Jonathan Alter

Locavore Is for Food, Not Politics

If present trends continue and Republicans retake the House, blame should rest squarely on the shoulders of Democrats who followed Tip O'Neill's famous advice that "all politics is local." It isn't anymore. The only way for the Obama White House to have limited the damage would have been to nationalize the midterms. It's too late for that now.

Rahm, Rouse, and Obama's New Right-Hand Man

On the day Barack Obama took the oath of office, Pete Rouse, already his most unassuming adviser, turned down a prime seat on the inaugural platform to watch the historic event on TV. On the evening last March when the landmark health-care bill passed, an occasion Obama considered more satisfying than election night, the president asked Rouse to join a small group for champagne on the Truman Balcony.

Wanted: Obama-Boehner Midterm Debates

If President Obama has any sense, he'll do more than go to Ohio on Wednesday and give a speech about the economy. His expected proposal—to make permanent the research and development tax credit for business—is overdue, expensive ($100 billion over 10 years) and about as politically exciting as a vacation to Moldavia with your accountant.

Alter: How Obama Can Fight the Lies

President Obama is our era's Illustrated Man. His enemies—and even some of his ostensible allies—have been busy for three years painting Obama as some kind of alien threat. His name, race, exotic upbringing, and determination to reach out to moderate Muslims have given those who would delegitimize him a fresh palette of dark colors.

Schwarzman: 'It's a War' Between Obama, Wall St.

President Obama and the business community have been at odds for months. But in July the chairman and cofounder of the Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest private-equity firms, amped up the rhetoric. Stephen Schwarzman—the leading John McCain supporter in a firm that, in 2008, gave more money to Obama—was addressing board members of a nonprofit organization when he let loose.

Obama Would Be Wrong to Reject Warren

Obama will eventually recover if he decides not to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is the best-known part of the new financial-regulation law. But he would be making a terrible mistake to reject her, on both political and substantive grounds.