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

Guarded Pessimism

John Edwards is optimistic. Not only is he optimistic, he's not afraid to say so, peppering virtually every public appearance with references to his sunny outlook. And he's proud of it, too. "The cynics didn't build this country," the stump speech goes. "Optimists built this country." Speaking to supporters after the polls closed in New Hampshire, Edwards referred to his "extraordinary vision of optimism and hope." He's even gone so far as to name his political action committee "New American Optimists," just in case you somehow missed the speeches. In personal terms, Edwards has every reason to be optimistic. On the merits it's a bit hard to see why a first-term senator with almost nothing in the way of legislative accomplishments under his belt would be a major contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. Nevertheless, Edwards shot out of nowhere to take second place in the Iowa caucuses. His fourth-place finish Tuesday night just behind Wesley Clark was a bit of a...

Snake Oil

Just one year after his now-infamous claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy African uranium for use in Iraq's apparently nonexistent nuclear-weapons program, President George W. Bush has once again chosen to paint a picture of the State of the Union -- and, indeed, the world -- that is essentially fraudulent. Like last year, he started his speech with foreign affairs. He first sought to parry the main lines of criticism against his policies in this regard: that Iraq did not, in fact, have the weapons of mass destruction against which he warned last year, and that the administration's policies have been dangerously unilateral. On the weapons-of-mass-destruction front, Bush said, "Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day." It's an elegant shifting of the goal posts away from the actually existing weapons of which the president used to speak. Regarding unilateralism, the president professed not to understand calls to...

Nit Picklering

A Dec. 10 wire story took a look at a recent Democratic debate and concluded that Democrats "sometimes leave out the facts" in their critiques of the Bush administration. For example: "[S]everal of the nine candidates criticized the tax cuts George W. Bush pushed through Congress. But none mentioned that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan . . . has cited those cuts as a reason for the recent economic growth." Shocking! Sources indicate that the candidates also failed to mention the Tuesday-evening chicken wings special at the Lucky Bar and my little brother's late guinea pig, creatively named Guinea. Welcome to the exciting world of "Nit Picklering," a label devised by popular liberal blogger Atrios to honor Associated Press campaign reporter Nedra Pickler's invention of a new standard for honesty whereby a Democrat is lying every time his or her comments neglect to include literally the whole truth, whether or not the overlooked fact actually contradicts the claim in question...

The Verdict on Vouchers

Observers marveling at President George W. Bush's ability to push a radical agenda through a closely divided Congress have tended to attribute the administration's success to the impressive party discipline within the Republican congressional caucus. And impressive it is -- both historically and, especially, in comparison to the anarchic behavior of the Democrats during the same period. Nevertheless, the Bush agenda of steep tax cuts, large spending increases targeted mainly at friendly corporate interests and aggressive militarism has provoked a steady stream of defections from a shifting combination of moderates, deficit hawks and traditional foreign-policy realists. As a result, literally none of the president's signature initiatives -- from tax cuts to the resolution authorizing war in Iraq to the Medicare bill -- garnered sufficient GOP support to pass without cooperation from some Democrats, cooperation that the White House has largely succeeded in obtaining. Among the defectors...

Bad Max

Observers marveling at President George W. Bush's ability to push a radical agenda through a closely divided Congress have tended to attribute the administration's success to the impressive party discipline within the Republican congressional caucus. And impressive it is -- both historically and, especially, in comparison to the anarchic behavior of the Democrats during the same period. Nevertheless, the Bush agenda of steep tax cuts, large spending increases targeted mainly at friendly corporate interests and aggressive militarism has provoked a steady stream of defections from a shifting combination of moderates, deficit hawks and traditional foreign-policy realists. As a result, literally none of the president's signature initiatives -- from tax cuts to the resolution authorizing war in Iraq to the Medicare bill -- garnered sufficient GOP support to pass without cooperation from some Democrats, cooperation that the White House has largely succeeded in obtaining. Among the defectors...

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