Drake Bennett

Drake Bennett is a former American Prospect writing fellow and is currently a freelance writer in Cambridge, MA. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, Business Week, and the Boston Review.

Recent Articles

The Nixon Enigma

No matter what we do, those of us in our 20s can't seem to measure up to the Greatest Generation. That bygone nation of joiners, providers and world-beaters, in the standard story, puts to shame today's sad assemblage of narcissists and whiners. Gone are the days when the United States, stung by a Japanese sneak attack, rose up to shrug off the Great Depression and cohere into a fighting force of Riveting Rosies and Private Ryans. Political scientist Robert Putnam called our grandparents "the long civic generation." Of course, the September 11 attacks did arouse a general sense of solidarity and national duty. According to the Progressive Policy Institute, there were, for example, three times as many volunteers for the national service program AmeriCorps as available slots. And despite the conventional wisdom that America's young are less civically engaged than their parents and grandparents, the reality is that young America is awash in community service. High-school and college...

Doing Disservice

No matter what we do, those of us in our 20s can't seem to measure up to the Greatest Generation. That bygone nation of joiners, providers and world-beaters, in the standard story, puts to shame today's sad assemblage of narcissists and whiners. Gone are the days when the United States, stung by a Japanese sneak attack, rose up to shrug off the Great Depression and cohere into a fighting force of Riveting Rosies and Private Ryans. Political scientist Robert Putnam called our grandparents "the long civic generation." Of course, the September 11 attacks did arouse a general sense of solidarity and national duty. According to the Progressive Policy Institute, there were, for example, three times as many volunteers for the national service program AmeriCorps as available slots. And despite the conventional wisdom that America's young are less civically engaged than their parents and grandparents, the reality is that young America is awash in community service. High-school and college...

Affirmative Decision

Yesterday, soon after the Supreme Court handed down its decisions in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, President Bush released a statement. It read, in part, "I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our Nation's campuses. Diversity is one of America's greatest strengths. Today's decisions seek a careful balance between the goal of campus diversity and the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law." Reached on the phone, the incoming dean of Michigan's law school, Evan Caminker, professed a similar satisfaction with the decision: "The Supreme Court reaffirmed the core principal of Bakke ," he said, "which is that the school has a compelling interest in making sure students learn in an integrated environment and that race can be used in a cautious and limited way to enroll a student body that is both academically excellent and racially diverse." The funny thing is, however, that Caminker and Bush had been rooting for opposite...

Critical Mess

Back in January, Brazil's newly appointed minister of science and technology, Roberto Amaral, suggested in a radio interview that his country had nuclear ambitions. "Brazil is a country at peace, that has always preserved peace and is a defender of peace, but we need to be prepared, including technologically," he said. "We can't renounce any form of scientific knowledge, whether the genome, DNA or nuclear fission." It was hardly a Kim Jong-Il-caliber nuclear tantrum, but it did cause a stir. The comments were roundly condemned and a flurry of clarifications followed. But Amaral's boss, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had made similar noises. In a campaign speech last year to retired military officers, Lula criticized the fact that the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) allowed nuclear powers to keep their weapons but denied them to everyone else. "If," he complained, "someone asks me to disarm and keep a slingshot while he comes at me with a cannon, what good does that do...

All the President's Lies

Other presidents have had problems with truth-telling. Lyndon Johnson was said, politely, to have suffered a "credibility gap" when it came to Vietnam. Richard Nixon, during Watergate, was reduced to protesting, "I am not a crook." Bill Clinton was relentlessly accused by both adversaries and allies of reversing solemn commitments, not to mention his sexual dissembling. But George W. Bush is in a class by himself when it comes to prevarication. It is no exaggeration to say that lying has become Bush's signature as president. The pattern is now well established. Soothing rhetoric -- about compassionate conservatism, about how much money the "average" American worker will get through the White House tax program, about prescription-drug benefits -- is simply at odds with what Bush's policies actually do. Last month Bush promised to enhance Medicaid; his actual policy would effectively end it as a federal entitlement program. More distressing even than the president's lies, though, is the...

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