Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, and a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama's Challenge and other books.

Recent Articles

Forget Nice Talk:

"I thought it was a very good speech, Dan ... everything about Bush's reaching out ... Let's hope he succeeds. It will be the best thing for the country.'' -- Bob Schieffer, CBS, Dec. 13 It's hard to know which part of the Wednesday night denouement was worse - Al Gore's feeble concession platitudes, George Bush's twitchy speech claiming the White House, or the cheesy media sanctimony. Most nauseating, I think, was the chorus of pundits asserting the need to put aside partisan rancor and "heal" the divided nation. Spare me. If ever there was a time to question the legitimacy of an incoming administration, it is now. I know, the national script calls for us all to come together as Americans, unite behind our new president, put this terrible ordeal behind us, etc. But what ordeal? It's not like we just suffered an assassination, a spate of riots, or a civil war. No. What occurred is that a presidential election was stolen, first on the ground in...

Democrats Make Nice While Bush Runs Hard Right

What is the matter with the Democrats? They are rolling over in a blissful haze of bipartisanship, while George W. Bush appoints a hard-right Cabinet and pursues a hard-line program. It's like a country after a bloodless coup d'etat. Daily life goes on. The tame media makes soothing noises. Rituals of democracy endure. The out-party simulates opposition, toothlessly. But this is no banana republic, where genuine opposition leaders are shot and crusading newspaper publishers disappear. The election may have been stolen, but our civil liberties are intact. And the opposition party won the popular vote and gained seats in Congress. So are the Democrats on Prozac, or what? Imagine if circumstances were reversed. Say Al Gore prevailed in the Florida recount and won narrowly and Republicans have good reason to believe the election was stolen. Now, Gore is appointing a government. Moderates get key foreign policy jobs. But attorney general goes to Harvard liberal...

Watching '13 Days,' Worrying About Today

Watching the new movie ''Thirteen Days,'' I got really scared. What frightened me was not just the vivid memories from my childhood of October 1962, when we all huddled around the TV and wondered if the world would be blown up. What really terrified me was the thought of George W. Bush rather than John F. Kennedy as commander in chief during this kind of crisis. For those who haven't seen the movie or read the history or were not born in 1962, here is the story line: The CIA discovers that the Russians have secretly moved offensive nuclear missiles to Cuba. They will be operational in two weeks, giving the Russians, for the first time, a first-strike capacity against the United States, dramatically tilting the strategic balance in Russia's favor. The military wants to take out the missiles. But the Kennedy brothers grasp that a direct US attack on Russian soldiers and technicians in Cuba would kill hundreds of Russians...

Comment: Schlemiel, Schlimazel

One of my favorite hoary bits of Jewish humor explains the difference between a schlemiel (a fool) and a schlimazel (one prone to misfortune): A schlemiel is the traveler who spills his coffee on a fellow passenger. A schlimazel is the fellow he spills it on. Vice President Al Gore has to be the schlimazel of American politics. Just when he begins gaining a little ground, someone (often Bill Clinton) spills coffee on him. A recent case in point is the WTO/China/labor-rights/AFL-CIO fiasco. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called in IOUs all over the labor movement to swing the labor federation's endorsement for Gore. This was no small achievement. Labor is divided among public sector/service unions, such as Sweeney's alma mater, the Service Employees International Union, and industrial unions. Public employee unions depend heavily on administration goodwill and are fond of Clinton and Gore. The big industrial unions, however, cannot stomach the administration's trade policy. Moreover,...

Comment: Labor Man

N ew Democrats would not be wrong to view this year's Democratic national convention as their own victory rally. Though the party platform offered brave words to comfort liberals, the details were safely moderate. Running mate Joe Lieberman, president of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), is about as centrist a figure as the Democratic Party has outside the deep South. A New Republic cover exulted, "How the Democrats Buried the Left," citing Lieberman, Congressman Dick Gephardt's rapprochement with Gore, the relative isolation of labor, and the New Democrat themes that dominate Gore's campaign. But is burying the left a smart thing for Democrats to do? Where does it leave the labor movement's alliance with the Democratic Party? And does it strengthen or weaken Gore's chances to be the next president? The best thing about Lieberman is the way he trumps the ace of the Christian right. You want faith, we got faith. You want religious...

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