Jonathan Alter

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

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 »

A Smart Jobs-Creation Idea Both Parties Can Love

Where’s Franklin Roosevelt when we need him? While campaigning amid 25 percent unemployment in 1932, Roosevelt argued for what he called “bold, persistent experimentation.” As he put it: “It is common sense to take one method and try it. If it fails, admit failure frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” This spirit… Read more »

How the World Sees Us

or political reasons, Barack Obama cannot stress it on the campaign trail, but the stakes in 2008 are simple: the restoration of our image in the world and our image of ourselves. Everything else flows from that. Americas prestige in the world is central not for grandiose reasons but strictly pragmatic ones. Every big international… Read more »