Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky is the American editor-at-large of the Guardian (UK). He was executive editor of the Prospect from 2003 to 2006.

Recent Articles

I Don't Like Sundays

Predictably enough -- who am I to try and outfox the demographers? -- I'm a National Public Radio listener. The radio presets in the house and car include an R&B station and C-SPAN radio (laugh if you wish). But the first two slots are dedicated to WAMU, the NPR affiliate that broadcasts out of American University, and WETA, the Arlington-based affiliate. Whenever I plop down in another part of our great nation, I get in the rental car, adjust the seat and mirrors, make for the airport exit lanes, and turn the dial to 90.9, because it's a good bet that almost everywhere in America, 90.9 is an NPR station of some sort. To give you an idea of the company I keep, I actually once impressed someone with this piece of recondite knowledge. I'm devoted to the Car Talk guys. I adore Brooke Gladstone and On The Media . I esteem Kurt Andersen and Studio 360 . I even go in for Garrison Keillor. I do hate that irritating Powdermilk Biscuit song of his, and in fact I readily acknowledge that...


NO, THIS IS THE BEST ONE. Without doubt , Kapuscinski �s greatest book is Shah of Shahs . I read it long ago. I remember I was over at my friend David �s house, and he was out doing something, so I just picked up this thin book off his shelf that looked sort of interesting. I was spellbound. Everything he wrote was at least very good, good enough that I was troubled briefly when suspicions began to arise that he kinda sorta embellished stuff, but I decided quickly that I wouldn�t be troubled, because his writing was so full of capital-T Truth that it didn�t matter to me that much. His descriptions of the way the Savak worked, invigilating itself into every aspect of daily life, are incredible. It�s only 160 pages, and I can guarantee that you won�t be able to put it down. So just get it now . --Michael Tomasky

Swing and a Miss

Back in 2001, the Republicans who then controlled the Michigan state legislature approved a successfully partisan redistricting plan. They managed to pit two incumbent House Democrats against each other -- and one of them wasn't just any incumbent. The Republicans had trained their sights on John Dingell, who'd been in the House since 1955 and who chaired one of the House's most powerful committees, Energy and Commerce. The redistricting plan threw Dingell in against Lynn Rivers of Ann Arbor, a standard university-town liberal who had first been elected, incongruously enough, in the Gingrich Revolution year of 1994. The new district was half Dingell's old district, and half Rivers'. Dingell won the August 2002 primary with nearly 60 percent of the vote. That isn't what's interesting today. What's interesting today is that a certain House Democrat who was then running for minority whip made a startling move -- she gave the upstart Rivers $10,000 to defeat Dingell. That Democrat, of...


VPOTUS? It�s pretty clear that Jim Webb tore it up last night. Aside from that odd reference to the �seventh� time Bush has spoken on energy independence in a SOTU (he�s given six), he was on fire, as my pal BB from Albany put it. I don�t think there was one clich� in the whole thing. The segue from father to himself to brother to son was engrossing without being maudlin, and the final phrase -- �if he does not, we will be showing him the way� -- was pitch perfect. I say he put himself in the veepstakes with his response. A hasty judgment, yes. And there are the downsides of a.) he will have been in the Senate for a year and change, and b.) all those old comments about women in combat would be dredged up again (the comments are from 1979). But being that effective on television, and being from Virginia� --Michael Tomasky


THE NAME GAME, CONT�D. OK, here�s my two cents on the subject: How about HRC ? I'm with Ezra on brevity and specificity. And you can�t really get any more brief and specific than three initials that are pretty much as instantly process-able as LBJ and JFK . But I disagree with Ezra on another point. He says that as long as she calls herself Hillary, he�ll call her Hillary. But why should what politicians call themselves dictate what we call them? Ezra, if you�d been blogging in 1973, would you never have employed Tricky Dick ? Mark wants her shown respect. Fine. But his solution doesn�t work, because if we�re going to call her Senator Clinton all the time, then don�t we also have to say Senator Obama all the time? And what about Edwards , who is now just Mr. Edwards? (This thread is getting to be a copy editor�s dream.) I would argue that HRC is respectful in a slightly cheeky sort of way and tonally consistent with the values of the blogosphere. Incidentally, the use of �Hillary� was...