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. 12, December

All Action, No Talk: The Democrats Do a Very Good Job of Mobilizing. but They're Not So Great at Persuading
A CALIFORNIA LABOR UNION LEADER ONCE DESCRIBED TO me the 1966 campaign to re-elect Democrat Pat Brown as governor. "We had a massive campaign to identify our voters," he said, "we contacted everyone at least twice, and we did a tremendous job of getting...
An Uncertain Trumpet
Were the Democrats repudiated as too left wing for the country, especially on cultural issues? Or were they mainly outplayed? Depending on what one concludes, dramatically different remedies follow. In fact, the country was split almost evenly, as...
A Redder Senate in '06?
AFTER THE PUMMELING they took on November 2, Democrats consoled them selves by thinking that history will be on their side in 2006. After all, midterm elections normally spell congressional gains for the party out of power in the White House. Sure,...
Choice Language: Abortion Is a Right That Ends in Sorrow. Democratic Rhetoric in the Future Must Acknowledge This Fact
OK, I'VE UNLISTED MY PHONE NUMBER, CHANGED MY NAME, and moved to a different (red) state. Now I can safely say it: The Democratic defense of abortion makes me cringe. It's the stridency, the insistence, the repetition of a "woman's right to choose."...
Clothes Call: At Midnight on December 31, WTO Rules Regulating the International Trade in Apparel Are Set to Expire. If You Think China Is Dominant Now
AT MIDNIGHT ON DECEMBER 31, AMERICANS will toast the new year with a drunken round of "Auld Lang Syne." On the other side of the globe, China will be celebrating by opening new facto ties more than 3,000 new textile and apparel factories that will...
Conviction Politics: One Democratic Hero Emerged from November 2. His Fellow Democrats Should Study Up on Why
IT MAY BE A BIT MUCH TO BEGIN MY REMARKS BY PUTTING pressure, like a deconstructionist, on a single word--a word that may have been just a throwaway--but I'll take the risk. Near the beginning of his thoughtful essay, Alan Brinkley writes, "[I]t's...
God and the New Deal: The Men Who Made the New Deal and Built the CIO Were Secular Liberals and Socialists. but They Knew That to Succeed, They Would Have to Accommodate Traditional Religion
SO THE DEMOCRATS ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE POLITICS of cultural traditionalism? So what else is new? To be sure, the gap in the electorate between the observant and the secular is widening. But it's just one part of a larger cultural rift that...
Heal Thy 'Self': What the Democrats Didn't Get: For Most Middle-Class People, Self-Interest Means Far More Than Economics
IT'S TIME FOR THE QUADRENNIAL DEMOCRATIC LAMENT about the false consciousness and dismaying distractibility of the poor. "John Kerry's supporters should be feeling wretched about the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up...
Insecurity Blanket: Kerry's Foreign-Policy Problem Was Really His Party's. It's Time for Democrats to Get Serious Once and for All
ANYONE PURPORTING TO TELL YOU THE REASON JOHN KERRY lost the election is either fooling himself or fooling you. The origins of any close defeat are necessarily multicausal, and any number of different things could have won it for Kerry. The media...
Keeping the Faith
Once again, Democrats are "rethinking" what they stand for. After previous defeats, such "rethinkings" resulted in rightward drifts. Democrats courted upscale suburban swing voters and steadily distanced themselves from the party's working-class roots....
Life after Yasir: Ariel Sharon Has Outlived His Hated Rival Arafat. but Now That He's Gone, So Is Sharon's Biggest Excuse for Not Negotiating with the Palestinians
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- YASIR ARAFAT'S death is a historic milestone in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a new starting point in the efforts to resolve the decades old holy land feud. It presents an opportunity to resolve the conflict, but lots of political...
Mind the Gender Gap: Why Democrats Are Losing Women at an Alarming Rate
THE EROSION OF THE GENDER GAP IN THIS ELECTION starkly illustrates Alan Brinkley's insights regarding how issues of class and values pose challenges for progressives and the Democratic Party. In the last two presidential elections, the Democratic candidate...
