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 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 »

Liberals Nip Obama as He Battles Republicans

You can already hear the rumbling in the distance — a train of noisy liberal Democrats barreling straight for the White House. They should arrive just in time for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. The president already has his hands full dealing with angry and unrealistic Republicans. Now he’s getting reacquainted with their counterparts on… Read more »

To Get Better Gun Control, Don’t Use the Phrase

We can now be confident that last week’s massacre of 26 women and children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, will not be swept under the carpet like so many mass shootings of the past. President Barack Obama said Dec. 19 that he would act “without delay” after hearing from Vice President Joe Biden’s… Read more »

Help Republicans Rescue Their Party From Itself

Cruelty, fear, cowardice, xenophobia and disrespect invaded the inner sanctum of the U.S. government this week, bringing embarrassment and dishonor to what was once the greatest deliberative body in the world: the U.S. Senate. On Dec. 4, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, an 89- year-old Republican whose right arm was shattered in combat during… Read more »