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

Friends of Spam

It's no secret that much of the Democratic establishment fears Howard Dean. For months, rumors have abounded that party insiders will mount some kind of last-ditch effort to deny him the nomination he seems ever closer to securing. One natural focus of such speculation has been the 715 "superdelegates," party mandarins appointed to the Democratic National Convention outside the primary and caucus system. Blocking insurgencies, after all, is what they were put on this earth to do. After the tumultuous 1968 convention, the Democratic Party adopted a boss-free nominating system in which all delegates were selected by primaries and caucuses. But, explains West Virginia University professor Robert DiClerico, co-author of Choosing Our Choices: Debating the Presidential Nominating Process , "In subsequent conventions in '76 and 1980 there were criticisms of the fact that there weren't enough party people." Insurgent victories in 1972 and 1976, along with Ted Kennedy's strong showing in the...

Super Hype

It's no secret that much of the Democratic establishment fears Howard Dean. For months, rumors have abounded that party insiders will mount some kind of last-ditch effort to deny him the nomination he seems ever closer to securing. One natural focus of such speculation has been the 715 "superdelegates," party mandarins appointed to the Democratic National Convention outside the primary and caucus system. Blocking insurgencies, after all, is what they were put on this earth to do. After the tumultuous 1968 convention, the Democratic Party adopted a boss-free nominating system in which all delegates were selected by primaries and caucuses. But, explains West Virginia University professor Robert DiClerico, co-author of Choosing Our Choices: Debating the Presidential Nominating Process , "In subsequent conventions in '76 and 1980 there were criticisms of the fact that there weren't enough party people." Insurgent victories in 1972 and 1976, along with Ted Kennedy's strong showing in the...

Press One for Better Service

Something was wrong on my credit-card bill, so I placed a call to the issuing bank's customer-service line. The computerized voice told me to press "1" for customer-service inquiries on existing accounts, then to press "3" for credit cards. Following that, I entered my account number, and then my personal-identification number. After listening to an automated message that seemed designed to guess what my question was and encourage me to hang up the phone, I was put on hold. When a human being finally picked up, it turned out that I'd done the wrong thing: I had a billing inquiry, not a customer-service inquiry. After a transfer and another stint on hold, I got to talk to the right person, who needed my identifying information again. But she said she couldn't help me -- I needed to talk to the company that put the charge on the account in the first place. From there it was back on the phone, back to another round of button pressing and electronic voices telling me that "for quality-...

The Research Wars

Walking to my hotel through Amsterdam's deserted early morning streets, I felt a sharp poke in my back and heard an accented voice behind me. "Do you know what this is? It's a knife. Now, you are going to give me your money or else I will stab you, and kick you, and kill you, and throw you into the river." "That's a canal, not a river," I replied, before a second poke persuaded me to hand over the cash. In 1985, James Q. Wilson wrote, "There aren't any liberals left ... . They've all been mugged by now." Wilson had a point. Thoughts of humanitarian treatment for the perpetrators of violent crime flew out the window. If sending muggers to prison for life could make the streets safer, so be it. David Mulhausen, who studies crime at the conservative Heritage Foundation, concurs. "I'm a first-strike guy," he says. "You rob a bank, you should go away for the rest of your life. People who burglarize aren't accidentally walking into someone's house." Things haven't quite come to that in...

Partisan Paradox

Maybe conservatives are right and liberals really have been driven mad by their hatred of George W. Bush. How else to explain the fact that many progressives have greeted the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts' decision on same-sex marriages not as a triumph but as a source of despair? Liberals seem to fear that the decision will play into Bush's hands, allowing him to tar Democrats next year as supporters of gay marriage, which remains a relatively unpopular cause. The fact that the decision was the right one and that discrimination against homosexuals is abhorrent has, for many liberals, apparently become secondary to considerations of partisan politics. The New York Times reported as much this morning: For Democrats, such declarations raise the unwelcome prospect that next year's presidential contest will be fought, at least in part, on the kind of cultural issues that have repeatedly put them at a disadvantage over the last 20 years. And it seems certain to add to the burden...

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