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

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="

Florida's Silver Lining:

Within a day or two, the U.S. Supreme Court may reverse last Friday's decision by the Florida Supreme Court and thereby effectively end Al Gore's chances of becoming president in January. It would be deeply hypocritical -- and wrong, moreover -- were Democrats to question the legitimacy of the Supreme Court's decision, however objectionable it is and regardless of the lines along which it is delivered. But as Gore prepares himself and his party for that possibility, it is crucial to point out that, up until that point, he has executed precisely the kind of endgame that the situation demanded. Even had he known from the beginning that he would lose in the end, Gore was right to wage the fight -- right to file his lawsuits, right to appeal and re-appeal, right to muster his party and his constituents, right to ignore the polls, and right to ignore those who urged him to pack it in for the good of the nation. The first thing Gore's stubbornness accomplished was to bring...

Of Racists and Republicans:

Editor's note: In the current issue of The American Prospect, staff writer Nicholas Confessore explains just why opposition to John Ashcroft, now George W. Bush's attorney general, was so ineffective. National Review editor Rich Lowry attacked Confessore's article a few days after it was posted on the web. Here, Confessore responds. I'm never sure whether to be insulted or gratified when a writer for the National Review accuses me of "McCarthyism," given the magazine's founder's notorious association with the man who gave birth to the word. And given that Rich Lowry assails me for name-calling, there's an awful lot of it in his own piece. (It seems I'm lazy, cowardly, and weak-minded) This sort of thing plays well on Crossfire , I guess, but it doesn't make for thoughtful debate. And the conservative slot on Spin Room is taken , big guy. But let me address Lowry's appraisal of my recent article about John Ashcroft on the merits. Lowry compares blaming the Republicans for David Duke...

Boycotts Will Be Boycotts

Flip the political calendar back to 1997: Led by the Southern Baptist Convention, social conservatives targeted the Walt Disney Corporation with a nationwide boycott in response to, among other sins, condoning "Gay Day" at Walt Disney World, having relatively gay-friendly corporate policies, and producing the sitcom Ellen . Now, back to the present: Gay civil rights groups are pressuring sponsors of Dr. Laura Schlessinger's forthcoming TV show, which will be syndicated by Paramount and feature the same bigotry and Crossfire -style family counseling we've come to expect from the good doctor, a radio personality who, as it happens, has her degree in physiology, not psychology. The main difference between the two controversies is that the Disney boycott failed miserably--Baptist kids are as good as non-Baptist kids at pestering their mommies to see Hercules --while the Dr. Laura boycott was, until recently, succeeding. Procter & Gamble, the show's...