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

The Tough Dove's Moment

It is Saturday morning, Jan. 18, and in Washington and San Francisco, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have gathered to protest the president's pending war. In Des Moines, Iowa, hundreds of Democrats are turning out, too -- both to oppose that war, it seems, and begin the process of unseating that president. Almost a year to the day before Iowa's caucuses will start to winnow out the Democratic presidential field, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has come to Des Moines to kick off his campaign. His staff has scheduled his first public event at a downtown restaurant that holds about 200 people, so to meet Kerry, the more than 600 Iowa Democrats who show up must take the stairs from the restaurant to a larger performance space several stories up. Three out of the six announced Democratic hopefuls are working the state this weekend; the other two are Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), the congressman from down river who won the Iowa caucuses during his 1988 presidential bid, and former Gov...

Post-Gore Democrats

G ore is gone, and the race for the Democratic nomination in 2004 is so wide open, says one Democratic pollster, "The plausibility of why-not-me? candidacies has just exploded." This isn't 1992, when Mario Cuomo's decision not to run failed to prompt any prominent national Democrats who'd been holding back to hop into the race. Running against Bush 43, apparently, is not the deterrent that running against Bush 41 once was. Gephardt, Lieberman, Kerry, Edwards, Dean -- and perhaps Daschle, Dodd and such wild cards as Biden, Hart, Sharpton and Clark -- this is the Democrats' A-list. Truth be told, though, it isn't much of an A-list. In particular, it has only one (former) governor, Howard Dean. It's too early to speak with any confidence about the fate of individual candidacies but not too early to speak about what Democratic voters are looking for. They want a candidate with serious national-security bona fides, a sober and aggressive approach to deterring terrorism. They want a...

The Cult of Karl

S o who you gonna believe, Bob Woodward or Ron Suskind? In Bush at War , Woodward's new behind-the-scenes account of the White House in wartime, mighty battles are waged between the Powellites and the Cheneyistas over the fundamentals of foreign policy. Multilateralists duke it out with unilateralists, leaving the president to choose between, or meld, two distinctly opposed viewpoints of America's proper role in the world. In "Why Are These Men Laughing?", Suskind's January Esquire article on how Karl Rove became master of the universe, readers encounter quite a different White House. Here, on the domestic-policy side of the ledger, there are no policy debates or discussions. There isn't even a domestic-policy operation as such. All there is is politics. All there is is Rove. Suskind's article also features something virtually unknown in Woodward's world: an identifiable, on-the-record source. John DiIulio, the University of Pennsylvania professor and social-policy maven who ran the...

Dems in the Dumps

W e have been here before. In the wake of yet another of their periodic election debacles, the Democrats are deflated and dispirited, bothered and bewildered. Bewildered, I think, more than anything else. After all, this is not 1980, the year of the Reagan ascendancy. The American electorate is not clamoring for less government. Indeed, the public's domestic concerns are precisely those issues that congressional Democrats should have won on: better schools, more affordable and comprehensive health coverage, economic security. Yet these are the issues on which Republicans successfully masked their differences with the Democrats. Bewildered, too, because the Bush administration methodically used the terrorist threat to re-create the political advantage the Republicans enjoyed during the Cold War. Its strategy was to push beyond the real questions of homeland security, on which a bipartisan consensus plainly exists, to causes that may not affect homeland security at all -- indeed, that...

Debacle

It is the first sign of trouble in a play about nothing but trouble. Asked by her father in the play's first scene what she can say to demonstrate her love for him, Cordelia says, "Nothing." To which Lear responds, "Nothing will come of nothing." Which is a pretty fair summation of the Democrats' 2002 campaign. They had no message. They were an opposition party that drew no lines of opposition. They had nothing to say. And on Tuesday, their base responded by staying home in droves. Nothing came of nothing. The Democrats lost the Senate, lost seats in the House, and picked up significantly fewer statehouses than they had counted upon. On what should have been the Democrats' defining issues, they endeavored to be indistinct. They could never bring themselves to oppose Bush's tax cut, his trillion-dollar handout to the rich, though that made it impossible for them to advocate any significant programs of their own. Nor could they bring themselves to oppose the White House's headlong...

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