Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.

Recent Articles

The Democrats May Be Hoist on Clinton's Own Petard

The Los Angeles Times In this election cycle, those 'issues ads' he created last time are likely to be exceeded by the GOP. You'd be forgiven if you thought of the contest for the presidency as two big battles--first, the primary battle to choose each party's nominee, which this year is effectively over, and then the general election battle, which starts just after the nominating conventions in August and runs through election day. So you might suppose that now we'll have a 5-month breather. But you'd be wrong. One of the most important battles of the election will be between now and Aug. 15. That's when each likely nominee will launch intense barrages of televised ads designed to raise questions in voters' minds about the suitability of his rival in the opposite party. The ads will be paid for largely by big, unregulated donations to the Republican and Democratic national committees-- "soft money," in campaign lingo. President Clinton will be remembered for many things, but his...

How Challengers Go From 'Wow' to 'Oops'

The Wall Street Journal Pundits have a host of explanations for why Bill Bradley's and John McCain's candidacies failed: Mr. Bradley failed to respond to Al Gore's attacks; Mr. McCain blundered in attacking the religious right; Mr. McCain stole Mr. Bradley's thunder; the public isn't that interested in reform after all. The real explanation is simpler, and it lies in the dynamic of political insurgency. Insurgents can't match the large-scale political organizations that governors and congressional delegations give establishment candidates like Al Gore and George W. Bush. Mr. Bradley and Mr. McCain had to rely on ragtag armies of idealists with lots of zeal but little experience. And since insurgents can't count on large reservoirs of cash for advertisements, they are much more dependent on "free media" -- that is, news stories. Therein lies the insurgent's trap. The media have only two basic stories -- "Wow!" and "Oops!" Insurgents can keep the passions stirred only with a continuous...

Why the editors are wrong. The Case for Bill Bradley

The New Republic Special Endorsement Issue: I worked closely with Al Gore in the first Clinton administration, and I admire him. Gore is earnest and smart. For the past seven and a half years he's taken on god-awful projects that no one else wanted to do--like "reinventing government"--and has done them well. He's been loyal to a fault. Contrary to his public persona, he has a droll sense of humor that occasionally tips into deadpan sarcasm. So why do I support Bill Bradley? And why do I continue to support him, even when his boat seems to be sinking? Maybe it's because I kept clean for Gene, passed out leaflets as a kid for Stevenson, and would have voted for Wilson in 1912. I'm a sucker for decent, smart, soft-spoken idealists with lofty visions about where the country should go and what we can do together. For good or ill, that description fits Bradley, not Gore. Start with the issues. I'll spare you the wonky details about Bradley's plans for health care, education, campaign...

Taking Back Democracy

T his is the hour for reform, not recrimination. To view Ralph Nader as representing the "progressive left," in opposition to liberals and moderates inside the Democratic Party, is to commit grave error. The passions aroused by the Nader campaign have much in common with those elicited by John McCain and Bill Bradley in their primaries. Put simply, we are witnessing the birth pangs of a reform movement in America intent on ending the corruption of our democratic system by organized money. Nader and his Greens may fade, but the determination by millions of Americans to rescue American democracy will only intensify. This may be the largest and most significant political groundswell since the antiwar movement of the late 1960s. It should not be confused with the rise of the corporate-bashing neoprotectionists, whose beliefs are lineally descended from late-nineteenth-century populism. The lineage of the campaign reformers is progressivism rather than populism. They accept the legitimacy...

How Soft Money Favors the GOP

You'd be forgiven if you thought of the contest for the presidency as two big battles--first, the primary battle to choose each party's nominee, which this year will be effectively over by the end of March, and then the general election battle, which starts just after the nominating conventions in August and runs through Election Day. And you might suppose that in between we'll have a four-and-a-half-month breather. But you'd be wrong on all counts. One of the most important battles of the entire election is scheduled to occur between April 1 and August 15. That's when the likely Republican and Democratic nominees are expected to launch intense barrages of televised ads designed to raise questions in voters' minds about the suitability of their rivals. The ads will be paid for largely, if not entirely, by big, unregulated donations to the Republican and Democratic national committees "soft money," in campaign lingo. Bill Clinton will be remembered for many things, but his biggest...

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