Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter graduated from Harvard in 1979, was an editor of the Washington Monthly from 1981 to 1982, and remains a contributing editor. He joined Newsweek in 1983, where he was a senior editor and columnist for 28 years. He joined NBC News as a contributing correspondent in 1996 and appears frequently on the “Today” show, NBC Nightly News, and MSNBC. He is the author of two bestselling books: The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, and The Promise: President Obama, Year One. He is married, has three children, and lives in Montclair, New Jersey.


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 »

Obama Shows Spunk Pushing Brave Education Plan

Although President Barack Obama is on the ropes, with even some Democratic allies describing him as weak and passive, this week he showed boldness and imagination in one vital area: education. Obama backed Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s announcement that he will grant waivers to states that want to be excused from the punitive provisions of… Read more »

Coming Lobbyist Brawl May (Really) Fix Our Taxes

Lobbyists, of all people, may soon inadvertently bring us what lobbyists have long fought against – – a flatter, simpler tax code that offers fewer gifts for special interests. As a bonus, it would also help bring down the deficit. To understand why this happy result may be in reach, we must return to a… Read more »