Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Recent Articles


I have to disagree with Matt's observation that people didn't use to say "surge" much, since one of the best parts of John Kerry's 2004 campaign was his late-primary surge, and his saying-surge obsession which occurred, I think, around Iowa-time. William Safire wrote a whole column about it during the general election, but the best part of the primaries was quotes like these only available, alas, on Nexis: "Kerry's fortunes appear to have turned in the closing days of the Iowa contest. His crowds have swelled, his poll numbers have risen, and his mood has soared. His favorite new slogan is "Surge!" -- which he frequently delivers in energetic bursts." The Washington Post , January 19, 2004. "'Do you like the surge? Are you ready for more surge?' he called out to the late-afternoon audience. 'And are you ready to make more and more surge a surprise on Monday? Sounds to me like you're ready for action.'" The Los Angeles Times , January 17, 2004. "'Do you feel a little surge?' Mr. Kerry...


Well, as long as James Kirchick has a weeklyish column in Politico , I'll have a weeklyish blog post where I point out all the errors, or as many as I find. For someone who often claims that liberals don't take conservative ideas seriously, how little respect Kirchick has for liberal ones. Take his riff on Obama's FISA vote, which we all know has hurt his standing with the netroots. Kirchick says that "this is an issue about which the vast majority of the American people couldn’t care less, but it’s of monumental importance to the Netroots, who see it as confirmation of their deepest and darkest fears that Vice President Cheney is out to get them." Kirchick ignores (maybe he doesn't know?) that there are good reasons to be unhappy with the bill, chief among them that people and corporations may have broken the law by spying on citizens, and now we'll never know if they did and they'll never be punished. It's OK with me that we have to let this civil liberties violation go...


Ben Smith flags an important section of Obama's interview with Larry King , in which Obama discusses the rumors that he is a Muslim: You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don't spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I've been derelict in pointing that out. You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it's not what America's all about. It's about time Obama made a statement like this, as the man himself says. It's vitally important, not only for social equity here in the U.S., but also for our public diplomacy abroad that we don't let "Muslim" become a slur. It's especially easy for those on the left, in the process of defending Obama from factual smears, to make the term Muslim verboten -- I was criticized by a commenter last week for repeating right-wing smears when I...


The news of a Bush administration adviser selling influence in exchange for Presidential library donations ought to make it clear of the need for transparency in these institutions. Between this case and former President Bill Clinton 's shady fundraising for his own legacy palace, these projects have become no more than lame-duck slush funds. In fact, Rep. Henry Waxman wrote a bill requiring the release of donor information, which passed the House in an overwhelming majority. Last October it went to the Senate, where it has languished because Sen. Ted Stevens has placed a hold on it. The best part is Stevens' justification: he wants the bill to apply only to Presidents coming after Bush. You really have to hand it to Stevens -- for a pol under investigation for corruption and up for reelection this year, it's remarkably gutsy to single-handedly hold up anti-corruption legislation. -- Tim Fernholz


Obama's big Iraq speech today was good, if a bit listless in delivery -- he was in professor mode -- but all in all it laid out a foreign policy liberals can believe in (while not flip-flopping ). Matt notes the woulda-coulda-shouldas , but one of the more interesting developments was Obama's description of what victory in Iraq would actually look like: Iraq is not going to be a perfect place, and we don’t have unlimited resources to try to make it one. We are not going to kill every al Qaeda sympathizer, eliminate every trace of Iranian influence, or stand up a flawless democracy before we leave... victory in Iraq – will not take place in a surrender ceremony where an enemy lays down their arms. True success will take place when we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future – a government that prevents sectarian conflict, and ensures that the al Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge. That is an...