Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

The Rich-Poor Gap in Decent Preschools

T he well-named Jack Grubman, a onetime superstar stock analyst at Citicorp, first got into big trouble when it came out that he apparently shaded his stock picks in order to curry favor with Citicorp's corporate clients. Last week it emerged that Grubman also bragged in an e-mail that he had upgraded his rating of sagging AT&T stock to do his boss a favor, so that the boss, Citicorp chairman Sandy Weill, would use his influence to help Grubman get his twins into a prestigious nursery school. (AT&T's chairman served on Citicorp's board, and was a Citicorp client.) The Grubman kids did get admitted, but Grubman insists the e-mail was just an empty boast. What makes the Manhattan school in question, the preschool of the 92nd street Y, so special? It has a terrific record at graduating its tots into elite private grammar schools, which in turn feed prestigious prep schools and then, of course, the Ivy League. But what about the rest of America? Though this story is a titillating...

Comment: Outward Bound

T he last time the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency for a full two-year term was 48 years ago, in the years 1953-54. Dwight Eisenhower was president. Ike, however, was a bipartisan sort of Republican who worked closely with Democrats in Congress. Among other un-Republican achievements, he gave us the Warren Supreme Court. If the Republicans take Congress, George W. Bush will make far more partisan use of his majority. As we go to press, Democratic control of the House looks increasingly unlikely, and the Senate is balanced on the razor's edge. The net loss of a single Senate seat would leave both houses once again controlled by Republicans -- with the Supreme Court poised to become even more Republican than it already is. This page has often been critical of how the Democrats have played their opposition role. Recently, to compete with President Bush's "economic summit" in Waco, Texas, the Democrats held their own economic session in Washington. The...

Comment: Spot the Spoiler

B emoaning the failure of the Democratic Party to lead has become a newsroom sport. In The New Republic 's version, the Dems have squandered their Roosevelt-Truman-Kennan foreign-policy heritage by wimping out on Iraq. In New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's rendition, "The problem with the Democrats is not that they are being drowned out by Iraq. The problem is that the Democrats have nothing to say on all the issues besides Iraq." Here at The American Prospect , we applaud the qualms expressed by some leading Democrats about Bush's Iraq misadventure, which recall the brave and prescient Vietnam dissents of Sens. Fulbright, Morse and Gruening. If some Democrats are afflicted with "Vietnam syndrome" -- defined as taking political risks to warn against ill-conceived wars -- they should wear that affliction as a badge. But the Democrats' befuddlement on domestic issues is another story. Since FDR, Democrats have won office mainly as lunch-bucket liberals. In the era of mass...

Nader: Influence for Good or Ill?

Nader: Influence for Good or Ill? Part II: Kuttner rebuts Chait's review. Dear Jon, We invited you to review for the Prospect Justin Martin's recent biography of Ralph Nader and Nader's own memoir of the 2000 campaign. We didn't learn much about these books from your diatribe, but we did learn a lot about what Jon Chait thinks of Nader: His campaign appearances in 2000, you wrote, were "larded with dissembling, prevarication and demagoguery . . ." (compared to Bush? Gore? ) His disillusion with Democrats reflects "ideological absolutism," "egotism," and "stratospheric self-regard," rather than a principled challenge to a party lurching to the right. And, most astonishingly, you write that the ideological mobilization of organized business in the 1970s and 1980s occurred "largely in response to Nader and his movement." In other worse, the dominance of corporate power in American politics in our own era which so appalls Nader is actually Nader's own fault. Much of your screed is...

A Reckless Rush to War

T he suspicion will not die that the Bush administration turned to Iraq for relief from a sharp decline in its domestic political prospects. The news had been dominated for months by corporate scandals and the fall of the stock market, and the November elections were shaping up as a referendum on the Republicans' handling of domestic social and economic issues. Investigative reporters had turned their attention to Dick Cheney's role at Halliburton and George W. Bush's sale of his Harken Energy shares just before the stock collapsed. Then, like magic, these questions disappeared from the headlines as the administration refocused the nation's attention on war with Iraq. No new information about Saddam Hussein's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and no actions taken by Iraq seem to have precipitated this shift. The Iraqi regime has not changed since early in the Bush administration, when its great priority was building a missile defense shield, nor even since the 2000 election, when...

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