Robert Dreyfuss

Robert Dreyfuss is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. He is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. He can be reached through his website.

Recent Articles

The Double-Edge Wedge

This year's presidential election may be the first in which gay and lesbian voters play a decisive role. That could be bad news for George W. Bush, who last April held a widely publicized meeting with a dozen gay Republican backers, amid hints that he'd like to corral homosexuals into his compassionate-conservative corner. "I welcome gay Americans who support me," said Bush. But just how many of them will there be? Bush's tenure in gay-unfriendly Texas has saddled him with a record repellent to many gay voters. His party is still the home of a powerful antigay constituency. And polls show, not surprisingly, that upwards of three-quarters of gays and lesbians are planning to vote for Vice President Gore. Next to African Americans, that makes them one of the most reliable Democratic voting blocs. Democrats have welcomed them as full-fledged members of the party's core constituency and as significant financial backers. Even as recently as the 1990s, homosexuality was a classic wedge...

Toxic Cash: How Lobbyists Poisoned the EPA

Despite some eleventh-hour heroics by environmentalists, the Republican Congress has been offering lots of goodies to industry polluters -- thanks largely to the corporate lobbyists who wrote much of the legislation.

W hen 58 House Republicans bucked their party leadership in November and voted down 17 budget riders designed to give particular industries special dispensation from environmental laws, it seemed like the corporate lobbyists had finally been beaten back. Until then, the story of environmental legislation in the 104th Congress was of unprecedented industry influence--corporate lawyers for well-known polluters ghostwriting amendments, even whole bills. But the November victory over the budget riders was hardly conclusive. Although the riders represented the most egregious giveaways, the Republicans have offered their corporate sponsors lots of other goodies. They have tried to weaken the provisions of specific environmental laws, from the Clean Water Act to the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund. They have sought generally to curtail federal rule-making by setting steep cost-benefit tests and creating new opportunities for polluters to go to court. And, while insisting that the...

Specters of Socialism

It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States , Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks. W.W. Norton and Company, 79 pages, $26.95. Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks have written a cold and bloodless book that dissects the failure of socialism in America the way a forensic pathologist would slice into, pick apart, and examine the desiccated organs of an ancient cadaver. Indeed, the dead socialists, radicals, and labor leaders who inhabit this book--Big Bill Haywood and Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas and Upton Sinclair, William Z. Foster and John L. Lewis--flit through its pages like ghosts. Stripped of their passions, they are haunting specters marching through twentieth-century American history, through the Progressive Era, the post-World War I upheavals, the Great Depression, and the Red Scare. They appear to be unaware that the sardonic gods have ordained their defeat, and so they trudge on. And Lipset and Marks chronicle every step. Standing Marxist historical...

Political Snipers

The National Rifle Association knew its stance on assault weapons was unpopular, so in 1994 it went underground, took advantage of loopholes in the campaign finance laws, and waged a stealth campaign to unseat Democrats in vulnerable districts.

Anybody doubting the political clout of the National Rifle Association should speak to the members of Congress-and the now former members-who supported President Clinton's ban on assault weapons as part of the 1994 crime bill. In the campaign cycle surrounding that close vote, the NRA spent some $70 million on political activities, including nearly $7 million through its political action committee, much of it targeting Democrats who had supported the measure. Although polls showed the majority of Americans approved of the weapons ban, the NRA campaign was by most accounts a success. Democrats say the NRA cost them no fewer than 20 seats, and President Clinton told one reporter that "the NRA is the reason the Republicans control the House." Speaker Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, has promised the group's service will be rewarded: "As long as I am Speaker of this House," he wrote in a letter to an NRA official, "no gun control legislation is going to move." This is the story of how the NRA...