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. 9-10, September-October

A Malevolent Forrest Gump: Strom Thurmond's Loathsomeness on Race Obscures His Larger Role: He Was There at All the Major Choke Points of Modern Conservative History
Strom Thurmond's America by Joseph Crespino Hill and Wang, 416 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Like many artists and most bigots, Strom Thurmond was highly productive early in life. By the age of fifty-five, the humorless South Carolina reactionary...
America's Best-Bang-for-the-Buck Colleges: In This Year's Rankings, We Show Which Schools Get Their Students over the Finish Line at a Reasonable Price
The main flaw in most college rankings is that they tend to measure how prestigious institutions are rather than how effectively they serve their students. Indeed, many schools have moved up the U.S. News & World Report rankings by abandoning the...
A Note on Methodology: 4-Year Colleges and Universities
There are two primary goals to our methodology. First, we considered no single category to be more important than any other. Second, the final rankings needed to reflect excellence across the full breadth of our measures, rather than reward an exceptionally...
Answering the Critics of "Pay as You Earn" Plans
Tying the repayment of student loans to a borrower's income is hardly a new idea. Conservative economist Milton Friedman proposed the basic concept in 1955, and so-called income-contingent loans (ICLs), or "pay as you earn," plans have been championed...
Broken in Hoboken: How the Poor Used to Live
Killing the Poormaster: A Saga of Poverty, Corruption, and Murder in the Great Depression by Holy Metz Laurence Hill Books, 256 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Killing the Poormaster, the new book by Holly Metz, brings vividly to life 1930s...
Do Presidential Debates Really Matter? Remember All the Famous Moments in Past Debates That Changed the Outcome of Those Elections? Well, They Didn't
When a presidential race is as close as this year's, there is endless speculation about what might tip the outcome to Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. One of the most anticipated events is the debates scheduled for October, which are already being hyped...
First-Rate Temperaments: Liberals Don't Want to Admit It, and Conservatives Don't Want to Pay for It, but Building Character-Resilience, Optimism, Perseverance, Focus-May Be the Best Way to Help Poor Students Succeed
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 256 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When Barack Obama campaigned for the White House four years ago, Democrats and their allies...
Getting Rid of the College Loan Repo Man: Our Current System for Collecting Student Loans Makes No Distinction between Deadbeats Who Cheat and the Much Greater Numbers of People Who Just Don't Have the Money to Repay. as Predatory Debt-Collection Agencies Ruin the Lives of More and More Americans, We Are Ignoring an Easy and Fair Solution
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Gregory McNeil, 49, is living out his days at a veterans home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His room is so cramped he can barely fit his twin bed, dresser, and the computer desk he had to sneak in because it was against regulations....
Got Student Debt?
Over the years, government policy has created an array of repayment options for people struggling to keep up with their federal student loans. But these options are difficult to learn about and often difficult to execute. They also differ depending...
Guilty Party
"G.O.P. Edge As Dynamics Shift in House Races," read a frightening headline in the New York Times this summer. How can this be happening after a record of ceaseless obstructionism by congressional Republicans? Much of the explanation, of course, rests...
Identity Politics Revisited: By Most Accounts, Economic Issues Are the Real Core of Politics, and Social Issues Are a Distraction. A Historian Begs to Differ
All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s by Robert O. Self Hill and Wang, 528 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Most of the stories we have told about American politics in recent decades have tended to divide the...
Introduction: A Different Kind of College Ranking
In the last twelve months, public anxiety about student debt has reached a boiling point. The Occupy protests that began in 2011 included large numbers of unemployed young college graduates with five-figure indentures to the higher education-banking...
Liberal Arts Colleges
LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES OVERALL SCORE 1 Bryn Mawr College (PA) 100.0 2 Swarthmore College (PA) 89.9 3 Berea College...
More Ginsberg Memories
Now, to more memories of Alien Ginsberg. In some ways, Allen was a bad influence during that first year I knew him, in 1946-47. In teaching me how to be hip, he made me look down on those who weren't. (You mean you haven't read Rimbaud or Baudelaire!)...
National Universities
NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES SOCIAL MOBILITY % of ...
Party Animals: Any Chance Romney Might Govern as a Moderate? for a Clue, Look at His Senior Staff
What would a Mitt Romney presidency be like? At one point over the summer, the candidate was offering, if elected, to "bury the hatchet" with Democrats, and his operatives are stressing how moderate and bipartisan Romney might be, even talking up...
The Clintonites' Beef with Obama: It's Not His Policies They Complain about but His Messaging. Is That Fair?
It's April 2010, and an exploded BP rig is hemorrhaging oil into the Gulf of Mexico. President Bill Clinton, racing to the scene, leaps into the ocean "in a wet suit, trying to plug the leak personally." This half-serious whimsy, which appears in...
The Me-First Era
Both the very conservative Charles Murray and the moderate conservative David Brooks agree about what Murray calls the "segregation of capitalism from virtue." I can remember that in the 1950s Wall Streeters like Chase Manhattan Bank's David Rockefeller...
The Siege of Academe: For Years, Silicon Valley Has Failed to Breach the Walls of Higher Education with Disruptive Technology. but the Tide of Battle Is Changing. A Report from the Front Lines
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] It's three o'clock in the afternoon on Easter, and I'm standing on a wooden deck in the Corona Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, looking out toward Nob Hill. A man is cooking large slabs of meat on a gas grill as two...
Top 100 Baccalaureate Colleges
TOP 100 BACCALAUREATE COLLEGES OVERALL SCORE 1 Elizabeth City State University 100.0 (NC) * 2 Wheeling Jesuit University (WV) 82.0 3 Tuskegee University (AL) ...
Top 100 Master's Universities
TOP 100 MASTER'S UNIVERSITIES OVERALL SCORE 1 Trinity University (TX) 100.0 2 St. John's College (NM) 96.8 3 Converse College (SQ 96.7 4 ...
Two Scandals That Weren't
Two recent articles in the New York Times have made me wonder which Times editors were asleep the day they were published. One, by Motoko Rich, ran as the lead article on the front page with the headline "'No Child' Law Whittled Down by the White House--Waivers...
Where Credit Is Due
You would think that the first law of presidential campaigning would be to take credit for your accomplishments. And yet the current contest features two men who are unwilling even to bring up some of their most important achievements in office. ...
Why Aren't Conservatives Funny? an Academic's Doomed Attempt to Explain Why There Are No Good Right-Wing Comedians
A Conservative Walks Into a Bar: The Politics of Political Humor by Alison Dagnes Palgrave Macmillan, 255 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Alison Dagnes, a political scientist at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, has a curious affliction:...