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

Targeting House Managers?

Poor Jim Rogan. The two-term congressman from California, it seems, is the focus of a dastardly campaign by Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party to take down the heroic House impeachment managers of yore. "I have been targeted for defeat," Rogan wrote in a recent four-page, tersely syntacted National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) letter. "They're out for revenge. Not because of policy differences. But because we had the courage to do the right thing." Rogan is indeed facing a stiff chal-lenge from Democratic state senator Adam Schiff, who has been campaigning and fundraising energetically and is neck-and-neck with Rogan in district polls. But that's the exception. Even with the Republican Revolution in retreat-- "compassionate conservatism" dominating the headlines, evil Tom DeLays replaced by cuddly Dennis Hasterts--most of the impeachment managers are likely to survive the 2000 elections. In fact, dire fundraising appeals aside, it is the NRCC's own estimation that...

Green Herring

Is the Green Party the worst threat to progressive politics since Reagan or its best hope since the New Deal?

U ntil recently, the Greens were among the least successful third-party movements in American history. None of the seven alternative-party governors elected since 1914 have been Greens. No Green presidential candidate has ever approached the electoral heights reached in this century by such third-party nominees as Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, George Wallace, or Ross Perot. More significantly, there has never been a Green member of Congress—not even in the House, which has had more than a few Independents, Progressives, Minnesota Farmer-Laborers, and Socialists. Only the Greens would consider 17 percent of the vote in a congressional race a resounding success, trumpet the fact that 57 of their members hold elected office in a country with more than 500,000 such offices, or nominate Al Lewis, who played Grandpa on The Munsters , for governor of New York. The list of elected Greens around the country is a who's who of electoral obscurity, from Mayor Julie Partansky of Davis,...

The Baucus Factor

If there was one Senate Democrat--besides Georgia's Zell Miller, that is--who was thought to be an easy vote for George W. Bush's megalithic tax scheme it was Max Baucus of Montana. In the presidential race last year, Montana went for W. by 24 points. It wasn't always that way. Back when Baucus entered the Senate in 1978, Montana--by virtue of mining strongholds like Butte and university towns like Missoula--was fertile ground for Democrats, and through the years Baucus has been able to maintain a moderate-to-liberal voting record (he voted for Bill Clinton's tax increase in 1993, for instance, and supported the E-Rate program to wire schools to the Internet). But over the past two decades or so, Montana, along with the rest of the mountain states, has joined the Republican fold. Though Montanans went for Bill Clinton in 1992, they elected Republican Marc Racicot as governor the same year. Racicot, in turn, was so popular--at one point in 1998, his approval rating was an astronomical...

Ridge Over Troubled Waters

T he last time a Catholic bishop from Pennsylvania took an ax to some promising piece of vice presidential timber, it was a Democrat who got felled. That was in 1984, when the late Cardinal John O'Connor--then recently promoted to New York's archdiocese from Scranton, Pennsylvania--attacked Geraldine Ferraro at a pro-life convention for "distorting" the church's position on abortion. Noted pro-choice Catholics like Mario Cuomo and Ted Kennedy jumped into the brawl, joined by assorted bishops and other prelates of the church. And Walter Mondale, who had expected his Catholic, Italian-American running mate to bring in crucial northeastern and midwestern ethnic votes, instead found himself defending his respect for religion. Sixteen years later, it's George W. Bush, still stung by charges of anti-Catholicism after his speech at Bob Jones University last winter, who's on the defensive--and Tom Ridge, the popular pro-choice Catholic...

The Odd Couple

On a recent Thursday morning, not long after the Amadou Diallo verdict, Al Gore stopped by New York City's P.S. 163 to talk up his education proposals. Anti-Gore elves had been up early, stacking "Ask Al Gore" leaflets on tables at the entrance: "If you want to know how African Americans became identified ... as violent, gun-toting threats to society, ask Al Gore about his 1988 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Ask him what he said to Dukakis in the New York debate. Ask him how this was later picked up by the George Bush campaign as the 'Willie Horton' case." This was supposed to be Bill Bradley's turf. Where else would his message resonate more than here, at an integrated public school at the intersection of the famously affluent-but-leftish Upper West Side and Harlem, where anger over the death of an unarmed black immigrant has lately boiled over into spontaneous, multiracial street protests? No one seems to have told Gore this. He strides confidently into a...

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