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 Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

Ich Bin Ein Negotiator

BERLIN -- Europe's initiative to prevent a military confrontation between the United States and Iran represents a new coming of age in world affairs for a Europe often described as an economic giant but a geo-political dwarf. Nowhere is this more true than than in Germany. The European initiative, led by Germany, France, and Britain, would give Iran major economic benefits in exchange for the Iranians giving up their aspirations to become a nuclear power. Specifically, Tehran would get membership in the World Trade Organization, trade deals, security guarantees, and nuclear fuel for peaceful uses such as nuclear power generation. A preliminary agreement in mid-November produced an Iranian commitment to suspend work on uranium enrichment, but a follow-up agreement is still to be negotiated, and nobody here expects a final deal until after the Iranian presidential election next year, since none of the candidates can afford politically to appear weak. Any deal would need U.S. approval,...

An Uncertain Trumpet

Whatever pundits say, this election was not a wholesale repudiation of liberalism.

Were the Democrats repudiated as too left wing for the country, especially on cultural issues? Or were they mainly outplayed? Depending on what one concludes, dramatically different remedies follow. In fact, the country was split almost evenly, as in 2000. Democrats would make a grave mistake to take 2004 as a wholesale repudiation. Rather, John Kerry lost the election and Democrats lost ground for four distinct reasons. First, the Republicans enjoy a structural advantage. As a party they are better financed, more disciplined and strategic, and willing to play far dirtier. They also benefit from captive broadcast media (FOX, Rush Limbaugh, et al.) and docile mainstream media. Once, the press gave itself permission to conclude in hard news stories that Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton lied to the American people. George W. Bush also lied, but the major dailies and networks would not say so. Second, the Republicans shamelessly used September 11. Despite the palpable lies...

An Uncertain Trumpet

Whatever pundits say, this election was not a wholesale repudiation of liberalism.

Were the Democrats repudiated as too left wing for the country, especially on cultural issues? Or were they mainly outplayed? Depending on what one concludes, dramatically different remedies follow. In fact, the country was split almost evenly, as in 2000. Democrats would make a grave mistake to take 2004 as a wholesale repudiation. Rather, John Kerry lost the election and Democrats lost ground for four distinct reasons. First, the Republicans enjoy a structural advantage. As a party they are better financed, more disciplined and strategic, and willing to play far dirtier. They also benefit from captive broadcast media (FOX, Rush Limbaugh, et al.) and docile mainstream media. Once, the press gave itself permission to conclude in hard news stories that Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton lied to the American people. George W. Bush also lied, but the major dailies and networks would not say so. Second, the Republicans shamelessly used September 11. Despite the palpable lies...

Attacking American Tolerance

Back in the 1950s, political scientists celebrated America for its "pluralism." That meant people had multiple, cross-cutting identities. Maybe you were a Catholic and also a trade unionist, a sport fisherman, a member of a veterans group, and an engaged PTA parent in a multi-ethnic neighborhood. No single identity absolutely defined you. Why was this special? Because it created multiple, overlapping communities and prevented the cultural or political absolutism that plagued most societies. It wove tolerance and political suppleness into the fabric of American democracy. People with multiple affiliations could vote for Roosevelt one year and Eisenhower another and not hate neighbors for their party identities. Indeed, when the philanthropist George Soros set out to undermine communism by stealth in Eastern Europe, he began by subsidizing innocent-seeming voluntary associations of the sort for which Americans are famous in order to quietly break the regime's stranglehold on...

Let's Move On

President Bush should enjoy his victory celebration while he can. He will soon face the most determined antiwar movement since the 1960s. The Iraq situation is becoming more and more reminiscent of the Vietnam disaster. American troops mostly stay in heavily fortified barracks. When they do venture out, their sweeps don't achieve durable pacification. Militants and young men of fighting age are long gone by the time American bombardments start. The Iraqi casualties include women, children and old people, and the American casualties keep mounting. After the U.S. troops move out of an area, they leave in their wake new sympathizers and recruits for the insurgents. And the provisional Iraqi government is even less capable of maintaining order than its Vietnamese counterpart was. It was Howard Dean's antiwar campaign last year that infused energy into rank-and-file Democrats. Antiwar sentiment among Democrats has been kept politely under wraps pending Election Day, but it hasn't gone away...

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