Sam Rosenfeld

Sam Rosenfeld is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University and a former web editor at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

Soft Bigotry

A very weird thing happened when Colin Powell announced a couple of weeks ago that he would not be speaking at -- or even attending -- this year's Republican convention. The explanation that he and a few spokesmen offered, dutifully parroted by the press, was that, by tradition, cabinet secretaries do not attend party conventions. Powell explained that as such an official, “I am obliged not to participate in any way, shape, fashion, or form in parochial, political debates.” Robin Wright of The Washington Post informed readers that “in keeping with tradition, Cabinet officials do not speak at the conventions. … So Powell will not appear.” This time-honored tradition may have been unfamiliar to some. That might be because it was made up. Many, many cabinet officials have, in fact, spoken at party conventions in the past, from Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler in 1984 to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in 1992. And indeed,...

How Would Osama Vote?

It's perilously close to conventional wisdom in the media that al-Qaeda wants John Kerry to win the November election. In the next 10 weeks, get ready for a concerted effort by the right to fix that notion in place. The meme originated, unsurprisingly, with the usual right-wing suspects. Rush Limbaugh kicked things off right after the election-eve terrorist bombings in Spain, asserting on March 15 that terrorists “want Kerry, they want the Democrats in power. They'd love that -- I mean, based simply on what they're saying and how they're reacting to what happened in Spain.” In June, Dick Morris wrote a New York Post column with the characteristically subtle headline “Terrorists for Kerry.” Morris explained to his readers that “the real test of American resolve will not be our willingness to stay in Iraq, but our desire to keep [George W.] Bush in office … . It is obvious that Osama [bin Laden] and his allies all want Bush out. It might profit Bush'...

Bolder in Boulder

Last week's Colorado primary determined the contenders in the race to fill the seat of retiring Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell: state Attorney General Ken Salazar, a polished, moderate Democrat who twice won statewide elections in very inhospitable political terrain, and Pete Coors, a political neophyte whose family just happens to be the legendary founding benefactor of the modern American right. While everyone expects a dead heat up to election day, state Democrats haven't been as bullish about a candidate in a long time as they are about Salazar -- and national party leaders feel the same way. They'd better: At stake is not only control of the U.S. Senate but also the potential to revive the Democratic Party in the state that has been perhaps the most transformed in the last decade by the political right. After long enjoying a reputation for sturdy, western independence and moderate conservatism, the Centennial State underwent a startling transformation in the 1990s. A hard-right...