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

Get Happy!

Not many commentators have been as insistent as I have that the Democrats stop letting themselves get kicked around and learn to play hardball the way the right plays it, an argument I've made in this magazine [see " Dems' Fightin' Words ," TAP , Aug. 26, 2002] and elsewhere. And so every time a Robert Byrd bashes President Bush for his flyboy routine, or a Terry McAuliffe lays into the GOP for politicizing September 11 with the timing of its convention, I always think that, whatever the short-term gain or loss (or neither, if, as is most often the case, no one paid much attention), in the long run it's still a good thing. The attack muscle is one the Democrats need to use lest it atrophy. If they can exercise it, one of these days a punch will land, and Karl Rove will finally be forced to play a little defense. But it's important to remember something else as we size up the Democratic presidential contenders and think about 2004: Attacks don't usually win presidential elections. In...

Yellow Streak

Pop quiz: If the Democrats are going to stand a chance of beating George W. Bush in 2004, they are going to have to put tremendous effort and creativity into winning over which of the following groups of voters: a) gay men and lesbians or b) people (gay, straight, whatever) who currently think that the post-September 11 United States is just somehow more secure in Republican hands? Yes, the question is a set-up. Republicans enjoy a bulbous advantage -- 30 points, even 40 in some surveys -- over Democrats on questions of foreign and domestic security. Sure, there are ways in which this isn't fair: the Department of Homeland Security was the Democrats' idea, the GOP's propagandists turn honorable dissent into treachery, all that. But however it got to be a fact, a fact it is. And it's not just a fact. It is the central fact of the presidential election at this early stage. The Democratic nominee will not stand a chance until he (I'm throwing out Carol Moseley Braun here; indulge me)...

Silent Treatment

The argument now picking up a good head of steam among commentators on the right -- and sure to last for as long as seems useful to them -- is that we on the left, broadly defined, have disgraced ourselves by essentially cheering for our own country to lose the war. Our hatred for George W. Bush, the line goes, runs deeper than our love of country. We predicted quagmire. We mocked the notion that the Iraqi citizenry would greet U.S. soldiers as liberators. We politicized a circumstance that, involving as it does life and death and loyalty to flag, should be above politics. The Weekly Standard made great sport of throwing certain quotes back in certain faces. Washington Times columnist Mona Charen did the same. More is surely on the way. Undoubtedly there was some rife nonsense floating around in left-wing circles. I learned in the wake of the first Gulf War that a person who has not made a life's study of military strategy -- me, say -- should not engage in the business of predicting...

Rupert Redux

Rupert Murdoch is back in the news. But then when is he not in the news? He is the news -- this time by virtue of having granted a rare interview to the enemy side, arriving here in the person of David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times . The interview demonstrates once again the devious and slippery brilliance (unfortunately, there is no other word) of the man and the "news" organizations built so fulsomely in his image, and reminds us that, rather than having reached the pinnacle of his power, he's just getting ramped up. It all made me think back over how he built his empire and how it might have been dealt a crushing blow once, but for the help, at an extremely crucial point, of mostly Democratic politicians. Murdoch came to the States in 1976 from Australia. In quick succession he purchased The Village Voice , New York magazine and, of course, the New York Post . It appears quaint to us today, but such was the temperate sensibility of 1976 that Time magazine put Murdoch on its...

Breaking Kristol

As a single cloud at sea can augur a typhoon, so can a short and superficially amiable piece by conservative intellectual godhead William Kristol in The Weekly Standard describe a coming right-wing line of attack against liberals that will thunder across the airwaves and op-ed pages for months, probably right up through November 2004. So buckle up, folks, because Kristol, for the April 7 Standard , has just written such a piece. It is a house -- no, a skyscraper -- of propaganda and lies. American liberalism faces a crisis, according to Kristol, because it sits on the cusp of one of its historic schisms, this time between "the Dick Gephardt liberals and the Dominique de Villepin left." The Gephardt liberals are the good guys here; they are pro-war, they understand the nefarious nature of the dragons out there that must be slain and they even earn the appellation "patriots." The Villepinistes -- well, you can imagine. There is, obviously, objective truth in the fact that the party is...

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