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

The Odd Couple

On a recent Thursday morning, not long after the Amadou Diallo verdict, Al Gore stopped by New York City's P.S. 163 to talk up his education proposals. Anti-Gore elves had been up early, stacking "Ask Al Gore" leaflets on tables at the entrance: "If you want to know how African Americans became identified ... as violent, gun-toting threats to society, ask Al Gore about his 1988 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Ask him what he said to Dukakis in the New York debate. Ask him how this was later picked up by the George Bush campaign as the 'Willie Horton' case." This was supposed to be Bill Bradley's turf. Where else would his message resonate more than here, at an integrated public school at the intersection of the famously affluent-but-leftish Upper West Side and Harlem, where anger over the death of an unarmed black immigrant has lately boiled over into spontaneous, multiracial street protests? No one seems to have told Gore this. He strides confidently into a...

Still A Thief:

In these early days of the Bush Restoration, it's easy to muster up the kind of sheer animus that so occupied the right when Bill Clinton eased into office on the strength of a bare plurality back in 1992. And it's not pleasant. Some days -- when W. nominated the sleazy Ted Olson as Solicitor General, for instance, or reinstituted the deeply offensive "gag rule" on foreign reproductive health providers -- some dark, feverish part of my brain fantasizes about a left-wing Rupert Murdoch or Richard Mellon Scaife arising from the ashes to drag W. through the mud. Perhaps a Texas Project to match the Clinton-era Arkansas Project? I know, I know, we've all had enough of that. But where's Ted Turner when you really need him? Now come the partial results of the Miami Herald / USAToday /Knight-Ridder recount of Florida ballots to spoil my fantasy. If even a lenient standard -- counting "faintly-dimpled chads" -- had been used to count "undervotes" in Miami-Dade County, Gore would only have...

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, making no effort to raise money, and generally being content...

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="