Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter is a contributing editor of the Washington Monthly. He is the author of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life.


Worried About America? Visit a Boys & Girls Club

The political world is so toxic that I needed some relief, so I tuned into a reality show more real than anything on television. I wasn’t disappointed. The stories I heard were at once harrowing and inspirational. And they were deeply connected to the future of the country. This week, I served as one of… Read more »

Batting .000 for the 00’s, America’s Lost Decade

Have you ever seen “The Apotheosis of George Washington”? It’s a fresco painted on the ceiling of the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, at the very center of the American republic. It was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865, when the Capitol was being completed at the end of the Civil War. I was reminded… Read more »

To Pass Jobs Act, Obama Should Channel LBJ

When I worked at a newsmagazine and the editors needed a headline for the cover after some major event, we often hauled out a hardy perennial: “Now for the Hard Part.” President Barack Obama, almost marginalized in Washington this summer by a crafty opposition, is back in the game with a vigorous, sensible and, above… Read more »

You Think Obama’s Been a Bad President? Prove It

Tell me again why Barack Obama has been such a bad president? I’m not talking here about him as a tactician and communicator. We can agree that he has played some bad poker with Congress. And let’s stipulate that at the moment he’s falling short in the intangibles of leadership. I’m thinking instead of that… Read more »

Obama Must Get Bold, Tell Republicans “It’s On”

As he golfs and bikes on Martha’s Vineyard, President Barack Obama will have plenty of time to think about how to get his presidency back on track. Some aides are calling the major speech he plans to deliver after Labor Day a “reset” of his administration. That may understate its political importance. Obama prides himself… Read more »