Jonathan Cohn

Jonathan Cohn served as an editor and writer at The American Prospect from 1991 to 1997. He is now a senior editor at The New Republic, the author of Sick, and a senior fellow at Demos.

Recent Articles

Storylines: Scandals for Dummies

O n the first Sunday in March, the Washington Post published an investigative piece highlighting Vice President Al Gore's central role in the Democratic Party fundraising operation. The article, by Bob Woodward, chronicled how Gore called donors one by one, hitting them up for money in a manner so direct even one veteran fundraiser called the experience a "shakedown." The article also described how in one instance, Gore called a donor to acknowledge a $100,000 gift to the Democratic Party—a gift the donor says was intended as a "thank you" for assistance in gaining a lucrative telecommunications contract. Since television producers use articles in the Sunday Post as their cues for coverage—particularly when the articles feature Woodward's byline—it was no surprise to find questions about Gore's fundraising all over the Sunday talk shows. On NBC's Meet the Press , host Tim Russert pressed his two guests—Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Orrin Hatch—on whether the Vice President...

A Lost Political Generation?

The Doofus Generation. That's what The Washington Post calls those of us in our twenties, who came of political age during the 1970s and 1980s. In the eyes of many observers, we are indifferent and ignorant -- unworthy successors to the baby-boom generation that in the 1960s set the modern standard for political activism by the young. To an extent, they are right. My generation has become acquainted with political realism, and cynicism, early in life. But it is a mistake to equate such cynicism with a lack of moral compassion or concern about public issues. As much as previous generations, we have ideals -- strong ones, in fact. Most of us just do not expect to achieve those ideals through electoral politics, and that expectation frames our distinctive generational crisis: Although we want desperately to act according to our ideals, we lack the experiences to turn our idealism into an activist politics. This perspective on politics transcends traditional ideological labels and is the...

Child's Play

Tracey Hunt, a 28-year-old single mother living in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, did not want to go back on welfare. She had been there before, about five years ago, while she was pregnant with her second child. Back then, the problem was not a lack of work; it was that the work (waiting tables at a local restaurant) didn't pay enough to justify the cost of day care. And while the restaurant owner thought highly enough of her to offer a promotion to manager, Hunt couldn't accept the post--and the higher salary--because it would have meant finding child care at night, which is prohibitively expensive if you can find it at all. So Hunt reluctantly went onto public assistance, where she benefited from state-subsidized day care and took job training courses. After 10 months, she returned to work, a true welfare-to-work success story. Only now, five years later, she was back in a familiar bind. For two years she'd been working at a local economic development agency. But now she had another...