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

And They're Off!

Elections are invariably more messy, more contingent, than they may seem in advance, and the coming year's Democratic presidential primaries are unlikely to prove an exception. Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), who has fervor, volunteers and money to burn—and now, with former Vice President Al Gore's endorsement, has begun to pick up major establishment support—could effectively end this thing as early as Feb. 3. Or not. On that date, his opposition could be winnowed down to a sole anti-Dean—retired Gen. Wesley Clark seems the likeliest prospect—who'd then duke it out with Dean in subsequent primaries. Or not. The power of the voters is often the power to confound—in the primary process, state by bloody state. Herewith, then, a cheat sheet on who's strong where, what to expect and what defies augury. Washington, D.C., Jan. 13 (0 Delegates) Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), John Edwards (D-N.C.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.), Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Clark have pulled out of the inside-...

Detroit Pistons

DETROIT -- If Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was hoping to focus attention on the problems of his city -- or those of urban America in general -- by hosting the latest Democratic presidential debate, he must have been sorely disappointed with the event itself. Moderator Gwen Ifill (of PBS) and panelists Carl Cameron (of FOX News) and Huel Perkins (of Detroit's local FOX affiliate) largely ignored urban issues, choosing instead to confront the candidates with what Ifill called the "conventional wisdom" about their weaknesses and yet another round of questions on Iraq. Detroit itself got little attention during the debate -- which was co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and FOX News -- except when Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) incorrectly declared that the city had suffered 300 murders in September; actually, the number was 35, as Perkins pointed out later in the debate. "I think it's horrible," Kilpatrick later said of Kucinich's blunder, according to columnist...

Shock of the Old

The smallest crowd of Howard Dean's Sleepless Summer Tour in late August consisted of about 450 people. They'd gathered at the airport outside Boise, Idaho, on a splash of tarmac surrounded by sparkling, cloudless sky. There, where the crumpled, arid desert gave way to the pine-covered Boise Foothills, amid the mingled scents of jet fuel and dust, they waited for former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.) to arrive. When he did, Dean supporter Delmar Stone approached the microphone and introduced the presidential hopeful to the crowd by way of a jaw-dropping comparison. "The last time I was this excited about someone who could change the world was when I heard about Jesus!" Stone said. "Oh, come on!" exclaimed the man standing next to me. It was such an over-the-top thing to say, seeming to reflect more than anything what a neglected bunch the Idaho Democrats are. Few national Democratic candidates come to stump in Boise, and, when they do, the beleaguered partisans get a little overexcited. But...

Fan Friction

For months they were in on the world's greatest secret. While other Democratic Party insiders and Internet aficionados toiled for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), they held out hope that retired Gen. Wesley Clark might enter the presidential race. No one paid them much mind. But they hung on Clark's every word, read his book, Waging Modern War , with reverent care, and extrapolated his policies and positions from casual phrases the general dropped while serving as a war analyst for CNN. When they heard rumors that Clark was concerned about his ability to build a campaign organization, they started recruiting national coordinators. When they heard that he was worried about raising money, they created an online pledge system to show him that folks would donate, if only he would run. When they rounded up media reports about him, they even used the online term for when people take famous figures and then write their own stories about them: "Fan Fic." Then,...

Virtual Politics

Retired four-star Gen. Wesley Clark seemed a very appealing fellow to retiree Eric Carbone. "I came out of retirement to work for this guy," he says, looking up from his computer in an office just around the corner from the White House. Carbone, a member of DraftWesleyClark.com , spent the past two months encouraging Clark to enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Carbone's not a gray-haired, wizened old fellow deferring a move to Palm Beach because of his passion for the good general and worries about national-security issues. Carbone is only 33 years old. He's been retired for just one year. He's a little-heralded member of a new breed whose fates used to be detailed in slick, now-defunct dot-com magazines like the Industry Standard . He'd made a fortune in the tech sector after selling his Internet company, Real Fans Sports Network, to AOL Time Warner. Today, without a whole publishing sector devoted to their every move, former tech-world people like Carbone...

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