Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and the New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Spinning the State of the Union

How do you give an upbeat State of the Union address when your major foreign policy, Iraq, is a quagmire; your signature domestic program, Medicare drugs, is a bomb; and nearly two thirds of Americans, according to the latest Gallup Poll, think the country is worse off than five years ago? Here are a few things to watch for in President Bush's first big election-year speech Tuesday: Mission Accomplished? On Iraq, look for rhetoric of steady resolve, coupled with promises to limit American exposure. Bush could offer a partial reduction of US combat troops during 2006 (in time for the mid-term election) -- but without any realistic prospect of a stable Iraqi government to fill the vacuum. One idea: a ''garrison strategy" of keeping most US forces safely inside bases. This might cut American combat losses, but cede the countryside to guerrilla fighters and anarchy. The Boy Who Cried Nukes. On Iran, watch for stern saber-rattling without a realistic plan to contain Iran's alarming nuclear...

Ingrate Judges

US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, speaking to a Boston Bar Association dinner where he recently received an award, told of a conversation decades ago with another federal judge in Chicago who owed his appointment to then-mayor Richard J. Daley. ''What does Mayor Daley think of you as a judge?" Woodlock asked. ''He thinks I'm an ingrate, and I think that's the way it should be," the Chicago judge replied. Woodlock approvingly observes that the history of the federal judiciary is filled with ingrates -- men and women (mostly men) who were appointed by a president thinking they would carry out his philosophy; but the judge then took the lifetime appointment seriously, or grew intellectually in office, and became a free spirit -- an ingrate. The tradition of a truly independent judiciary survives precisely because its appointees are not mere rubber stamps. Woodlock also worries that this independence sometimes leads judges to be too activist. Interestingly enough, if you look...

Is Corruption Enough?

The 2006 mid-term election will be among the most fateful in modern history. If the Democrats take back even one house, it will end the period of one-party rule and allow Congress to fully investigate the multiple embarrassments of the Bush administration. These fall into five broad categories: deceptive and illegal use of presidential power, plain incompetence, outright corruption, needless assaults on liberties, and using government to benefit the few rather than the many. Ripe particulars include the bungling of the planning for the Iraq occupation, the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, the extra-legal spying on Americans, the mess at the Department of Homeland Security, and the sweetheart deal between the administration's Medicare drug program and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Both parties understand the immense stakes. Real investigations of the above would frame how voters view the 2008 presidential election. They might even unearth impeachable offenses. In normal times,...

Attacking Alito

At this moment in American history, it would be hard to find a worse Supreme Court nominee than Samuel A. Alito Jr. His ideology captures everything extremist about the Bush administration. If confirmed, Alito would serve as Bush's enabler. He would give Bush effective control of all three branches of government and the hard-right long-term dominance of the high court. His confirmation or rejection will depend on the gumption of the Senate Democratic leadership and independence of a few Republicans. Alito, who would replace the moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, has never hidden his ultra-conservative views. Given the administration claims of an extra-legal presidency, what's most disturbing is the handy convergence of Alito's own conception of executive power and that of Bush. Citing the wartime powers of the president, Bush has asserted his right to ignore the legislative mandate of Congress in allowing the military to torture prisoners, the government's prerogative to spy on Americans...

Medicare Misery

The New Year brings with it Congressional mid-term elections. Here is an issue that should be a real political gift to the opposition party – the colossal Medicare drug-benefit mess. It was clear back in 2003, when the Bush administration rammed this bill through the Republican Congress, that the purpose was not to devise an affordable prescription drug program for seniors. Rather the administration wanted to help two friendly industries, the pharmaceutical companies and the HMO's; and to get bragging rights for the 2004 election that Bush had helped seniors. Few voters would grasp just how bad the law was, since its effective date was deliberately put off until 2006. Now, as the year of reckoning arrives, the true cynicism of Bush's program is becoming evident to each senior citizen (or adult child of senior citizen) who attempts to fathom what Bush and the industry lobbyists wrought. For starters, coverage is woefully inadequate. You pay a $250 deductible and then a 25 percent co-...

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