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.


Why Democrats Must Get Smart on Entitlements

In a season of depressing budget news, the worst may have been that a majority of U.S. House Democrats signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to oppose any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements. That’s the last thing we need. To hold the line on harmful cuts to discretionary spending,… Read more »

’They Deserve a Vote’ Can Be More Than Rhetoric

State of the Union addresses are traditionally laundry lists of policy proposals. U.S. President Barack Obama’s this week started that way, but it ended as the most emotional speech before a joint session of Congress in modern memory. The theatrics of the event also introduced a new approach to framing the public debate that could… Read more »

Come Clean on Drones

The rule of law is the moral underpinning of U.S. foreign policy. President Barack Obama must now reaffirm that principle. This task became all the more urgent with the disclosure last week of a secret document that provides the Justice Department’s legal analysis of the targeted killings of suspected terrorists. After NBC News obtained the… Read more »

Obama Replants Goal Posts in Political Midfield

In the summer of 2011, when the “Grand Bargain” on deficit reduction failed, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of “moving the goal posts” — shifting his demands to the left. After Boehner objected, Obama quickly moved the goal posts back and said he wanted to keep talking. But the speaker thought… Read more »

Divining Obama’s Next Act From His First-Term Record

Presidential inaugurations are traditionally occasions for stroking one’s chin and offering sober assessments of what the president and the nation can accomplish in the next four years. This is bound to be an exercise in futility. Four years ago, as Barack Obama took the oath, no one had heard of the Tea Party, Obamacare, the… Read more »