Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky is the American editor-at-large of the Guardian (UK). He was executive editor of the Prospect from 2003 to 2006.

Recent Articles

Eight Lies

Imagine that, after the failure of the health-care bill in 1994, Bill Clinton had come right back in 1995 and proposed the measure again. No, not only proposed it again but proposed a more radical version, arguing that it failed only because it was too watered down, and tried to bully its critics with reckless gunslinger talk about how they didn't care about the future of America. Virtually all of Washington would have thought Clinton ready for the loony bin under such circumstances. And yet this is exactly the m.o. of the current White House. Like one of those M.C. Escher prints in which water tumbles through an endlessly circulating sluiceway but ends up back where it began, Bush administration policy -- in Iraq and on other fronts -- operates on a logic that permits neither facts nor criticism nor other opinions to disrupt its precious flow of water to nowhere. The logic goes something like this: The White House lies and propagandizes. An ever-pliant media gobble up the lies and...

Strange Bedfellows

Early in the afternoon of July 25, Laura W. Murphy, the director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, was waiting for a friend at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport. They were due to head off for a quick Mexican lunch, and then to the offices of The Houston Chronicle , to try to impress upon that newspaper's conservative editorial board the potential dangers and ambiguities of the USA PATRIOT Act, passed overwhelmingly by Congress in the wake of September 11. The friend she was waiting for? Bob Barr, the former Georgia congressman best known for his bellicose role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. According to Murphy, a skeptical and understandably confused Chronicle editorial board met her and Barr. For the first 15 minutes, she says, the conversation was polite and stilted. But for the half-hour after that, it was "intense and engaged." "Bob Barr basically took the approach, 'Listen, I'm one of you, and I have a lot of problems with this...

Terminating Event

Every so often in life you have to go out on a limb. So here goes: Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be the next governor of California. What's more, his loss will represent an important moment in a shift in American politics that has been in gestation for some time now -- toward a politics in which voters make decisions more on the basis of their cultural affinities than in response to a candidate's charisma or fame. The media have already decided Schwarzenegger is close to a shoo-in. The Time magazine poll -- in which he led Gov. Gray Davis by 19 points and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante by 10 -- was widely perceived as showing his strength. In fact, it showed exactly the opposite. Schwarzenegger is probably among the two dozen most famous people in the world. A lieutenant governor is a lieutenant governor; he can drive himself to the video store and stare at the shelves for 45 minutes without a soul noticing. Usually a political candidate who is already famous and enters a race starts out...

Gang Green

Here they come again. As if the last two and a half years have been some sort of game show with no real consequences for America and the world, the Greens signaled at their national committee meeting this weekend that they have every intention of running a presidential candidate in 2004. It might be Ralph Nader, they say, or it could be Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia. But short of a megalomaniac whose tenuous purchase on present-day reality threatens to cancel out every good thing he's done in his life, or a discredited anti-Semite, they'll settle for someone less distinguished. The point is to siphon off Democratic votes unless the Democrats prove themselves pure enough to nominate Dennis Kucinich. This development, as I'll show later, presents a wonderful opportunity for a gutsy Democrat to ferociously and immediately attack Nader. But first some background. During the 2000 campaign, I used to go to bed wishing that the Christian Coalition were as...

Caving In

Remember back when the Taliban was evil? Sure you do. George W. Bush used that tough frontier talk of which his speechwriters are so fond, the press swooned and every decent American was made to understand that the Bush administration, unlike its morally rickety predecessor, would never give an inch to such people. So guess who's negotiating with them now? Last week a Pakistani jihadi leader told the Asia Times that he had set up a meeting between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials and Taliban leaders to discuss the seriously deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. At the meeting, held at a Pakistani air-force base, FBI officials floated the possibility that the Taliban might have a role in the future Afghan government on four conditions: that Mullah Omar be removed as leader, that foreign combatants engaged in fighting against U.S. and allied troops be deported, that any captive allied soldiers be released and that Afghans currently living abroad be brought into the government...

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