John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation as its national-affairs correspondent. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books, and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.
Nichols is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers.
Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary Outfoxed, and in Joan Sekler’s Unprecedented, Matt Kohn’s Call It Democracy, and Robert Pappas’s Orwell Rolls in His Grave. The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences, and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA], and dozens of other organizations.
Nichols is the author of The Genius of Impeachment (New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (New Press); and a best-selling biography of former vice president Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: “At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift—a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history—that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country.”
With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored the books It’s the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories), Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press), The Death and Life of American Journalism (Nation Books), Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street (Nation Books), and their latest, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy (Nation Books, March 2016). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, a media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.
Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: “Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols’s sword is the sharpest.” (Photo by Robin Holland / Bill Moyers Journal)
Vice President Dick Cheney has made it clear that he does not believe Congress has much to say about the war in Iraq, in particular, or about foreign policy in general. With repeated assertions that the country "cannot run a war by committee," the man who defended the Reagan Administration's Iran-Contra wrongdoing and counseled the first President Bush to omit consultation with Congress before launching the Gulf War of 1991 has established the current administration's view regarding which branch of government is in charge when it comes to warmaking. "The president is the commander in chief," growled Cheney in a recent appearance on Fox News. "He's the one who has to make these tough decisions."
President Bush has dutifully echoed Cheney's line with clumsy but apparently heartfelt references to himself as "the decider."
Were it not for the small matter of the Constitution, the Vice President and his charge might be convincing on this matter.
Actor Sean Penn summed up the new energy -- and the new focus -- of the anti-war movement Saturday, when he turned George Bush's own words against the president.
Just hours after the president had again reasserted his false claim to authority to pursue a war that is not wanted by the American people or the Congress, Penn told anti-war demonstrators gathered in Washington that Bush would be wise to review the Constitution.
"In a democracy," the actor told the cheering crowd, which organizers said numbered in the hundreds of thousands, "we are the deciders."
The news from former vice presidential chief of staff "Scooter" Libby's trial on charges of obstructing a federal investigation -- particularly the revelation that Vice President Dick Cheney wrote a memo that effectively confirms his intimate involvement in strategizing about how to counter the inquiry into the Bush administration's politically-motivated outing of CIA operative Valarie Plame -- should slowly but surely edge the prospect of impeachment back onto the table from which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi removed it.
Cheney is expected to testify in the Libby trial and, if a federal jury rejects his testimony as less than credible, that would seem to create an appropriate opening for members of the House who take seriously their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution to entertain a discussion of impeaching the vice president.
Intriguingly, Cheney almost found himself in the middle of the discussion this week.
It is no secret that, in this era of spin uber alles, State of the Union addresses are nothing more than public-relations events. At best, they offer presidents a chance to rally the troops. But, with George Bush's approval ratings falling beneath those of Richard Nixon in the thick of the Watergate scandal, he has very few troops left to rally. Even Republicans are fleeing the president's camp, and nothing he said Tuesday night will bring them back.
That does not mean, however, that this State of Union address was completely irrelevant.
In fact, it will be remembered for having produced what could well be the worst domestic policy proposal of an administration that is not without accomplishment when it comes to turning the wheels of government to make the bad into something truly awful.
The most pained look of the night on which George Bush delivered the most difficult State of the Union address of his presidency swept across the face of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice midway through the speech.
The President had just delivered the key lines from the foreign-policy section of a speech that -- despite much emphasis on domestic issues such as health care, education and immigration and -- would be judged primarily on the effectiveness of his remarks regarding the Iraq War.
This was the point at which Bush needed to convince a skeptical Congress. And he gave it his all -- or, at the very least, all that his speechwriters could muster.
President Bush will use tonight's State of the Union address to make what White House Press Secretary Tony Snow refers to as "bold proposals" designed to appeal to Democrats.
In one of the more remarkable admissions ever by a presidential spokesman regarding the surreal nature of the administration in which he serves, Snow suggested that Bush's speech would be a departure from past State of the Union remarks in that it would "reflect a little bit of the political reality.''
Reality is good. And it makes sense for Bush to reach out to Democrats as, for the first time since he assumed the presidency in 2001, the Republican chief executive will be addressing a Congress that is completely controlled by members of the opposition party. But Bush's ridiculously doctrinaire proposals to send more US troops into the Iraq quagmire, undermine the health benefits of unionized workers and renew his exceptionally unpopular and ineffectual No Child Left Behind education initiative are unlikely to resonate with even the most conservative Democrats.