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. 44, No. 3-4, March-April

Calvin vs. Hobbes: A Novelist's Lonely Struggle to Recover the Religion-Inspired Liberalism of America's Founding Ethos
When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 224 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "People always ask me if I'm talking about the same thing again," novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson told a crowded lecture...
Clinton's Third Term
The cover story in this issue, by yours truly, argues that Barack Obama has accomplished so much in his first term (health care reform, the stimulus, turning around Detroit--the list is long, and starts on page 42) that he stands to go down in history...
Good News First, Bad News Never: How the Peace Corps Believes Its Own PR, Looks Past Its Mistakes, and Shafts Volunteers in the Process
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Early last year, the ABC newsmagazine show 20/20 aired a segment called "Scandal in the Peace Corps." It told the story of a young volunteer named Kate Puzey, who was teaching English in a small village in the African country...
Heaven Can Wait: Was I Wrong about the Afterlife? No
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At the end, the manner of my "passing," as the pious so delicately refer to death, was as much a disappointment to the dewy-eyed acolytes of god-worship as it was to me, although for rather different reasons. For more than...
Not a Drop to Drink: How Water Scarcity Will Soon Be Asia's Defining Crisis
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Tenzin Dorje lives in a small village on the slopes of the rugged Qilian Mountains in western China's Gansu Province. The old Tibetan shepherd must walk farther each year to find water for his sheep to drink. He now spends...
Obama's Top 50 Accomplishments
1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental...
Stay for Tea: The Real Tea Partiers Are Worth Getting to Know. Because They're Going to Be Here a While. and They Might Prove Useful
The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson Oxford University Press, 264 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] For the last three years, the Tea Party has been something of a Rorschach test...
Terminal Sickness: How a Thirty-Year-Old Policy of Deregulation Is Slowly Killing America's Airline System-And Taking Down Is with It
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "It was certainly one of the hardest choices that I've ever made," explained Fernando Aguirre. He'd raised his family and built his career in Cincinnati, Ohio, rising through the ranks of the city's business elite, first as...
The Crackdown: An Inside Account of How Bahrain's Arab Spring Uprising Was Crushed While America Looked the Other Way
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] For many countries in the Middle East, the Arab Spring has proved to be a long and inconclusive season. Popular insurrections in Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and even Libya have yielded deeply ambiguous results. But there is one uprising...
The Eradication Answer
Your article about drug policy in Colombia [Elizabeth Dickinson, "Fighting the Last War," January/February 2012] was nicely done and contained many insights. I would venture that the role of forced and sustained eradication, as practiced in Colombia,...
The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama: He's Gotten More Done in Three Years Than Any President in Decades. Too Bad the American Public Still Thinks He Hasn't Accomplished Anything
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In mid-January, pollsters for the Washington Post and ABC News asked a representative sampling of Americans the following question: "Obama has been president for about three years. Would you say he has accomplished a great...
Tilting at Windmills
With heroes like these ... It is now well known that Apple's Chinese suppliers have employees who work twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and are housed in dorms with, according to the New York Times, as many as twenty people crowded into a...
We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran: Fears of a Bomb in Tehran's Hands Are Overhyped, and a War to Prevent It Would Be a Disaster
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At around 8:30 in the morning on Wednesday, January 11, while much of Tehran was snarled in its usual rush-hour traffic, a motorcyclist drew alongside a gray Peugeot and affixed a magnetic bomb to its exterior. The ensuing...