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

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...

Still A Thief:

In these early days of the Bush Restoration, it's easy to muster up the kind of sheer animus that so occupied the right when Bill Clinton eased into office on the strength of a bare plurality back in 1992. And it's not pleasant. Some days -- when W. nominated the sleazy Ted Olson as Solicitor General, for instance, or reinstituted the deeply offensive "gag rule" on foreign reproductive health providers -- some dark, feverish part of my brain fantasizes about a left-wing Rupert Murdoch or Richard Mellon Scaife arising from the ashes to drag W. through the mud. Perhaps a Texas Project to match the Clinton-era Arkansas Project? I know, I know, we've all had enough of that. But where's Ted Turner when you really need him? Now come the partial results of the Miami Herald / USAToday /Knight-Ridder recount of Florida ballots to spoil my fantasy. If even a lenient standard -- counting "faintly-dimpled chads" -- had been used to count "undervotes" in Miami-Dade County, Gore would only have...

Nader's Raid

I n late April, the forces of compassionate conservatism issued notice of yet another battle won over the evils of Clintonism. "Bush Shows Strength in Pacific Northwest," proclaimed a press release from the Bush campaign in bold faux newspaperese. And indeed, according to two new polls, George W. Bush was edging Al Gore by one point in Washington and three in Oregon. But though the Democrats have indeed lost ground in the region, it's not Bush who's winning it: Garnering a surprising 7 percent in the Oregon poll was longtime consumer gadfly and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. You can be forgiven if, perhaps, you missed Nader's candidacy. He declared back in February, but although he quickly polled as high as likely Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan, the media have not paid much attention. They can be forgiven, too: In 1992 and 1996, Nader perfected the art of the desultory anticampaign, rarely hitting the campaign trail,...

Pages