Garance Franke-Ruta

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor at the Prospect. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She was a 2006 recipient of a fellowship at the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Recent Articles

Closing Arguments

There are rare times in a candidate's career when his or her carefully manufactured message begins to exceed the bounds of normal political rhetoric and approach something closer to fundamental truth. Over the past three weeks in Iowa, Sen. John Edwards' (D-N.C.) stump speech did something like that, transforming him from also-ran to contender for the Democratic nomination. Edwards' rise had only partially to do with his Jan. 10 Des Moines Register endorsement and his deft performance at a Jan. 4 debate. Those two events helped put him on the map in Iowa, but it was a new stump speech introduced just after the new year that tied together his policy proposals, long-standing themes and background into the kind of overarching narrative that can take listeners from A to Z without missing a beat. The speech helped turn previously fine but forgettable Edwards events into conversion sessions that left listeners across Iowa raving, "He's fabulous," as one woman told me in Waterloo. Sen. John...

Aiming High

An undisclosed location, Va. -- From the outside, the headquarters of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign is completely unremarkable -- so unremarkable that passersby have no way of knowing it's even there. Through the tinted windows of the Arlington office tower where the headquarters is lodged, people shuffling papers can be glimpsed as through a glass darkly. There is no storefront-style sign out front, even though the office is on the ground floor, nor is there a sign on the door. The campaign is not listed in the building directory, and there's no address for it posted on the Internet or in the local directory services. "Our location is disclosed, but not completely," says Brian Danza of the Bush-Cheney communications office. "We just don't like having media people out here." The administration's love of secrecy, its concerns about being a soft target for terrorists and its desire to depict the president as above the fray have turned the re-election project into the ultimate...

Iowa Inventory

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Like the first few snowflakes that precede the blizzard, supporters of Howard Dean flew in one by one, the forces gathering for the "Perfect Storm" get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort for the former Vermont governor. One of those snowflakes -- John Lovaas, 60, of Reston, Va. -- was on my plane from Washington and landed in my hotel, where I asked, the next day, how his canvassing was going. "The undecideds were leaning [Sen. John] Edwards [D-N.C.] and leaning Dean," said Lovaas. "I heard Edwards more than [Sen. John] Kerry [D-Mass.]. One lady told me she liked Edwards because he hadn't gone negative." Perhaps in response to a precipitous decline in the Zogby polls tracking Iowa, Dean is pulling his negative ad dismissing the rest of the field as "Washington Democrats." It can't come a moment too soon for the erstwhile front-runner. Word on the ground matches what's happening in the polls: The race is too close to call. There is no clear leader, but undecideds seem to...

The GOP Deploys

An undisclosed location, Va. -- From the outside, the headquarters of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign is completely unremarkable -- so unremarkable that passersby have no way of knowing it's even there. Through the tinted windows of the Arlington office tower where the headquarters is lodged, people shuffling papers can be glimpsed as through a glass darkly. There is no storefront-style sign out front, even though the office is on the ground floor, nor is there a sign on the door. The campaign is not listed in the building directory, and there's no address for it posted on the Internet or in the local directory services. "Our location is disclosed, but not completely," says Brian Danza of the Bush-Cheney communications office. "We just don't like having media people out here." The administration's love of secrecy, its concerns about being a soft target for terrorists and its desire to depict the president as above the fray have turned the re-election project into the ultimate...

Trail Mix

The end of an era. A surefire sign that former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.) successfully repositioned himself as a mainstream centrist (for at least one hour): A journalist attending yesterday's local, audio-only transmission of Dean's third major foreign-policy address, given in Los Angeles, was spotted falling asleep. As the afternoon sun poured into the National Press Club's First Amendment Lounge, a steady torpor crept across the seated Washington audience. Even a Dean supporter in the back of the room wearing an "I'm empowered by Howard Dean" button began to look anything but; his eyes glazed over and drooped shut while Dean's team of foreign-policy experts carried weightily on about the seriousness of the situation in Iraq. In short, Dean finally held his first true Washington event. Perhaps, too, the foreign-policy speech finally signaled the emergence of the real Howard Dean. At least it was supposed to. Most of it was considered, careful, nuanced and detailed enough to be...

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