This is the cover of the December American Prospect. You’ll notice that the coverline reads "Our Moment." By that, the editors mean that the election of Barack Obama heralds a progressive moment. But I hope they’ll also take that as an interoffice memo. Right now I think it’s fair to say that the Prospect best captures the political zeitgeist of any opinion magazine out there.
Years ago, back when I was at TNR and Yglesias was at TAP, he used to say that TNR was the liberal wing of American journalism and TAP was the journalistic wing of American liberalism. As far as TAP goes, it’s an elegant construct. In temperament, substance and self-identity, what American liberalism is today can best be summed up, understood and explicated by reading The American Prospect. The magazine’s writers and editors are in, of and in-and-not-of a number of spheres of liberalism: the blogosphere, the activist groups, the heart of the policy debate. Their challenge will be to Barack Obama what National Review promised it would be when Bush took office: foul-weather friend and fair-weather critic.
It’s romantic to think that political eras ought to have their own defining opinion magazines. But still. The Weekly Standard has encapsulated the Bush era rather well. If Gore had won, TNR would have been his pitch-perfect chronicler. NR — I’m guessing here, because I don’t actually know — probably summed up Reagan pretty well. Of course, the blogosphere guarantees a decline of opinion-mag hegemony. Nevertheless, pretty much every idea comprising the Obama agenda was an American Prospect article at one point in time. Full speed ahead, guys.
Also, it wouldn’t kill you to start accepting my pitches again.