Heather Hurlburt

Heather Hurlburt is the director of New Models of Policy Change at New America. She served as special assistant and speechwriter to President Bill Clinton, speechwriter and member of the State Department's policy planning staff, and has held senior positions on Capitol Hill and in several DC-based advocacy organizations. She cohosts the monthly Bloggingheads show Drezburt, and has a weekly column at World Policy Review.

Recent Articles

Anxiety Itself

As a party identified with women, Democrats face a distinctive challenge in 2016. 

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
This article appears in the Spring 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Celebrate our 25th Anniversary with us by clicking here for a free download of this special issue . The success of the Democrats in 2016 will depend on women as candidates and as voters, up and down the ballot, as never before. That identification with women creates distinct political challenges at a time when public worries are high. Unless Democrats confront those anxieties effectively, Republicans may be able to win over voters, including women, by presenting themselves as the more reassuring “daddy” party. The identification of the Democrats with women starts at the top with presumptive presidential favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton and the leader of the party’s progressive faction, Senator Elizabeth Warren. The number of visible women in the pipeline behind Clinton and Warren is also unprecedented. Women hold one-third of Democratic Senate seats up for election in 2016. At least seven...

The Best Way to Deal With Putin? Take It Slow

AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service
“And then, in an instant, everything changed forever.” It’s one of the great clichés of literature and public policy. Not only overused, it’s often deployed in an overly-deterministic way: “9/11 changed everything.” Well, no it didn’t, at least not until officials acted as if it did, and then decided to change everything: torturing innocent people, building black site prisons, starting (and failing to win) two wars, collecting information on everyone’s phone calls. Sometimes, though, U.S. foreign policy discourse has the opposite problem: Failing to absorb change, it continues to move its legs in mid-air, like Wile E. Coyote, without never looking down to notice that it’s already gone over the cliff. That’s where we are right now with Russia. Putin-huggers and old Cold Warriors alike have been trotting out policy prescriptions that imply we can either continue the status quo ante by acquiescing in Russia’s...

Obama's Next Move in the Middle East

There are lots of possible courses of action that the president could take in his response to the fighting in Gaza, but which is the best?

(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
The fighting in Gaza over the past week tees up some difficult choices for the Obama administration. But not the choices you might think. The pundit-verse wants to argue—as it always does—about who is at fault, whose civilians are more innocent, whose targeting is more wicked. This is tapped-out domestic politics, and it is tiresome. More to the point, it does not help ; it encourages a short-term, tunnel-vision response that will wind up back in the same place—which is to say more deaths, more escalation, another Cast Lead, and loss of credibility and ability to make tough decisions stick. Yes, the administration must push hard, and help Egypt push Hamas hard, for a cease-fire. And no, no administration would choose this moment, in the middle of the Israeli election campaign and with Hamas rocket fire escalating in recent weeks, to “get tough” on Israel. Those are the easy choices, like them or not. The hard choices involve settling on a unified theory...

Long Lives the Arab Spring

Many commenters are ready to declare that democratic movements through the Middle East are over. They are wrong.

(Rex Features via AP Images)
Before a day had passed after the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya—in which four Americans were killed, including J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and as many as ten Libyans trying to protect them—some commenters declared an end to the Arab Spring. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to use the Libya attack and attempted attack on the U.S. embassy in Egypt, both reportedly sparked by an American-made anti-Muslim video, to score political points. His statement darkly warned that the protests could represent the end of a trajectory away from authoritarianism and instead a turn toward an "Arab winter." Even those who weren’t as ready as Romney to declare the Arab Spring over were worried. Foreign Policy ’s Marc Lynch suggested that the fate of democracy hangs in the balance in the aftermath of the violence, which continues as rioters attack the U.S. embassy in Yemen. Not the events themselves, but how...

I’ve Got Some Assignments for Rachel Maddow

(AP Photo / Chris Pizzello)
Last week, the authorities here at the Prospect were calling me the substitute teacher. I got grumpy about that at first (all kinds of anti-woman and bad childhood associations). But I’ve decided to embrace it. Rachel Maddow, here’s your homework. When Leon Wieseltier wrote a snarky review trashing the snarky tone of Rachel Maddow’s Drift— and more important, suggesting that the nation had yet more wars to fight and that Maddow was foolish not to understand this—I pledged over on Alternet to pay retail, read the whole book, and comment. I’m delighted to say that the book came onto The New York Times bestseller list at No. 1 this past weekend, even though I allowed her publicist to tempt me into a free copy. So now I’ve read the book, and I’ve read half a dozen reviews of the book, from gushing to dismissive . I think I’ve now been through all the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stages of reaction when a prominent person writes a book on a...