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

Boyer Plate

This week's New Yorker contains a profile of Wesley Clark with a striking thesis -- that the general's "military career, the justification for his candidacy, may also be a liability." Author Peter Boyer argues initially that Clark's plans for a military campaign against Slobodan Milosevic during the 1999 Kosovo conflict were too aggressive; then Boyer argues that the target list of sites to be bombed by NATO jets was not ambitious enough; then he faults Clark for pushing too hard to draw up plans for a ground war against Milosevic. Clark critics, such as former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen and former generals Tommy Franks and Hugh Shelton, get plenty of space in the piece.

Past Imperfect

Yesterday, National Review Editor Rich Lowry struck back against my earlier critique of his efforts to blame the Clinton administration for the September 11 terrorist attacks. Lowry, you see, has a new book out called Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years, and his magazine's Web site has been running Legacy-themed articles ever since the book's release.

Post Haste

My recent move from New York City to Washington has brought with it a lot of changes, among them a new morning newspaper. Yesterday, that switch paid off in the form of a magnificent front-page article by Mike Allen and Dana Priest in The Washington Post. The piece confirmed reports that two Bush administration officials had blown the cover of CIA operative Valerie Plame and quoted a senior administration official as saying it was done "purely and simply for revenge." Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was sent by the government to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from Niger.

Line Dance

In last season's final episode of The West Wing, President Josiah Bartlet invokes the 25th Amendment and relinquishes power so that the country can be led through crisis -- terrorists have kidnapped Bartlet's daughter -- by someone with an objective grasp of the situation. As it happens, however, the office of vice president is temporarily vacant, the previous occupant having resigned because of a sex scandal two episodes prior. Under such circumstances, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 dictates that the speaker of the House becomes the acting president, regardless of whether the two leaders are from the same party (on The West Wing they're not).

General Dynamics

The most obvious precedent for retired Gen. Wesley Clark's presidential campaign is that of Dwight Eisenhower, the only general in the 20th century to seek the highest office in the land. There was a period of time in the 19th century, however, when generals were a common sight on the campaign trail. Between 1840 and 1888, eight of 13 presidential elections were won by former generals, and several losing nominees had similar military backgrounds.