John Judis

John B. Judis, is a senior editor at The New Republic and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is author most recently of The Folly of Empire.

Recent Articles

Beyond McPopulism

Can Clinton Put People First?

T he populist movement lasted barely two decades, disappearing by the turn of the last century. Yet the movement's themes have continued to esonate in American politics. Politicians with sharly divergent agendas-- from Jimmy Carter and dRonald Reagan to Jack Kemp and Tom Harkin-- have evoked the legacy of populism. Bill Clinton called his campaign platform "Putting People First" and accepted the Democratic nomination "in the name of all those who do the work, pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules." Once in office, he has continued to sound populist notes, warning that his economic program would take aim at the "privileged elite." Populist themes have persisted over the century because they mesh contemporary political concerns with the historic American dream of yeoman democracy. Populism was the first attempt to pose this Jeffersonian and Jacksonian vision of America against the encroaching reality of corporate, industrial, urban capitalism. As a political movement,...

Razing McCain

In South Carolina, the National Right to Life Committee ran radio ads bludgeoning Arizona Senator John McCain. "If you want a strongly pro-life president," the ads said, "don't support John McCain." But McCain has never voted for abortion and until this election has always been known as a pro-life senator. Why the attack ad? The reason is that McCain has sponsored campaign finance reform, which the National Right to Life Committee adamantly opposes. But instead of criticizing McCain for backing a measure that is popular, even among many Republican voters, the committee has portrayed him as being the patron saint of baby killers. The committee, of course, denies this tactic, but if you look at its Web site and click on its position on campaign finance reform, you won't find articles defending soft money; you'll find criticisms of McCain's position on abortion. Join the conversation! Discuss this article in Political Prospects , part of The American Prospect's Online Forums . In...

It's the EPA and OSHA, Stupid!

T he Bush campaign would like you to think this election is about taxes and character; the Gore campaign is focusing on the dangers of debt and the promise of expanded health insurance; and the various interest groups in Washington are pushing their own favorites--from abortion to gun control. But who wins might not make that much difference in what happens on any of these issues. Where the election could have the biggest impact is in how well the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other federal regulatory agencies charged with making capitalism more humane, livable, and fair do their job. It comes down to this: Under the Democrats, the agencies would be likely to do pretty well, while under the Republicans, they could be crippled. A few regulatory agencies were established during the Progressive Era and New Deal, but most of them were created between 1964 and 1975, and reached the zenith of their power in the...

The Real McCain

There is another side to John McCain. (And no, it's not the volcanically unstable side alleged by GOP whispering campaigns.) Although best known for his heroism as a POW in North Vietnam and for his forthright stands on foreign and military policy—and rightly celebrated for backing campaign finance reform and anti-tobacco legislation—since December 1996, McCain has also been chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The committee is an important one, overseeing, among other things, telecommunications; television and radio; the Internet; aviation; railroad and highway transportation; manufacturing and competitiveness; and science, technology, and space. And on Commerce Committee legislative matters, McCain has not always shown the courage and insight he has demonstrated in standing up to big tobacco and opposing GOP isolationism. In fact, in his role as chairman, he has revealed an economic conservatism as doctrinaire and...

Are We All Progressives Now?

o ver the past decade, politicians and pundits have increasingly sought authority for their actions and ideas in the Progressive Era. After Newt Gingrich became speaker in November 1994, he compared himself to William McKinley's campaign manager Mark Hanna and declared that a new progressive era was at hand. The Hudson Institute, known for founder Herman Kahn's claims of prophecy, put out an anthology, The New Promise of American Life , edited by Lamar Alexander, based on the premise that the old progressive era in Progressive Era in American politics that Herbert Croly had helped inspire in his book The Promise of American Life was about to give way to a new one. In 1996 the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) produced a manifesto entitled "The New Progressive Declaration," whose premise was that the new "information age" called forth a response as ambitious as that by the progressives to industrialization. In Between Hope and History , President Clinton...

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