David Kusnet

David Kusnet was President Bill Clinton's chief speechwriter from 1992 through 1994 and was a speechwriter for Democratic presidential nominees Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. He is the senior writer at the Podesta Group, a government-relations and public-relations firm.

Recent Articles

Debatable Points

Democrats were lucky that their presidential candidates' debate Saturday night was an invitation-only event for political junkies, aired live in Washington and rebroadcast on C-SPAN several times Sunday. The nine contenders weren't ready for prime time, anyway. The closest thing to a winner was former vice-presidential nominee and current Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), who coherently and consistently presented himself as a moderate on economic issues, a moralist on social issues and a hawk on the last two wars with Iraq. While these views put him at odds with most Democratic activists, Lieberman's low-key, often lugubrious delivery smoothed his rough edges, as did his reminders that he had marched for civil rights in the 1960s and run with Al Gore in the disputed presidential election of 2000. Meanwhile, the other major candidates all had trouble making the transition from the peace primary of the past year -- where several competed as crowd pleasers, bashing President Bush's...

Below the Beltway

I n a recent address to the Catholic Press Association, Bob Dole sketched out a culturally conservative agenda on social issues. But when it came to welfare, Dole, at one point, portrayed teenage mothers with rare charity: "We are just beginning to recognize that perhaps half of the fathers of [their] babies are grown men, 20 years or older. In other words, a central feature of the plague of illegitimacy is older men preying on young girls." Of course, Dole and the Republicans haven't backed away from their fundamental opposition to welfare as an entitlement. But this new bipartisan rhetoric—Dole makes frequent use of the phrase "male sexual predator," just as Bill Clinton talks about teen mothers as victims of older men—suggests one emerging area of convergence in welfare policy that views single mothers with compassion rather than contempt. One person who can take some credit is Kathleen Sylvester , vice president for domestic policy at the Progressive Policy Institute (...