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

Summer Lovin'

From the looks of things, this was supposed to be the beginning of the Summer of Love, Bush White House-style. The president actually sets foot in France; he shakes the hands of surrender-monkeys Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder, and even tells the former that he should stop by the next time he's in the neighborhood. He sits Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas down together, and he -- or Secretary of State Colin Powell, or someone -- gets Sharon to use the word "occupation," which is at least mildly shocking. (We can be certain that if it had been Bill Clinton's administration doing the nudging, the howls from the right wing would have been ceaseless.) Finally, in the more-than-mildly-shocking-department, gay people are invited to the White House -- not to meet with Bush himself, of course, but nevertheless to the White House, and by all accounts through the usual visitors' door. Well, it's getting to be re-election season, which means it's...

Bury It

When reading news stories about the Democratic presidential hopefuls, and about the Democratic condition generally, I often find myself conducting the Rove test. This is our era's political version of the Rorschach test and consists of one question: What does the information herein look like to the president's guru and amanuensis? That is to say, is Karl Rove -- whose goal is not merely to re-elect (er, elect) George W. Bush but to realign American politics for the foreseeable future -- nervously bouncing his knee or tapping his fingers as he reads a news item about Democratic goings on? Is he filing it away as something to keep an eye on or assign a minion to monitor? Or is he, as I often dolefully conclude, chortling away? Two recent documents, I suspect, left Rove high-fiving his associates and popping the champagne. Exhibit A was the Democratic Leadership Council's attack two weeks ago on Howard Dean. The DLC, firing its cannonade across the party's portside bow, averred that Dean...

Fortunate Son

I swore in something I wrote elsewhere last week that I wasn't going to get angry about George W. Bush's jumpsuit caper, and I'm not. My gut is still telling me that most middle-American swing voters saw the stunt for what it was, and that not a few soccer moms came away vaguely put off by Bush as flyboy. A (that is, yet another) media swoon is not to be confused with public reaction; if it were, Ken Starr would have had Bill Clinton's scalp by late spring of 1998 at the latest. But here's what I am mad about, thinking back over the whole pathetic arc of the Bush-as-virile-commander propaganda assault: the completely dishonest trashing during the last presidential campaign of Al Gore's military record, a record that was entirely honorable but that the right-wing howlers had to tear to shreds and create questions about precisely because they knew their man was so deficient in this very area. And it's worth being mad about because they'll do a version of it all over again to whomever...

Stealth Fighters

George W. Bush hopped aboard Air Force One and flew out to New Mexico, Nebraska and kindred pressure-point states to hawk his new tax cuts just days after the administration announced that another plane, this one flying from Baghdad back to the states, would ferry home Task Force 75, the military unit in charge of finding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The task force grumpily packed its bags, having scoured the landscape for several weeks and unearthed mostly fertilizer. What, aside from aviation, do these two developments have in common? Plenty, it turns out. Both are vivid representations of this administration's dishonest modus operandi, which is to proclaim that the goal is X when it's really Z, then construct arguments around X that make it sound as if anyone who's against it is against hot dogs on the Fourth of July. It works, too, and if the Democrats are going to have a chance next year, they need to find ways to get out of the box Karl Rove wants to put them in and...

Tone Deaf

I was in Ames, Iowa, in the summer of 1999 for the Republican straw poll. The event is best remembered at this point for the lavish nature of Steve Forbes' hospitality tent, which redefined supply-side economics. Generous portions of lobster were supplied, and while I didn't make it near the teeming feeding troughs, I did get inside the tent, where Debbie Boone supplied the entertainment. While Boone was lighting up the lives of the Forbesians, George W. Bush was out in the parking lot with Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Co.) and the Coloradoan's boisterous contingent of motorcyclists. Bush, wearing a denim shirt at this point (an early clue that his people thought of everything ), concluded his talk by announcing that he was going to Washington to bring "dignity" to the White House and to "change the tone" in the capital. I looked around at the nodding heads and realized that this formulation seemed to strike only me as blatant doublespeak: He was twisting the knife into Bill...

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