The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 15, No. 6, June

A Simple Plan: A Little-Known Democratic Legislator Has Proferred a Twofold Strategy to Prevent Future Terrorism. Now All He Needs Is a National Leader to Back It
ON APRIL 27, BENEATH THE FLUOREScent lights of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' basement conference room, Representative Jim Turner unveiled "Winning The War on Terror," a large report prepared by the Democratic staff of the House...
Read preview Overview
A Tale of Two Cities: In the Past Couple of Decades, Los Angeles and Houston Have Both Seen Huge Growth in Their Latino Populations-And in Latino Poverty. but That's Where the Similarities End
BY THE MIDDLE OF THE 20TH CENTURY, LOS ANGELES and Houston were the dominant cities in the dominant states of the just emerging Sun Belt. Politically, though, they were both still tight, white little towns. Each city had a remarkably small informal...
Read preview Overview
Come Together: Right Now, over Us. the Prospect's Co-Founder and the President of the Democratic Leadership Council's Think Tank Offer a Progressive Growth Strategy We Can All Agree On
IF LIBERALS AND NEW DEMOCRATS SOMETIMES SEEM LIKE the Hatfields and McCoys of center-left politics, it's because we each believe passionately that America's progressive soul is worth fighting for. For the most part, these debates within the family...
Read preview Overview
Drowned Out
Readers of The American Prospect don't need to hear that Donald Rumsfeld has been an awful defense secretary, that our actions in Iraq are fueling global terrorism, that George W. Bush's tax breaks for the rich are widening the gap between the rich...
Read preview Overview
Fighting Turnout Burnout: Why Europeans Turn out at Higher Rates and How to Improve American Participation
IN THE LAST TWO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, ABOUT half of Americans did not vote; many of them said they were too busy or not interested enough. In nonpresidential-election years, voter turnout has barely exceeded one-third of voting-age adults. The...
Read preview Overview
From George Wallace to Mitt Romney
EVER VIGILANT MASSACHUSETTS Governor Mitt Romney has lately decided that no Massachusetts law will go unobserved. The GOP governor has been especially concerned about a 1913 statute nullifying any marriage of a nonresident that would be illegal in...
Read preview Overview
Hauteur Theory: Even Liberal Critics Have Chastised Director Lars Von Trier, Who Vilifes an America He Has Yet to Visit. but What If His Real Target Is Europe?
BERTOLT BRECHT AND KURT WEILL had not yet visited the United States when they completed Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny). (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny). Luckily, they didn't let this deter them from pretending they had. Brecht's libretto,...
Read preview Overview
Health and Wealth: Our Appalling Health Inequality Reflects and Reinforces Society's Other Gaps
A LOOK AT AMERICANS' HEALTH REVEALS THE astonishing inequalities in our society. American girls are born with a life expectancy that ranks 19th in the world (in another survey they fall to 28th). Male babies rank 31st--in a dead tie with Brunei. Among...
Read preview Overview
How Nancy Pelosi Took Control: She Inherited a Total Mess When She Took over as House Democratic Leader. but against All Expectations, She's Brought New Discipline to the Caucus, Raised Record Amounts of Money, and Withstood the Republican Monopoly. Now All She Has to Do Is Win Back the House
"IT'S ROUGH AROUND HERE," NANCY PELOSI SAYS SOFTLY, almost in passing, as she scurries down a Capitol hallway from one meeting to another, greeting colleagues and staffers as she goes. The "here" in question is the House of Representatives, where...
Read preview Overview
In Praise of the Alternative Minimum Tax
America's tax system, the juice that fuels our nation, isn't doing well lately. Income-tax revenues have fallen to their lowest level as a share of the economy since before World War II, causing enormous deficits and threatening our nation's future....
Read preview Overview
Mission Semi-Accomplished: The "527" Ads Were Supposed to Insulate Democrats from Campaign-Finance Reform and Counter Bush's Advertising Blitz. So Have They?
SO FAR THE DEMOCRATS' MAGIC BULlet seems to be falling short. Ever since the McCain Feingold campaign-finance legislation passed, Democrats have looked to so-called 527 groups--named after a part of the tax code that allows groups to raise unlimited...
Read preview Overview
Our Unequal Democracy: Economic and Political Inequality Reinforce Each Other and Compromise Democracy
WHEN THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION was held in 1787, one of the participants' major worries was that a democratic government based on majority rule could pose a threat to minorities. They were especially worried that majority rule could encourage a...
