July 08, 2002
Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich by Kevin Phillips (Broadway Books, 432 pp., $29.95) Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! by Michael Moore (ReganBooks, 304 pp., $24.95) I. As Lord Bryce noted in 1888 in The American Commonwealth, the American way of choosing presidents rarely produces politicians of quality. Subsequent events vindicated his point: in the half-century after his book appeared, Americans elected to the presidency such undistinguished men as William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G.
March 25, 2002
In June 1997 the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was on the congressional chopping block, its funding zeroed out by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Created to promote democracy around the globe, the endowment seemed about to fall victim to an argument that was potent from the early 1990s through September 10, 2001: that, with the cold war over, democracy faced no serious threat. But exiled Chinese dissident Wu Xuecan begged to differ.
The End of Deference
November 06, 2000
The Warren Court and American Politics by Lucas A. Powe, Jr. (Harvard University Press, 600 pp., $35) The presidential campaign this year, the discussions of the Supreme Court have followed a familiar script. The Republican candidate has promised to appoint "strict constructionist" judges who will interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench.
September 18, 2000
What are Bill Clinton's liberal accomplishments?
February 21, 2000
David Grann examines George W. Bush’s scorched-earth tactics against John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary.
The Granite Shifts
February 07, 2000
Jonathan Cohn explains how New Hampshire learned to love the government in 2000.
The Selling of the Scandal
September 28, 1998
A first-hand tour of how candidates and the media packaged and sold the Lewinsky scandal.
April 13, 1998
President Clinton inspired dark comparisons to Watergate last week when he invoked executive privilege to prevent his aides from testifying before Kenneth Starr's grand jury. His critics are treating the president's claim as proof that he has something to hide. "Not since Richard Nixon tried to withhold incriminating taped evidence--and was forced by the unanimous Supreme Court to respond to the subpoena of a grand jury--has a president presumed to wrap personal wrongdoing in the cloak of official business," William Safire thundered.
In Defense of Preference
April 06, 1998
The battle over affirmative action today is a contest between a clear principle on the one hand and a clear reality on the other. The principle is that ability, qualifications, and merit, independent of race, national origin, or sex should prevail when one applies for a job or promotion, or for entry into selective institutions for higher education, or when one bids for contracts. The reality is that strict adherence to this principle would result in few African Americans getting jobs, admissions, and contracts. What makes the debate so confused is that the facts that make a compelling case
The Double Man
July 28, 1997
William Sebastian Cohen was born fifty-seven years ago in Bangor, Maine, the first son of a mixed marriage. Cohen's mother, Clara Hartley, was an Irish Protestant from Aroostook County, one of the poor state's poorest rural backwaters, and she was notable both for her beauty and her independence. "She does not care about public opinion," Cohen once told Yankee magazine. "She dismisses it.