should have been a mellow man. Nearly 30 years had passed since his retirement from the Foreign Service, where he'd filled mid-level posts in Washington, Berlin, and Oslo. His central issue, the cold war, had followed him into retirement with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and rise of glasnost in Russia. When the 75-year-old Kerry wasn't working on his book, he could be found building model ships and sailing off Cape Cod.

Oops!
February 23, 2004

With John Kerry cruising to victory, these are supposed to be healing days for Democrats, when they embrace old adversaries and apologize for vicious attacks launched during the primaries. But now that Howard Dean has fallen, some in Washington can't resist kicking the corpse one last time. Last week, I called Ivo Daalder, an alumnus of Bill Clinton's national security team, at his Brookings Institution office. And, while etiquette might dictate that Daalder lavish praise on the vanquished candidate, he spent our phone conversation critiquing Dean's foreign policy.

Beyond Belief
December 29, 2003

Talk to sensible Howard Dean supporters these days, and they’ll tell you that the former governor’s campaign to date has been a grand sleight of hand. Sure, it has harnessed Bush hatred and antiwar fervor. But the real Dean isn’t a frothing lefty like his supporters; he’s a closet centrist. Once he finishes exploiting the left’s anger to seal the nomination, he will reveal his true self, elegantly pivoting to the middle.

The Radical
December 01, 2003

In early 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke to President George W. Bush from the heart. The war in Afghanistan had been an astonishing display of U.S. strength. Instead of the bloody quagmire many predicted, CIA paramilitary agents, Special Forces, and U.S. air power had teamed with Northern Alliance guerrillas to run the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of their strongholds.

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