Read preview Overview
Race and Representation: In Our New Multiracial Society, Minorities Need Strategically Effective Coalitions
ARE THE INTERESTS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN and Latino voters necessarily advanced by maximizing the number of blacks and Hispanics who serve in legislative bodies? Recent experience with districting, and the dynamics of coalition politics, suggest that...
Read preview Overview
Rocky Mountain Low: The Experience in Colorado Shows How Elites Set Agendas When Ordinary People Don't Participate
DURING HIS 12 YEARS AS A U.S. CONGRESSMAN from Colorado, David Skaggs did his best to listen to all his constituents. He held open office hours during which anyone could just walk in. He hosted town meetings around his district, which covered the northwest...
Read preview Overview
Silence of the Flock: The Surprising Thing Is Not That Christian Conservatives Have Defended Mel Gibson. It's That Many Catholic Liberals Haven't Uttered a Word
IF MEL GIBSON'S THE PASSION OF THE Christ is a problem, what is the problem, and whose problem is it, anyway? There are in fact two problems, and their relationship is both oblique and shadowy. The most important is the film's anti-Semitism. Gibson...
Read preview Overview
Solve Inequality with Democracy: The Agenda Will Change Only When Ordinary People Take Control of It
WE BOTH WORK IN NEW YORK CITY, WHERE the deepening inequality documented in the preceding articles is palpable in everyday life. Housing prices in Manhattan recently reached an average of $1 million, a cost that requires annual earnings of about $400,000...
Read preview Overview
The Faces of Honor, the Face of Shame
"Because we acted, torture rooms are closed, rape rooms no longer exist, mass graves are no longer a possibility in Iraq." --PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH in Michigan, May 3 JOE WEZOREK, A 31-YEAR-old computer programmer who lives in Pittsburgh, is...
Read preview Overview
The Meaning of Abu Ghraib
When other aspects of the Iraq War have long been forgotten, the images of American soldiers torturing Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison will still be remembered. No, the soldiers who committed the abuse are not representative of Americans in Iraq, but the...
Read preview Overview
The Narrowing of Civic Life: Professionally Run and Donor-Funded Organizations Are Trampling America's Real Grass Roots. What's the Upshot? Our Democracy Suffers and Elites Dominate
COMING TOGETHER IN TRADE UNIONS AND FARMers' associations, fraternal chapters and veterans' organizations, women's groups and public-reform crusades, Americans more than a century ago created a raucous democracy in which citizens from all walks of...
Read preview Overview
The Seduction: AARP's Support for Last Fall's Medicare Bill Shocked Many Democrats-And Thousands of the Group's Members. but If They'd Known This History, They Wouldn't Have Been Shocked at All
LAST JULY, AS THE DEBATE OVER A MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION--drug bill heated up, AARP, the nation's largest senior-citizen lobbying organization with some 35 million members, sent a letter to Congress detailing issues that "must be fixed" before it could...
Read preview Overview
Tom Jefferson, Republican
IT'S NO SURPRISE TO FIND misinformation on the White House Web site, but sometimes it pops up in the most unlikely places. Alongside administration propaganda, for instance, one can find biographies of all previous presidents on which one learns such...
Read preview Overview
Unenlightened Self-Interest: The Strange Appeal of Estate-Tax Repeal
THE SHARE OF INCOME GOING TO THE TOP ONE tenth of 1 percent of American families quadrupled between 1970 and 1998, leaving the 13,000 richest families with almost as much income as the 20 million poorest families. Ordinary Americans seem to be well...
Read preview Overview
Waiting to Happen: The Abuse at Abu Ghraib Didn't Shock Some Military People. What a Largely Neglected Part of the Taguba Report Details, They Already Knew
WHEN PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH asserted in his May 5 attempt to mollify the Arab and Muslim worlds that "what took place in [the Abu Ghraib] prison does not represent the America I know," Judy Greene nearly spat out a spoonful of dinner in disbelief....
Read preview Overview
Wise after All: The "Wise Men" Fell out of Liberal Favor a Generation Ago. but with John Kerry and the Democrats Searching for a Meta Foreign-Policy Message, Maybe It's Time They Fell Back In
IN THE WEEKS PRECEDING THE U.S. ATTACK ON IRAQ TO remove Saddam Hussein from power, George W. Bush asserted that "a new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the world." What Bush preached was...
Read preview Overview