Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery

Editor in Chief

Since taking the editorial helm at Mother Jones in late 2006, Clara and her co-editor, Monika Bauerlein, have won two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, relaunched MotherJones.com, founded a now 13-person Washington bureau, won a PEN award for editing, given birth, and forgotten what it's like to sleep. It probably doesn't help she's on Twitter so much.

Full Bio | Get my RSS |

Clara Jeffery is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Monika Bauerlein, she has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of now 13-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy and a corresponding 15-fold growth in traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. When Jeffery and Bauerlein received a PEN award for editing in 2012, the judges noted: “With its sharp, compelling blend of investigative long-form journalism, eye-catching infographics and unapologetically confident voice, Mother Jones under Jeffery and Bauerlein has been transformed from what was a respected—if under-the-radar—indie publication to an internationally recognized, powerhouse general-interest periodical influencing everything from the gun-control debate to presidential campaigns. In addition to their success on the print side, Jeffery and Bauerlein’s relentless attention to detail, boundless curiosity and embrace of complex subjects are also reflected on the magazine’s increasingly influential website, whose writers and reporters often put more well-known and deep-pocketed news divisions to shame. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, Jeffery was a senior editor of Harper's magazine. Fourteen pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. She resides in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner Chris Baum and their son, Milo. Their burrito joint of choice is El Metate.

 

Turn Left or Triangulate?

| Sat Aug. 19, 2006 2:13 PM EDT

Matt Bai's analysis of what the Lieberman/Lamont situation really means is being bandied about around our virtual offices:

In the aftermath of the primary, Democrats settled on the idea that Lieberman fell because of his support for the Iraq war. This was technically true, in the same way that a 95-year-old man might technically be said to die from pneumonia; there were, to say the least, underlying causes. The war was a galvanizing issue, but Lieberman's loss was just the first major victory for a larger grass-roots movement. While that movement is identified with young, online activists, it is populated largely by exasperated and ideologically disappointed baby boomers. These are the liberals who quietly seethed as Bill Clinton worked with Republicans to reform welfare and pass free-trade agreements. After the ''stolen'' election of 2000 and the subsequent loss of House and Senate seats in 2004, these Democrats felt duped. If triangulation wasn't a winning strategy, they asked, why were they ever asked to tolerate it in the first place? The Web gave them a place to share their frustrations, and Howard Dean gave them an icon.
Iraq has energized these older lapsed liberals; for a generation that got into politics marching against Vietnam, an antiwar movement is comfortable space. But it was the yearning for a more confrontational brand of opposition on all fronts, for something resembling the black-and-white moral choices of the 1960's, that more broadly animated Lamont's insurgency. Connecticut's primary showdown (which now appears to be headed for a sequel in November) marked an emphatic repudiation not just of the war but also of Clinton's ''third way'' governing philosophy - a philosophy not unlike the Republican ethos of ''compromise'' and ''pragmatism'' that so infuriated Reagan conservatives.

The whole tamale after the jump.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Teenage Embed Helps Convict CIA Contractor in Beating Death of Afghan Detainee

| Fri Aug. 18, 2006 2:45 AM EDT

Dave Passaro was found guilty today of beating Afghan detainee Abdul Wali to death, based in large part on the testimony of Hyder Akbar. Hyder is the young Afghan American whose memoir Come Back to Afghanistan recounts the first few years of the Karzai administration—in which Hyder's dad served as spokesperson and then governor of the Kunar province. Pitching in as translator to U.S. troops, Hyder accompanied Wali to a U.S. Army base to undergo questioning. Hyder assured the terrified Ali the Americans would treat him fairly. Three days later, Akbar returned to collect Wali's corpse.

You can read some background of Hyder's testimony here. Hyder's amazing series of "This American Life" episodes (produced by Susan Burton) can be found here. And you can read my interview with Hyder, in which he talks about the Wali episode, here.

Sign of the Apocalypse (Or: Kerry's Running Again)

| Fri Aug. 18, 2006 1:52 AM EDT

Always ahead of the pack, John Kerry is trying to regain some political traction by sending out letters attacking Joe Lieberman.

So he's running. Need more evidence? Follow the money.

Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) is willing to use nearly $14 million left over from his 2004 presidential bid to narrow the fundraising lead of his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).His 2004 nest egg has given Kerry the luxury of focusing his efforts on raising money for Democratic candidates rather than worrying about money for his own 2008 Senate reelection race or about courting donors for another presidential run....

But using 2004 funds in a Democratic primary is certain to spark criticism from Democrats still angry that Kerry didn't spend all of his available resources to defeat Bush.
"The money is available. It's a loaded gun, whether he runs for president or Senate reelection," a Kerry aide said. "But Kerry's focus in 2006 is delivering for the party and getting Democrats elected, as evidenced by his aggressive fundraising for critical House and Senate seats and local races across the country."
Kerry's aides are highlighting the funds to dull the glitter of Monday's news that Clinton has raised $44 million for her reelection race against weak Republican competition and has $22 million in her Senate campaign's bank account.
Make it stop.

