Tara McKelvey

Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at the Prospect, is a research fellow at NYU School of Law's Center on Law and Security and the author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy on Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

Recent Articles

Fat Man Speaks Out

Jack W. Germond, 76, has covered politics for half a century for The Baltimore Sun and other publications and is, arguably, the country's most astute political reporter. These days he works in a Charles Town, West Virginia, home office with, as he says, "a huge triple window facing the Shenandoah River." In other ways, too, life seems good. He's lost weight (down to 220 pounds -- luckily, still enough to live up to his billing); lives only 10 minutes from a racetrack; and has a new book, Fat Man Fed Up: How American Politics Went Bad . Here, he talks about liberal journalists, October surprises, and why telling Bob Shrum to push off is one of John Kerry's greatest accomplishments. How did you come up with the title of your book? In my memoir, Fat Man in a Middle Seat , I talk about how people think covering presidential campaigns is a glamorous way to make a living. In fact, it often involves being trapped on standby in the Atlanta airport on a rainy Friday night and ending up as the...

One to Watch

CORNING, N.Y. -- Samara Barend, a 26-year-old congressional candidate in New York state, is barreling along in a Buick Rendezvous on a recent Friday when “an even bigger SUV,” as her campaign spokesman-cum-driver, Don Weigel, put it, nearly sideswipes her car. Barend looks shaken, but it's not the first time she's had a mishap on the campaign trail. On the morning of January 22, 2004, Barend was on the same highway -- a four-lane expressway, Route 17, designated the “Future I-86” -- on her way to New York City to meet with Abigail Disney, past president of New York Women's Foundation, when she got into a “horrible accident.” “I hit a pothole, and my car was completely totaled,” Barend says. Somehow, she persuaded the ambulance driver to drive her to Monticello, New York, where she got on a Greyhound bus and rode to New York City. Her lunch in an Upper East Side restaurant was a success: Disney donated $2,000 to her campaign. But that night, Barend went to Corning Hospital and...

Onward and Forward

On a blustery march day, Peter Schurman, the executive director of MoveOn.org, stands next to a Win Without War poster at a press conference on Capitol Hill. Schurman is a 34-year-old Yale School of Management graduate with a high forehead, blue eyes, and razor-sharp features who doesn't like to talk about himself. He's not a touchy-feely kind of guy. Yet a middle-aged woman in a gray sweater, Sue Niederer, is hugging him in front of a group of reporters. She has lost her son, Lieutenant Seth Dvorin, in the Iraq War, and she clutches Schurman's coat, twisting the fabric with her fingers. He stands next to her, stiffly, as tears run down her face. Finally, she untangles herself. “Get them home, and not in a box,” she says. “That's all I care about.” Even Schurman is moved: He pats her shoulder and murmurs a few comforting words. Still, he is from Maine. Instead of getting all blubbery, he and a group of volunteers set to work in front of the Cannon Office Building, assembling petitions...

The Zbig Idea

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national-security adviser and author of eight books, including The Grand Chessboard , has a hawk-like nose and blue eyes. These days, he works out of a K Street office decorated with a chess board, an Oriental rug, and a spiked club traditionally used by Ukrainian war commanders. He spoke recently with a visitor about his latest book, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership , and other topics. John Kerry is elected president and says, "I want a foreign policy that fights terrorism effectively but also preserves our moral authority in the world." What do you say? You focus on a clear identification of which terrorists are concentrating their hostility on America. Then you attempt to eliminate them. At the same time, you should undercut the political, social, and religious impulses that recruit such terrorists. In brief, you do not wage an undifferentiated, theologically defined, vague, and universal war against “terrorism with a global reach” that...

Good Bill Hunting

Harry Thomason, an Emmy-nominated producer and director, spoke recently about his new movie, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill Clinton , on a mobile phone while driving along California Highway 1. The film opens in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 25. What is the main message of your movie? The media does not do their job as thoroughly as they did in the past. The lesson for both sides -- not just the liberal one -- is you cannot take things at face value. You need to read a lot of newspapers and watch a lot of news channels and then form your own opinion. You say the media doesn't do their job. But maybe they were trying too hard when they wrote about Clinton. Yeah, they were looking for something that wasn't there. It's kind of like the National Football League. The number of teams has expanded so much over the years that they now need more players -- and the talent pool has gotten thinner on a per-team business. Most people who are playing today...

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