David Weigel

David Weigel is a D.C.-based reporter and MSNBC contributor who (mostly) covers the conservative movement and the GOP.

Recent Articles

The Middle Man

Lessons from life in Washington's ideological gray zone.

(Eric Palma)
From our September print issue: As a journalist, I've worked for both the George Soros-funded Washington Independent and the libertarian Reason magazine. I've mostly covered Republicans and conservatives, but I've also paid plenty of attention to liberals to know what they wanted to read about. I have shared a stage with Van Jones and appeared at events sponsored by conservative manufacturing magnates the Koch brothers. I called Sarah Palin's decision to attack a biographer who moved next door "despicable" and also defended Rand Paul from the charge that his debate-class problems with the Civil Rights Act meant that he was a racist. I have gotten on everybody's nerves. An important fact about Washington -- and one of the reasons activists outside the Beltway have so much contempt for the city -- is that close contact with partisan types ameliorates their partisanship. That's not to say that political activists don't stand up for their beliefs. They do. They just have trouble picking...

Larry Johnson's Strange Trip

How a onetime hero of the liberal blogosphere and the Democratic Party spread perhaps the most damaging anti-Obama smear of the primary.

On May 13, 2006, Larry C. Johnson -- former CIA intelligence officer, counterterrorism pundit, classmate of Valerie Plame -- put up a breaking post claiming that Karl Rove was under federal indictment for perjury and lying to investigators looking into the leaking of Plame's identity. " Rove Indicted, " Johnson blogged. "Frog march the bastard. As Freddie Mercury sang, 'another one bites the dust.'" The post linked to the investigative site TruthOut, and an anonymously sourced story that it turned out wasn't true. Still, on May 21, Johnson approvingly linked to TruthOut's explanation for the blunder. "They are sticking to their guns and justifiably so," he wrote. "Time will tell." In response, National Review 's Byron York asked how an intelligence consultant who'd downplayed the threat of terrorism less than two months before September 11 became a player in the Plame scandal and an icon on the left. But Johnson had been attacked by the right ever since he became an advocate for Plame...

The Colbert Diaries

Following in the footsteps of Robert Ferrigno's Islamists-conquer-America novel Prayers for the Assassin , ACC Studios' comic-book chronicles of a liberal dictatorship, Liberality for All , and Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card's new book Empire (depicting the "red-state vs. blue-state American civil war" in 2008) comes a new masterwork of culture war science fiction: The Colmes Diaries. --- Chapter 1: Ambush in the Nebraska Zone I never actually heard the explosion that knocked our convoy off the I-80. Were weren't 40 minutes out of the New Berkeley checkpoint when the endless vistas of flattened fields and the crumbled ruins of Omaha lulled me into some much-needed sleep. One minute I was looking at the burnt-out hulk of a Sam's Club; the next I was choking on topsoil and brushing hot mud out of my glasses. "You are all right, American?" Mahmoud! Gaia knows what would have happened if he hadn't been watching the road. Three brutal years setting off IEDs in the American War of...

Running From The Running

On Monday morning, West Virginia Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito dashed five years of Republican hopes and announced she would not run against Senator Robert Byrd. The formerly rock-solid Democratic state (52 percent for Michael Dukakis) gave George W. Bush a 13-point landslide last year, and Republicans had considered a Thune v. Daschle-style upset of the 87-year-old Byrd a top 2006 goal. In July, the National Republican Senatorial Committee charged in with the cycle's first negative ad -- $53,000 of airtime for a TV spot attacking the senator. But it couldn't get Capito in the race. Coming only four days after North Dakota Governor John Hoeven's decision not to challenge Senator Kent Conrad, Capito's bluff should wave a matador-sized red flag about Republican chances for 2006. In these crucial few months when candidates are entering races, raising funds, and recruiting staffs, Republican hopefuls are quietly keeping their hats out of the ring. While GOP leaders have located some...