The Washington Monthly

An independent monthly magazine devoted to politics, government, culture, and the media in America, from a progressive perspective. Publishes investigative and opinion-based feature articles by notable authors, short news items, humorous sidebars, and boo

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 6, June

Canal Instincts: George Washington Once Dreamed of Turning America into a New Venice
Contemporary presidents come to be judged in broad strokes, though different partisans have different brushes--George W. Bush as moral and resolute, or as dogmatic and incurious; Bill Clinton as immoral, or as caring. Comparable contemporary disputes...
Con Ed: How Funds for Community College Became Another Bush Bait and Switch
President George W. Bush's State of the Union address this past January was not exactly a rousing success. Long on partisan sniping and short on new ideas, it actually led to a decline in Bush's approval ratings--the first time that's happened to a...
Fortress Wyoming
That things are not exactly going swimmingly in the new Department of Homeland Security is the import of two recent items. "As of April 2004, about 85% of the preparedness grants distributed from the 2003 budget had not been utilized," Christopher...
Good Government: Time to Stop Bashing the Two-Party System
Journalist and activist Mark Satin is a man of causes. In the 1960s, he was part of the New Left, a war protester who moved to Canada to avoid the draft and rubbed elbows there with the Weathermen. In the 1970s, he became a New Age guru. These days,...
It Came from the Potomac: Even Snakeheads Have a Lobbylist
In Snakehead Terror, a low-budget horror movie broadcast earlier this year on the Sci Fi Channel, the residents of a small Maryland fishing town found themselves plagued by a species of fish accidentally transplanted from China: Channa micropeltes,...
Jesus Christ, Superstar: When Hollywood Stopped Making Bible Movies, Right-Wing Christians Took Over
Not too long ago, I attended a party thrown by my evangelical next-door neighbors in our Capitol Hill neighborhood. In the past, these gatherings--an evening packed in a house with 50 or 60 conservative evangelicals, most of whom attend the same Baptist...
Mail Order Pay Raise
You may have seen the recent stories about civil servants who got their jobs or promotions through bogus degrees that they bought from institutions where the parchment is granted by mail-order. What you may not know is why government employees would...
Meanwhile in America
I recently became obsessed with traveling over the Atlantic on a massive passenger ship. Unfortunately, all I can afford for now is a large plastic model of the S.S. United States, the fastest, sleekist liner that ever sailed, but I have to call my...
Paradise Glossed: The Problem with David Brooks
A few weeks ago, as news of the torture at Abu Ghraib made its way out to the wider world, David Brooks published a column that many of his readers had probably been waiting months to see. Brooks, who joined The New York Times op-ed stable in 2003,...
Parents, Trapped
Like most political reporters, we here at The Washington Monthly devote a fair amount of space to criticizing politicians and bureaucrats when they do a bad job. So, it's only that we let our readers know when those politicians and bureaucrats make...
Perverse Polarity: The Mainstream Media Bemoans the Lack of Civility in Washington-But Won't Say Who's Responsible
About a decade ago, national news organizations regularly swooped in to various university campuses to report on the ideological battles then brewing there. Faculties and student bodies were bitterly divided over affirmative action, speech codes, and...
Picking on Pickering
I applaud the recent media efforts by Mike Wallace and Nat Hentoff among others to tell Judge Charles Pickering's side of the story. He, you will remember, is the federal judge whose appointment to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by George W. Bush...
Right Man's Burden: Why Empire Enthusiast Niall Ferguson Won't Change His Mind
In early May, Niall Ferguson, the celebrity Scottish historian, looked out at a packed house seething with antagonism. He had come to Washington to deliver a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations defending his idea that the war in Iraq had not only...
Toon In: The Best TV Happens When No One Is Looking
Every era has its hotbeds of cultural innovation, its gathering points where original thinkers and brilliant minds assemble and produce high-caliber works of art--London's Bloomsbury, Paris' Montmartre, New York's Greenwich Village. My candidate for...
Who's Who
We hear that the big debate in the campaign of John F. Kerry is whether the candidate should visit Iraq. Stay tuned. All campaign staffs try to control the flow of information to and from their candidate. Smart candidates seek to circumvent this...