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

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,...

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...

The Vindication of the IRS

Back in April of 1998, several employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) came before the Senate oversight committee to testify about a litany of supposed fraud and abuse at the agency. IRS officials, they charged, had pursued vendettas against outside individuals and corporations and fudged audits to help former co-workers who had moved to private industry. Many Republicans, especially antitax crusaders, denounced the IRS as just one more overbearing government agency in need of comeuppance--which they promptly delivered via the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, signed into law by President Clinton the summer after the hearings. They may have been too hasty. In late April, the IRS released a report completed by the General Accounting Office (GAO) in 1999 but kept confidential for nearly a year. GAO investigators found that although "witnesses were correct in some of the facts supporting their allegations in some of the cases ... the allegations...

Pages