Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the editor-at-large at The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org

Recent Articles

Reality Check

Now we know that the president disagrees with the Dred Scott decision and is not likely to reappoint its author, Chief Justice Roger Taney (1777-1864) to the United States Supreme Court. This comes as a relief. After all, several of George W. Bush's favorite justices have been elevating the doctrine of states' rights over those of the individual and the federal government during the past decade. If his term runs long enough, Clarence Thomas can reasonably be expected one day to declare that under a proper originalist reading of the Constitution, he should be enslaved. Bush's break with Taney in Friday night's debate, then, is good news for abolitionists. It's on more contemporary topics that Bush's answers Friday night were troubling. In numerous answers, Bush either failed to respond to John Kerry's indictment of his presidency or turned his attention to his own alleged resolve and Kerry's alleged inconsistencies and creeping Europhilia. “In order to be popular in the halls of Europe...

Blot Out the Vote

In Iraq, it is just about time to start registering voters. If the national elections scheduled for January are to be held, registration of the nation's 12 million eligible voters must begin in early November. That, of course, is no easy task. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's optimistic estimate is that 15 of the nation's 18 provinces are sufficiently secure for elections to proceed, while Carlos Valenzuela, the U.N. man in charge of monitoring the elections, said he doubts the number is that high. The violence in the Sunni Triangle means that one of Iraq's three distinct groups may end up with little or no representation in the national assembly-to-be. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that a fragmentary election is better than none, but a bipartite assembly in a tripartite nation sounds like a prescription for civil war. Accordingly, U.S. soldiers, Marines, and Special Forces are girding themselves for offensives against the Baathist, Islamist, and Sunni resistance forces in...

The Man Who Wasn't There

The specter that Dick Cheney wants stalking the consciousness of Americans as they go to vote is the threat of a nuclear or chemical weapon being smuggled into the center of an American city. He called up that image twice last night, and he surely wants Americans to believe that if terrorists are about to set off the big one, he will throw himself upon it and, with his imposing bulk, his dubious numbers, his concocted realities, and the sheer weight of his alarmism, do a far better job of absorbing the blast than the lightweight John Edwards ever could. Or, for that matter, than George W. Bush ever could. The president was the man who wasn't there in last night's debate. Cheney attacked John Kerry. Edwards defended Kerry. Edwards attacked the administration, and Cheney defended it, but the president himself -- that floundering, surly nincompoop whom we saw last week -- barely came up. It wouldn't have done the Bush-Cheney ticket any good to remind people of Bush himself, and the veep...

The Clear Candidate

“They can run but they can't hide,” the great heavyweight champ Joe Louis used to say of his hapless opponents, but up until last night, George W. Bush was doing a pretty fair job of both running and hiding. Indeed, to a considerable degree, he was running ahead because Karl Rove had hidden him from any possible confrontation with critics -- and with the truth. In accordance with the mandates of the Bush campaign, none but the faithful attend his rallies. In accordance with the mandates of the Kerry campaign, no one at the Democratic Convention had said anything seriously untoward about the president's performance in office. And while our economy has been rotting from within and Iraq has descended into an almost routine savagery, the media have blown their precious few opportunities to question the president about the disaster that is his term in office. So the president was tough because he and his minions said he was; we were succeeding on all fronts because he and his minions said...

How Republicans Define Security

Election Day approaches, which means it is time for House Republicans to run fully amok. Today, the House will take up a bill by Indiana Republican Mark Souder to lift the gun controls in the District of Columbia. Souder's bill legalizes ownership of semiautomatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition. How this would increase security around the White House and the Capitol is something that Souder and Co. have neglected to explain, but no matter. The House Republican leadership knows the bill won't pass the Senate. The only reason it was even introduced was to force House Democrats -- a number of whom represent gun-loving districts -- to vote on this nonsense. Also today, five House committees take up Speaker Dennis Hastert's bill to reform the U.S. intelligence community. House Democrats were kept in the dark on the contents of the bill until it emerged fully grown from Hastert's office late last week. By contrast, the bill being considered in the Senate is the result of extensive...

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