Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Recent Articles

Disconnected

They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. If so, Stephen Hayes must not want us to take his new book, The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America , very seriously. At a publicity event for the book held on June 3 at the American Enterprise Institute, epicenter of the crazy wing of conservative foreign-policy thought, Hayes found himself surrounded by some rather unsavory allies. Moderating the panel and supporting Hayes' point of view was Michael Ledeen, advocate of an ultra-hawkish line on Iran who, rather awkwardly, is also a leading supporter of Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi and possessor of some unexplained ties to the mullahs dating back to his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. Another Hayes supporter on the panel was James Woolsey, the former CIA Director-turned-lunatic who's given to speculation that America could resolve its energy problems through a speedy invasion of Saudi Arabia. And introducing the group was...

Mole in Our Midst

Surveying the vast wasteland that George W. Bush has made of American governance, even the most sophisticated observer is driven to ask, like the simple son at a Passover seder, what is all this? The most compelling hypothesis so far is that we have not one president but two. Or, rather, two shadow presidents. Domestic policy is the land of Karl Rove -- ruthless, cynical, malign yet cunning. As Paul O'Neill has told us, politics trumps principle at every turn, and rather than the agenda of small-government conservatism, liberal ideas and programs are turned into a disciplined machine aimed at securing Republican hegemony and corporate profits. Abroad, however, we are in Dick Cheney's world, where grand visions meet a naïveté that would be almost touching had it not gotten so many people killed. In both domains, a disregard for the facts dominates, but whereas the home front features well-crafted lies aimed at securing the president's political future, on foreign policy the...

The Quiet Candidate

With bad news coming from all sources -- security nightmares in Iraq, dissenters in the conservative ranks, and a half-dozen scandals under investigation -- George W. Bush seems to be tumbling toward defeat with hardly a push from challenger John Kerry. But is this the best way for Kerry to prepare for November? Prospect writing fellow Matthew Yglesias and Paul Waldman, editor in chief of The Gadflyer , discuss the pros and cons of a low profile. Matthew Yglesias It's hard to argue with success, and John Kerry's campaign strategy -- playing duck and cover while a tidal wave of bad news hits the Bush administration -- has paid dividends so far. But he can't stay close to the ground much longer. The tactic of trying to stay out of the headlines leaves his presidential hopes dangerously exposed to the vicissitudes of current events. On the domestic front, the string of bad news on the job market that was once thought to provide the Democrats' best hope has evaporated, and most economists...

He Told You So

Remember Howard Dean? Early last December he was riding high. Having been dismissed early in the campaign by even his fans as a hopeless cause, he'd managed to parlay a wave of anti-Bush sentiment and novel Internet organizing into front-runner status for the Democratic nomination. Still, two interconnected questions remained. First, could he beat George W. Bush? And second, did he have what it takes to run a campaign likely to focus on foreign-policy questions? On December 15, 2003, Dean had a chance to dispel those doubts. His strong showing had allowed the campaign to attract interest from many of the Democratic Party's foreign-policy heavies, who'd busied themselves working with Dean's staff to compose an address underlining the candidate's basically centrist, mainstream convictions. His support for the Gulf War and those in Kosovo and Afghanistan, along with his advocacy of a tough stance on North Korea, were to be on display. The public would see a new Dean (or, rather, a new...

History Schmistory

After several weeks of panic over the Kerry campaign's supposed inability to take advantage of the recent bad news for the Bush administration, a new meme has risen to the fore. With a more sophisticated look at the polls, the new thinking goes, we can see that John Kerry's going to win. Big. The logic, implicit in a recent Andrew Kohut op-ed , is made more explicit by Mark Mellman in The Hill and stated even more clearly by Hotline Editor Chuck Todd in the current issue of The Washington Monthly . The key move in all three pieces is to take a look at history: Incumbent presidents almost never win in close elections. Sometimes, as in 1984 and 1996, the public is basically satisfied with the direction in which the country is headed, and the incumbent wins easily. Other times, as in 1980 and 1992, the public is not. In the latter cases, misgivings about the challenger tended to keep the race looking fairly tight for a while, but eventually those disenchanted with the incumbent found...

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