D ean Acheson called it "the revolt of the primitives"—that headlong lurch to the right in the late 1940s and early 1950s that culminated in Joseph McCarthy's charge that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were riddled with communists and fellow travelers. "I have here in my hand," McCarthy intoned, "a list of 205 names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department." McCarthy's claims were ultimately discredited, of course—along with the senator himself. But today the story is taking a new turn. A growing number of writers and intellectuals are beginning to argue that for all McCarthy's bluster and swagger, he may have been right after all. And I don't just mean writers on the right. Editorializing in the Washington Post in 1996, Nicholas Von Hoffman concluded that "point by point Joe McCarthy got it all wrong and yet was still closer to the truth than those...
T hough it now seems likely that the Republicans will retain—and perhaps expand—their narrow majority in the House of Representatives, the House GOP caucus remains riddled with vexatious regional and ideological divisions. The din of presidential scandal may have kept Democrats from exploiting those divisions in this election season, but the fissures are real and are sure to grow. To hear Republicans tell it, such divisiveness is just the price of being the majority party. But there's a problem with this "big tent" view of the GOP. Every governing coalition is built from multiple and even conflicting constituencies; but their effectiveness depends on how they are able to hold together and act in concert. And on that count the current Republican Party comes up very short. The last several years have shown that the modern conservative coalition is not only unstable, but inherently so. Thus the party's problems are neither the abrasive personalities of its leaders nor the over-exuberance...
G eorge W. Bush and his advisers, stumbling toward the presidency in the aftermath of a bloody election, believe that early compromise and conciliation (or at least the appearance thereof) are crucial if the administration is to attain any kind of political legitimacy or success. But extremists in Bush's own party have other ideas: Despite the infinitesimally small margin and dubious means by which Bush won the electoral vote--and despite his having lost the popular vote--Republican factions in both the House and the Senate want to use their own razor-thin majorities to govern as though they won the election with a decisive mandate. And precisely because Bush has been so weakened by events, it's the extremists in the party who are calling the shots. That's bad news for a Bush presidency.
Nowhere has this fissure in the Republican ranks been clearer than in the now evenly divided Senate. Ever since Maria Cantwell finally defeated Slade Gorton in Washington...
Beginning in Arkansas when Bill Clinton first decided to run for president, a cluster of the future president's die-hard opponents set about trying to derail his quest. They plied eager journalists with tales of Clinton's immoralities and illegalities. Aficionados of the Clinton scandal stories will recognize many of the names. Cliff Jackson: Clinton's contemporary and onetime friend, a fellow Rhodes scholar, and later an embittered foe who played a key role in publicizing damaging stories and helping launch the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit.
"Justice" Jim Johnson: a colorful and determined Clinton enemy who founded and led the Arkansas White Citizens' Council. The oddball duo of Larry Case and Larry Nichols: a sort of Clintonhating Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who flitter in and out of the narrative, making mischief and providing comic relief, taping friends and enemies alike, plotting against Clinton one moment and his...
August 10, 2000 -- Getting Their Money's Worth :
On August 3rd the Hotline reported the results of a new poll that showed
that a clear majority of the public (65 percent) believes that the government's
antitrust case against Microsoft is "politically motivated by competitors"
and that roughly twice as many voters would be less likely (33 percent), rather
than more likely (17 percent), to vote for a politician who supports the
But the folks at the Hotline left out one detail. The poll was, in
essence, a poll Microsoft had commissioned about itself. The organization
that sponsored the poll is Americans for Technology Leadership. And as
the Prospect reported in its July 17, 2000 issue, ATL is really a front
group for Microsoft, technically independent, but really a wholly owned
subsidiary of Microsoft, run out of the company's PR department.
August 10, 2000 -- Lieberman's...