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

Joe, KO'd

Of course Joe Lieberman could still win the Democratic primary next Tuesday. There's an X factor in every election, and in this one, with a three-term incumbent, it's this: A certain percentage of voters will be thinking “challenger” most of the week, but when the moment of truth arrives -- when they walk into the booth, actually look at the names, and move hand toward lever -- they suddenly and alchemically remember pressing the incumbent's flesh once in New Milford and decide he isn't so terrible after all. What we don't know is what percentage of voters will undergo that conversion next week. But if it's the case that Lieberman is reduced to counting on magical transmutations of electoral spirit, then he's in worse shape than downtown Bridgeport. Indeed, the question today is not the question the mainstream press has been asking, which is “What if Ned Lamont beats Lieberman?” The question today is: “What if Ned Lamont buries Lieberman?” The mind became focused on this new question...

HERE�S ONE DIFFERENCE....

HERE�S ONE DIFFERENCE. I have quite a few thoughts about Noemie Emery �s piece in the current Weekly Standard arguing that Bush is Truman , today�s neocons are the heirs of HST, and so on. But let me start with this side note. I remember reading, either in Dean Acheson �s memoir or in James Chace �s biography of Acheson, the following anecdote. One night, the Trumans and the Achesons were having dinner. For some reason, Central Asia and the Caucasus came up. Truman suddenly launched into a long and very informed disquisition on the history and culture of this �stan and that one. Mrs. Acheson was blown out of her shoes. She asked how he knew so much, and Truman said words to the effect, �I just started reading about it one day in the library when I was young, and I was fascinated. So I read everything I could on the region.� The point here isn�t simply to bash Bush as an intellectually incurious dullard who would never in a million years have chosen to auto-didacticate himself -- as a...

MORE FOR CHUCK...

MORE FOR CHUCK TO CHEW ON. Earlier this week, I noted in a post that Chuck Schumer had benefited from Democratic post-primary unity in New York in 1998 when his defeated opponents rallied to his side, and he went on to beat Al D�Amato . The idea is that now, as head of the DSCC, Schumer should learn from his own example and that the party ought to rally around the primary winner in, to pick a random state, Connecticut, let�s say. But an old friend writes in to tell me there�s a far better precedent for Schumer to follow, and it, too, involved D�Amato. It was 1980, and D�Amato was running against Jacob Javits in the GOP primary. Javits, like Joe Lieberman , was the party�s incumbent. D�Amato, like Ned Lamont , was the insurgent challenger. The GOP establishment had backed Javits in the primary. But when the Fonz won the September 9 primary, the GOP faced a dilemma, because Javits announced that he would continue to run in the general election on the Liberal Party ballot line, which he...

MORE ON NUTMEGGERS.

MORE ON NUTMEGGERS. Garance reminds me of something that will be a very important factor if Lamont wins the primary. If that happens, certain MSM liberal and centrist pundits will start writing immediately about how the Democrats have lost their soul, gone radical, cashiered the last good man (I know, but they will). That will set a tone: Virtue will triumph only if Lieberman pulls it out. That narrative will be set in stone unless, that is, three things happen. First, other Dem senators must follow Hillary �s lead (and come on, folks, give her props) and say they�ll support the Democrat. Key here obviously is Schumer , upon whom HRC has just put tremendous pressure. I covered Chuck�s Senate race, and Hillary campaigned hard for him. I was there the day after the 1998 primary, when contenders Gerry Ferraro and Mark Green stood next to Chuck at a press conference affirming that they would absolutely support the Democratic nominee -- support that was not exactly a given, especially in...

Keller Must Stay

Last December, I wrote a column on this site called “Keller Must Go,” arguing that New York Times executive editor Bill Keller had demonstrated a singular lack of courage in holding the famous James Risen-Eric Lichtblau NSA spying story for nearly a year before running it. I acknowledged at the time that there may have been valid reasons of which I was unaware for Keller to hold the story. But, I argued, the presumptive condition of journalism has to be to publish -- especially when you're running the country's most important (and still best) newspaper, especially when you're following in the footsteps of the men who risked jail time by publishing the Pentagon Papers, and especially when you're at the helm of the paper that employed Judy Miller and published her garbage about aluminum tubes on page one (in fairness to Keller, that happened under Howell Raines' tenure). Well. I'm not eating my words, but I do have to say that since I wrote that piece, the Times 's performance has been...

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