Nicholas Confessore

Nicholas Confessore is a reporter for The New York Times. Previously he was an American Prospect senior correspondent and an editor of The Washington Monthly.

Recent Articles

The Winner: Clintonism

L ast month, as victory slipped from Al Gore's grasp, a palpable gloom settled over certain members of Washington's opinion elite. Their candidate just wasn't all he had been cracked up to be. Sure, he had made some concessions to the base, championed a couple of core issues, even cultivated a few of the party's ideologues and intellectuals. But at the end of the day, they still had to wonder: Is he really one of us? I'm referring, of course, to the conservatives. Governor George W. Bush, grumbled the editors at the National Review , "has not advocated any substantial retrenchment of federal activity, and has made a lot of promises to spend tax money. He has been weak in confronting racial preferences, blind to the dangers of uncontrolled immigration and the flaws of bilingual education, and silent on the debate over the feminization of the military." Their compatriots at The Weekly Standard were even more indignant. Bush's "lily-livered unwillingness to...

The Rorschach Candidate

What, exactly, does George W. Bush think about homosexuals? Sifting through his campaign detritus, curious voters will find neither a stock denunciation (à la Gary Bauer) nor a pro forma statement of support (à la Bill Bradley). Though he refuses to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans, Bush can point to a number of openly gay staffers working for his various state campaign operations. And yet as far as the Christian Coalition is concerned, Bush is opposed to gay adoption, gay marriage, and hate-crime laws--he is "for equal rights" but "against special rights." When other Republicans attacked ambassadorial nominee James Hormel last spring for his alleged promotion of a "gay agenda," Bush remarked, "If someone can do a job, and a job that he's qualified for, that person ought to be allowed to do his job." Join the conversation! Discuss this article in Political Prospects , part of The American Prospect's Online Forums...

The Bradley Republicans

By most conventional standards, Robert L. Burch III is an unlikely supporter of Bill Bradley. A 65-year-old executive at a New York hedge fund, Burch detests teachers' unions, trial lawyers, and liberal special interests. He believes in school vouchers, Social Security privatization, welfare reform, and, unhesitatingly, the Laffer Curve. "The press would call me conservative," says Burch, "but those labels are misleading." No matter that Bradley, a centrist liberal in the Senate, is by all appearances running a liberal-progressive campaign for president. "It's not an issue-centered campaign, because the issues aren't as important as Bradley's presidential character," says Burch, who helped sponsor Bradley's Madison Square Garden extravaganza and held a fundraiser last August at his summer home in East Hampton. "I trust Bradley to do the right thing in a moment of crisis." Such is his confidence that Burch believes the early years of a Bradley presidency would...

King of the Hill?

E arly in December, as the Florida Supreme Court mulled over Al Gore's fate, a few dozen reporters crowded into a Senate press gallery for a conference with the newly elected Democratic leadership. After several minutes of introductions, a reporter called out a question to Thomas Daschle, the Democratic minority leader since 1994. If the Senate turned out to be 50-50, the reporter asked Daschle, "what would be your title?" The question was intended literally; with Congress's upper chamber split down the middle, there would no longer technically be a minority to lead. But the uncertainty was as good a metaphor as any for our peculiar political moment. For if the final days of election 2000 seemed to recapitulate all the worst tropes--the armies of lawyer-partisans, the careless talk of coups--of the era coming to a close, it was then, in the Senate, that one could glimpse the era that lay ahead. Even as George W. Bush grasped the tattered mantle of victory...

Lowering the Bar

I t wasn't surprising that during the fight over John Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general, one side seemed especially eager to discuss his putative racism while the other side eschewed the matter. But it was surprising that his defenders were the eager ones. "I have never known John Ashcroft to be a racist," proclaimed Oklahoma Representative J.C. Watts, who testified on Ashcroft's behalf. "It is not pleasant for me to hear terms such as racism applied to you," sniffed Bob Smith, sometime-Republican senator of New Hampshire, with a nod to his old colleague. "Branding a good man with the ugly slur of 'racist' without justification or cause is intolerable," Missouri Republican Kenny Hulshof told the Senate Judiciary Committee. But who, exactly, was branding Ashcroft a racist? "Let me be very clear about one thing," Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy announced when he gaveled to order the first day of hearings. "This is not about whether...

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