The Washington Monthly

There were two major techniques that we used to implement McCurry’s strategy of getting all the bad news out early and helping reporters write bad stories. The first was overt and fully approved within the White House chain of command, at least in the first few months of 1997: Documents would be released to the… Read more »

The Washington Monthly

With a new semester just getting underway, Paula Kelberman’s first order to her class of prospective elementary school teachers at East Stroudsberg University in Pennsylvania was to rearrange the tables in the classroom. They were lined up in rows. She wanted them in a “U” shape because rows are “boring” and too “traditional.” Rows also… Read more »

The Washington Monthly

In the Year of Our Lord 2020, the young pilots of America’s armed forces will fly aircraft designed in a previous century for that earlier century’s wars. The Army’s ground troops will be weighed down by leviathan systems unsuited to the knife-fight conflicts of the coming decades. And the Navy will be splendidly prepared for… Read more »

The Washington Monthly

A revealing episode in George Stephanopoulos’ White House memoir All Too Human confirms what many of us have long suspected: Hillary Clinton made the fatal decision to stonewall on Whitewater in 1993. Here’s the story of that crucial moment, one that was to become what Winston Churchill calls “a hinge of fate.” By refusing to… Read more »

Silence of the Liberals

If the memoirs of Dick Morris can be at all trusted, there occurred in the summer of 1996 a high-level conversation roughly along these lines: Angry, wavering president, railing at the Senate Majority Leader for placing punitive provisions in the welfare bill: “He loved cutting off children. You should have seen his face. He was… Read more »

Left Behind

Maria is a slight, diffident woman who has floated on and off of welfare for the better part of a decade. A native of Guatemala, she has raised six children, survived an abusive marriage, and suffered from medical conditions ranging from hypertension to diabetes. For the past six months, she and her two elementary school-aged… Read more »

Guess Who Saved the South Bronx?

On Dec. 10, 1997, President Clinton made a surprise appearance in the South Bronx. After a brief stroll through the once-blighted neighborhood of Charlotte Street, Clinton credited local community development groups with transforming the nation’s worst slum into a livable place over the past 15 years. “Look at where the Bronx was when [president] Carter… Read more »

The GDP Myth

The President’s State of the Union Address was a case in point. The President boasted of the “longest peacetime expansion of our history.” That’s how pols always talk. It sounds like truly wonderful news. But what actually has been expanding? A lot of things can grow, and do. Waistlines grow. Medical bills grow. Traffic, debt,… Read more »

Bad Prescription

At stake in the upcoming Medicare debate is not just the fairness and sufficiency of Medicare funding, but whether health care for America’s elderly will be turned over to the insurance industry which has made such a mess of health care for the non-elderly. To judge from the privatizers’ rhetoric, you would think that health… Read more »

Making it Uncool

Yet how much did all this hurt the tobacco industry’s ability to sell cigarettes? On November 20, the day the attorneys general announced the settlement, the stock of the leading tobacco companies soared. After all, the Big Four tobacco makers will pay only 1 percent of the damages (at most) directly; the rest will be… Read more »