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

Body Count

For congressional Democrats, losing the White House meant the loss of more than the president's veto power over Republican-sponsored legislation. It also left the Democrats without a central idea factory and place to commune with the Democratic Party's constituency groups. "The loss of the White House left us in a vacuum," said a staffer for the Democratic House leadership. "In the past, the administration served as the nexus, in charge of coordinating with outside groups." House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut have stepped into the void. In April they convened the first of what are likely to be weekly strategy sessions with a wide range of groups. Off the record and closed to reporters, the meetings are set up as two-way discussions to help House Democrats deal with GOP initiatives. "They're supposed to allow us to respond quickly to presidential initiatives and to the agenda in Congress," said Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO's legislative...

How Money Votes: An Oklahoma Story

Bill Brewster, junior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, works hard on behalf of the money that elected him. Unfortunately, he is emblematic of a system that skews politics away from the people.

A few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, in a street-level parking lot owned by the American Trucking Associations, one of those only- in-America scenes unfolded last April. With temperatures hovering near 90 degrees, men and women in expensive suits chafed uncomfortably as they waited in line. Young volunteers sporting bright yellow T-shirts were everywhere, bristling with the enthusiasm of what appeared to be their first political campaign. A crack unit of these scrub-faced ones patrolled the entrance to the lot, seizing the necks of new arrivals, quickly wrapping them in bright yellow bandannas, cowboy-style. In the heat, the added neckwear caused beads of sweat to form, giving the well-heeled attendees a faintly ridiculous air. Though few tasseled loafers were apparent, the guests were mostly Washington lobbyists, for American Airlines and the National Rifle Association, for Dow Chemical and the Tobacco Institute, for Southwestern Bell and the American Pharmaceutical Association...

How the DLC Does It

Representative Gregory Meeks, an African-American lawyer and assistant district attorney elected to Congress in 1998 to represent a middle-class black neighborhood in Queens, New York, was undecided last year on the divisive issue of trade rights for China. Lobbyists for big business were battling the AFL-CIO and environmental groups on Capitol Hill for every vote, and Meeks, who'd previously voted against granting fast-track negotiating authority to President Clinton, was a prize. Sensing an opportunity, Representative Cal Dooley, a moderate California Democrat closely allied with that state's high-tech sector, moved in. As co-chairman of the House New Democrat Coalition, a bloc allied with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), Dooley was targeting fence-sitters to vote aye. Along with fellow New Democrats Harold Ford, Jr., of Tennessee and Bob Matsui of California, Dooley hooked Meeks up with a stream of corporate officials from Silicon Valley and the New York financial district...

George W.'s Compassion

George W. Bush can cut taxes and speak Spanish, too. But is compassionate conservatism anything more than Gingrichism with a human face?

Behind the grove of pecan trees and the iron gates, behind the whitewashed brick walls that surround the Texas governor's residence, a latticework of scaffolding, gangplanks, and ladders has risen around the fluted columns of the southern-style mansion. But inside there is a different sort of construction project taking shape: the George W. Project. To date it has cost more than $75 million (contributed in support of George W. Bush's two gubernatorial races and his quest for the presidency). And it's been test-run and honed to perfection by its two main engineers. First, there's George H.W. Bush, father of the candidate, whose pedigree has encouraged the Republican Party establishment to anoint his son its standard-bearer for 2000; and then there's Karl Rove, a savvy Texas political consultant and former Philip Morris intelligence operative who believes George W. is the one-size-fits-all presidential candidate for the millennium. Bush's critics like to say that he is all style and no...