Jonathan Chait is a senior editor at The New Republic and former assistant editor at The American Prospect. Has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Reason, and other publications.
Ever since George W. Bush announced that he subscribes to something called "compassionate conservatism," people have been trying to figure out just what this slogan really means. There are two broad possibilities. The first is that conservatism is inherently compassionate, in which case the adjective simply points out one of conservatism's lesser-known qualities.
Joseph Stiglitz can't be a very popular figure within President Clinton's circle of power. When he first arrived in Washington in 1993 to join Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), he had a persistent habit of saying what he thought instead of what he was supposed to think. After leaving that position to become chief economist and executive vice president at the World Bank, Stiglitz publicly challenged the International Monetary Fund's prescriptions for the Asian economic crisis, which embarrassed the White House economic team and shattered the usual unity of the two sister institutions. To the White House, Stiglitz is a loose cannon, thwarting its efforts to craft a coherent international economic policy under American auspices.