Morals of the Election
What has the past half-century of our history achieved if not a moral transformation? Equal rights and respect for black people have been a moral cause. So, too, have equality for women and open acceptance of gays. Liberals have advocated each of these...
Operation Save Face: Victory in Iraq as Bush Has Defined It Is Utterly Unattainable. There's a Better Way Out
THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT THE PRESENT U.S. STRATEGY IN Iraq--if indeed the Bush administration's ever-shifting plans can be called a strategy--that suggests more of it will work. On January 31, national elections are scheduled in Iraq. Except when viewed...
Opportunity Knocks: It May Look Grim Now, but the Republicans' Hubris and Incompetence Will Ultimately Prove Their Undoing
ALAN BRINKLEY'S ILLUMINATING PIECE IS RIGHT IN CONCLUDING that the "only real option" for Democrats is to convert Republicans (and, presumably, independent voters) into Democrats. He sees years of hard labor before this can be accomplished. I am more...
Sales-Tax Scam
BASKING IN THE GLOW OF his first actual presidential victory, President Bush held a November 4 press conference in which he claimed a broad mandate for big-time "tax reform" the details--or even broad outline--of which he spelled out neither on the...
Staying the Course: The Fight Isn't over; It's Just Begun. and Progressives Have More Ammunition Than You Think
THIS ONE HURTS BIG. BUT PROGRESSIVES HAVE LITTLE TIME for grief or recrimination. George W. Bush claims a mandate for his radical domestic agenda and for his preemptive foreign policy. The dollar has already begun to fall and interest rates to rise,...
Tax Missimplification: It's Not a Done Deal
Two days after his re-election, President Bush offered the public some guidance on what he says will be a central goal of his second term: "tax simplification." Bush said he wants to "encourage people to invest and save," i.e., he favors still more...
Think Globally: Just How Many Elections Do Democrats Have to Lose before They Deal with Their Foreign-Policy Problem?
THE 2004 ELECTION RESULTS CARRY ESPECIALLY PROFOUND implications for the Democrats on foreign policy. John Kerry's defeat means that the party must develop both new voices and a broader vision of America's role in the world. It will not be sufficient...
Top of the World, Ma
LOVE IT OR HATE IT, THE World Bank is one of the most influential forces in fighting poverty. Led by James Wolfensohn, the bank provided $20.1 billion for projects in developing countries this year and currently employs 9,300 people. "It's like...
Uno, Dos, Tres
OH, THOSE EXIT POLLS! Stoking Democratic expectations in the afternoon and early evening of election day, only to have them come crashing down as the actual votes came in. Now those polls have been adjusted to more closely reflect the actual vote....
Voting Alone: In Red-State America, Politics Is Much More Deeply Integrated into Other Aspects of People's Daily Lives
ALAN BRINKLEY HAS DONE AN ADMIRABLE JOB THINKING through why George W. Bush won. I particularly agree with his analysis of the damaged state of the Democratic Party's infrastructure and aim here to deepen our understanding of what needs fixing. ...
Wedding-Bell Blues: It's Possible That Democrats Could Have Fought This One to a Draw If They Had Emphasized Discrimination
ON OCTOBER 28, AS DEMOCRATS SCRAMBLED VOLUNTEERS to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, Philip Burress, chairman of the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, was so confident of victory that he wasn't even in the state. Burress had championed Issue One,...
What's Next? the Mourning Period Is over. Now, Four Simple Guidelines for Becoming a Majority Party
THIS TIME THERE ARE NO EXCUSES--NO THWARTED POPULAR majority, no fatal butterfly ballots or hanging chads, no renegade Supreme Court decision, no Nader factor. This was a defeat, pure and simple--not a landslide, not an unambiguous mandate for the...
What's Up, Docs? It's Impossible Not to Sympathize with Liberal Documentary Filmmakers' Political Impulses. but There's a Different Progressive Ideal That's Been Lost
"WHO KNOWS?" KEN CORDIER ASKED, by way of an answer. It was a moment of uncharacteristic uncertainty for the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth member and former Vietnam War prisoner of war, who had just been asked by an audience member whether...