Magazine

The Washington Monthly

I do not propose to be buried until I am really dead,” replied Daniel Webster when he was offered the Whig Vice Presidential nomination in 1848. For much of our nation’s history, live entombment has been a largely accurate analogy for the Number Two job. Men who hoped to one day become leader of the… Read more »

The Washington Monthly

I am standing stark naked in a lush Balinese ricefield. Warm water from a sacred hot spring is spilling over my shoulders and dripping down my sunbaked back. After the sacred waters complete their healing work, a deferential driver in a crisp uniform will whisk me back to my private villa in one of the… Read more »

The Washington Monthly

It was March 1997, and my destination was Boulder, Colorado–home of JonBenet Ramsey, the angelic six year-old who had been found sexually molested and murdered three months earlier. The Globe and its fellow tabloids had been covering the case obsessively, convinced that this was the story that would reverse their decline in circulation–especially if they… Read more »

Rough Trade

On July 2, 1997, Thailand’s Prime Minister, General Chavalit, stood screaming at his Minister of Finance, M.R. Chatu Monkul Sonakul, in his country’s National Assembly. M.R. Chatu Monkul had advocated devaluing Thailand’s currency for months and today, he argued, devaluation was absolutely necessary. The Prime Minister was in denial and furious. Thailand had conquered capitalism… Read more »

The Washington Monthly

We’re less familiar with boys like Ronnie Vera. Last year, Ronnie, 18, entered an Arizona prison. He is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of first-degree murder. Unlike Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Ronnie did not kill anyone. He and a friend were caught stealing a bike in… Read more »

The Scandal of Special-Ed

If you’ve ever wondered what the words “special education” mean, consider Saundra Lemons. A tall, gangly 19 year-old senior in a Washington D.C. public high school, she is quiet and attentive. Like the vast majority of children in special ed, she’s not blind or deaf or confined to a wheelchair; instead, she has had trouble… Read more »

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 »