"There are No Hereditary Kings in America"

| Fri Aug. 18, 2006 1:12 AM EDT

The legal logic in U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's opinion that the NSA wiretapping program is unconstitutional may be weak, as some con-law scholars are claiming, but you gotta admire her flair for rhetoric:

"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights…. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent powers' must derive from that Constitution."

And even if her argument were airtight, would the GOP spin be any different?

Congressional Republicans quickly condemned Taylor's ruling, and the Republican National Committee issued a news release titled, "Liberal Judge Backs Dem Agenda To Weaken National Security."

Lieberman "Energized," Clinton Triangulating...

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 3:25 AM EDT

So Patrick Healy and Nick Confessore report in the New York Times that Joe Lieberman is "energized" and "emboldened" and that, already, there's a "full-throated" re-enactment of the "blistering" primary taking place.

We'll leave the jokes to Wonkette, but the spiciest part of this piece comes a few paragaraphs down:

The senator appears so emboldened that in spite of the Democratic unity around Mr. Lamont, some Washington Democrats are now acknowledging that a Lieberman victory in November is a distinct possibility. According to guests at a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Hamptons on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton — who is supporting Mr. Lamont — said that Mr. Lieberman had more than a 50-50 chance of winning re-election. (Clinton aides said they could not confirm or deny the remark; one of the aides said that if Mrs. Clinton had discussed the race, she might have been referring to a new poll that had Mr. Lieberman slightly ahead.)
It depends on what the definition of "chance" is?

The way you know the 2008 race has begun in earnest is how the Clintons have ramped up the triangulation. (And with both of them triangulating, it's more like hexagonation.) I don't get as white hot angry on this subject as many on the left; to my mind there's a certain tactical dexterity you just have to admire. That dexterity was the real core of the Clinton/Morris doctrine; running to the middle was only a method to reach a goal. (On this point, I disagree somewhat with MoveOn's Eli Pariser). The real goal was to give Bill as much maneuvering room as possible.

So now it is Hillary who needs the room to maneuver, and never more than now, when she's trapped between the "always anti-war" left and the (far more electorally important) "fairly recently disenchanted." Her gender makes her, more than any male candidate, vulnerable if the Republicans' "cut-and-run Defeatocrats" line gains traction. (I don't like that this is so, but it is the truth.)

Enter Bill. By pivoting around her, he can fake a play in one direction, while she moves to the other, or throw her a pass downfield. Ignoring the Dubai ports debacle, which was failed triangulation (or was it?), the Clinton's have been running these plays beautifully. There's been all the mixed messages over Lieberman and Lamont, of course, but let's also not forget that at the height of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"/"candidate again?" hoopla, the Clinton Foundation launched an anti-global warming initiative. Which is great, but also conveniently timed.

Also in the NYT piece, this little tidbit.

Yet Mr. Lamont's staffing needs are also one of several signs that his rookie bid for statewide election is still evolving: He lacks such basic political tools as an opposition research effort to ferret out the sources of Mr. Lieberman's campaign contributions and other tidbits that might embarrass the senator. Mr. Lamont's communications and advance operations also need to be expanded, said Tom Swan, the campaign manager.
"There is a need for us to adjust a lot, to adjust significant pieces of the campaign and tap our thousands of volunteers," Mr. Swan said. "Having said that, I believe we have a lot to build off of to make that easier."
Code for bloggers=oppo research?

Wed Aug. 13, 2014 10:58 PM EDT
Tue Mar. 12, 2013 8:40 PM EDT
Mon Feb. 18, 2013 12:02 AM EST
Fri Apr. 27, 2012 2:00 AM EDT
Sat Feb. 4, 2012 4:34 PM EST
Mon Jan. 23, 2012 10:50 PM EST
Sun Oct. 16, 2011 2:25 AM EDT
Tue Jun. 21, 2011 4:47 PM EDT
Tue May. 3, 2011 2:19 AM EDT
Fri Feb. 4, 2011 4:00 AM EST
Mon Oct. 25, 2010 5:00 AM EDT
Mon Apr. 19, 2010 2:00 AM EDT
Tue Jan. 19, 2010 12:21 AM EST
Mon Jan. 18, 2010 5:40 PM EST
Sat Jan. 16, 2010 12:06 AM EST
Wed Dec. 30, 2009 5:33 AM EST
Thu Dec. 24, 2009 11:49 AM EST
Mon Dec. 7, 2009 3:16 AM EST
Fri Oct. 23, 2009 6:25 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 23, 2009 2:01 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 9, 2009 9:51 PM EDT
Wed Sep. 9, 2009 6:35 PM EDT
Fri Aug. 28, 2009 5:20 PM EDT
Wed Aug. 19, 2009 11:46 PM EDT
Thu Aug. 13, 2009 5:08 PM EDT
Thu Aug. 13, 2009 1:39 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 11, 2009 1:12 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 11, 2009 6:00 AM EDT
Sat Aug. 8, 2009 1:16 PM EDT
Thu Aug. 6, 2009 1:36 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 4, 2009 6:01 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 4, 2009 3:36 PM EDT
Sun Aug. 2, 2009 10:09 PM EDT
Wed Jul. 29, 2009 7:14 PM EDT
Thu Jul. 9, 2009 5:24 PM EDT