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...

Sessions vs. Sessions

Contrary to popular belief, it's rare to catch a politician in a moment of perfect hypocrisy. But the ongoing Senate fight over George W. Bush's nominees to the federal bench is providing many such opportunities. "You don't get absolute power to utilize your own personal prejudice without any justification to block even a consideration of a nominee," Republican Jeff Sessions complained last week. "Is there anyone here that thinks it was not a good government initiative to remove the power of a single senator [to] just block someone without any chance of review?" To say that Sessions is a late convert to the cause of good government would be an understatement. Along with Jesse Helms and Bob Smith, Sessions is one of the Senate's ablest practitioners of, well, blocking even the consideration of a nominee without any justification or any chance of review. Sessions and Smith led the fight against Richard Paez, whom Bill Clinton nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1996 --...

Are Virginia's Democrats Doomed?

Yesterday, Republican Randy Forbes narrowly beat Democratic Louise Lucas in a special election for Virginia's 4th Congressional District. Predictably, the GOP is claiming that this amounts to a "bellwether" victory for their president and their party; as goes Virginia's fourth CD, so, apparently, goes the nation. Also predictably, this is mostly nonsense. There's no doubt that this was a win for the GOP, which now holds a seat formerly occupied by the late Norman Sisisky, a Democrat. And it's a setback for Terry McAulliffe's Democratic National Committee, which is pouring serious money into Virginia these days (and which dispatched grassroots guru Donna Brazile to help out Lucas). But it's not at all clear how much broader significance the Forbes victory has -- for the district, for Virginia, or for George W. Bush. notwithstanding -- that the Democrats would likely lose Sisisky's seat if it ever came open. Though the Wall Street Journal href="