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

Gore's Gamble With Lieberman

Jewish immigrants to America used to respond anxiously to any major public news event by asking: Is it good for the Jews? Al Gore's embrace of Joe Lieberman invites a new twist: Is it good for the Democrats? I'm torn. On the one hand, Gore's choice signals boldness. And it could give America an elevated debate about religious tolerance of the sort we haven't seen since John Kennedy and maybe since Thomas Jefferson. On the other hand, it could inflame American tribalism. And the designation ofthe centrist Lieberman, quite apart from his religion, kisses off the Democratic party's liberal and trade union base. Now the liberal on the ticket, relatively, is Gore. The more hopeful scenario goes something like this: Not only does Lieberman make it much harder for Republicans to rail against the amorality of ''Clinton-Gore.'' But who better than an orthodox Jew to trip up the fundamentalist right? Moral Majority types think they have a monopoly on...

Bush Is Playing With Religious Fire

Does George W. Bush appreciate what fire he is playing with when he stirs up the religious right? It is almost as if we are on the road to religious war. In so many corners of the globe, people are brutalizing their neighbors because each is convinced that he has a direct pipeline to the true deity, while the outsider is a dangerous infidel. Whether in the Middle East, or Ireland, Iran or Afghanistan, state-fomented religious intolerance is the great blight on the right of ordinary people to live as they choose, as well as a grave threat to the peace. Colleague James Carroll's recent best-selling book, ''Constantine's Sword,'' recounted the appalling history of how militant Christians slaughtered millions of outsiders, in the name of the healing word of Jesus of Nazareth. As we see from the seemingly insoluble conflicts in Ireland and Israel, religious difference quickly degenerates into tribalism. The conflicts have long since ceased to be about the correct form of worship, but about...

Comment: The Democrats Make Nice

W hat is Tom Daschle up to? "In this divided government," he declared upon becoming Senate majority leader, "we are required to find common ground and seek meaningful bipartisanship." He told the press he would not seek repeal of even the most ill considered portions of President Bush's tax cut. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Daschle added, "I believe the only way forward is to embrace a spirit of principled compromise." He invoked campaign finance reform as a bill on which both parties compromised and moved forward. Daschle seems to be up to several things. One is to be the non-Bush, distinguishing himself from the man who campaigned as a conciliator but has governed as a partisan. The second is to hold together his slender majority, which unfortunately contains several quasi-Republicans. The third is to give the media elite what they insist the public wants. Daschle's conciliatory June 10 op-ed piece echoed the Times's editorial advice of a week earlier: "Mr. Daschle can answer...

Comment: Who Governs?

W hoever wins, this will be the election that was stolen. Republicans have played the nastier hardball, throwing around phrases like coup d'etat, questioning the very legitimacy of courts to decide questions of law, intimidating vote counters, and shamelessly using election officials as partisan hacks. Thus energized, they are certain that George W. Bush truly won and Al Gore would be a usurper. For his part, the vice president has a fair case that, if voters' true intent can be measured, Florida is his. Gore also won the popular vote by more than 300,000. In our system, that doesn't count, but it does lend legitimacy. If Gore is denied the presidency, it will be because (1) the media created the premature sense that Bush was the rightful winner, (2) the Bush campaign effectively ran the clock on Gore, and (3) there was no clean way for the courts or anyone else to render a definitive ruling. But whoever takes office January 20, the opposition will...

Comment: Drug Stupor

T he Democrats have had a pretty good month. President Bush has been unable to hold Republican legislators on an array of issues ranging from oil drilling to stem cell research. Particularly sweet was the Senate's passage of the patients-rights bill, with nine Republican defectors voting aye. The vote is awkward for the White House, which has threatened a veto that Bush doesn't really want to deliver, and it demonstrates that the managed-care industry isn't 10 feet tall. It also shows that Majority Leader Tom Daschle can play hardball--he refused to let the Senate recess for its Fourth of July break until Republicans consented to a final vote--and whets the Democrats' taste for more victories. As the Italians say, l'appetito viene mangiando: The appetite grows the more you eat. But though Democrats prevailed on the crucial and divisive issue of whether to allow patients to sue HMOs that deny necessary care, the bill is pretty weak tea. It allows doctors to order expensive treatments,...

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