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

Young Master P

G eorge P. Bush does not smirk. He smiles. A brilliant, movie-star smile, a smile that has earned him the number-four slot on People 's list of America's 100 Most Eligible Bachelors and the adoration of thousands of reporters at the Republican convention. And when "P." bounds onto the stage at Philadelphia's Finnegan's Wake Pub, accompanied by the rapturous chant--"P! P! P! P! P!"--of several dozen College Republicans, when he grabs that microphone and smiles that smile ... knees weaken. Breasts heave. Men shake their heads, awed. Two bubbly blondes sidle up next to me, giggling, and snap pictures. Does it matter what P. says when he opens his mouth? Not really. For the record, it is something about getting involved--"You guys have incredible vision, getting started early and participating in politics!"--followed by something about apathy. Then P. announces that he is "honored to introduce this year's winner of the Lee Atwater Award ... John Kasich!" The crowd cheers lustily as Kasich...

Southern Comfort

W hen Democratic strategists scratch their pointy heads, searching for places where their party might pick up House seats in November, they do not typically look to the South. For Democrats, after all, the South has for decades been a region not of opportunities but of slow-motion disasters. The Republican Revolution came from thereabouts. So did Bob Barr. Tom DeLay is from the South. Newt Gingrich is from the South. Now, California-- there's a winner, a state where new people register Democrat practically every minute, a golden land of opportunity where photogenic Latinas (like Congresswoman Lorretta Sanchez) can knock off blustery right-wingers (like former Congressman Bob Dornan) on Ronald Reagan's old redoubt (Orange County). In other words, such strategists might say, screw the South. Mike Taylor would rather they didn't. In 1998 Taylor ran against Representative Robin Hayes, an entrenched Republican incumbent, in North Carolina's eighth district. "I had never run before,"...

Lost Causes

B ack in his day, Tom Downey was the proverbial good liberal congressman. Elected to the House in 1974 as the youngest representative in U.S. history, Downey was one of the Watergate Babies--that cohort of reform-minded idealists swept into Congress on a wave of anti-Nixon public disgust. During the 1980s, Downey fought against cuts in school lunches, college loans, Medicaid, and other domestic-spending programs sacrificed on the altar of Reaganism. He earned renown as a vigorous--if unsuccessful--opponent of Reagan's B-1 bomber program, even though his Long Island district was home to the program's single-largest contractor. (Downey also brawled, literally, with then-Congressman "B-1 Bob" Dornan, the program's greatest proponent, on the House floor.) Like Al Gore, with whom he became close during Gore's House career, Downey was a strong environmentalist. And thanks to both his own energy and the support of traditional Democratic constituencies, such as labor and teachers' unions,...