Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

One GOP Step Forward, Four GOP Steps Back

Republican strategists surely breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the South Carolina legislature voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the State Capitol. But it wasn’t long before Republican lawmakers began stepping on the story of the new GOP racial sensitivity not once, not twice, not even thrice, but four (4) times. 

Just as Palmetto State solons were recognizing that continuing to identify themselves with the cause of slavery 150 years after the end of the Civil War was probably a bad idea, their federal counterparts—white Southern Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives—were vociferously seeking to undo an amendment that had earlier passed the House by voice vote. The amendment forbade the National Park Service from buying merchandise from merchants who sell Confederate paraphernalia, and banned national military cemeteries from providing Confederate gravesite flags to slavery nostalgiacs. 

The Confederacy finally surrenders in South Carolina but reflexively rises again, like Dr. Strangelove's arm, in the Republican congressional delegation. 

Elsewhere this week, clearly trying to change the subject, GOP sort-of-frontrunner Jeb Bush proclaimed that, "Americans need to work longer hours." In fairness, he was talking about those Americans involuntarily relegated to part-time jobs, so the sentiment he voiced was one that the left could readily share. Nonetheless, when a non-trivial number of Americans look at Jeb Bush, they already discern the next Mitt Romney. Bush's Whoops Moment merely confirmed their view.

Meanwhile, in remarks NOT taken out of context, Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed column earlier this week contending—not as a passing apercu but as the thesis of the piece—that college is actually affordable. 

You can't make this stuff up.

And to close out the week's GOP outreach campaign, a PPP poll released Thursday showed that the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination among North Carolina Republicans is—you guessed it—the Donald. 

Just keep saying, the problem with Republicans is Republicans, and you won't go wrong. 

Anthony Kennedy's California Roots Shine Through

In recent cases on redistricting and gay marriage, he reveals himself as a vanishing breed of West Coast moderate Republican. 

AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File
AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File In this October 3, 2013, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks to faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania law school in Philadelphia. I n his characteristically bumptious manner, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lamented the lack of geographic diversity among his colleagues last week in his opinion dissenting from the Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. There are no justices from the South or West, he harrumphed—a judgment he then qualified, in deference to the fact that the author of the majority opinion, Anthony Kennedy, is Californian, with a verbal wave of the hand. “California does not count,” he wrote, as a real Western state. Actually, as the region that’s home not just to California but also to Washington, Oregon and Hawaii, the American West is probably more in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage than any region but the Northeast. Still, a case can be made that Kennedy’s jurisprudence has often been shaped by his...

Unhappy Justices

The Supreme Court's conservative wing seems increasingly out of touch with 21st century America—and reality. 

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Carlos McKnight of Washington, waves a flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015. A ll unhappy Supreme Court justices, as Tolstoy never said, have their own stories, and this was never more apparent than it was last week. To be sure, each of the four justices who issued dissenting opinions to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion affirming a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage made the same argument: There was no such right, they each declared, so the decision to establish one should be left to the voters or legislators of the states. But each did so in his own disconsolate (or in Antonin Scalia’s case, dyspeptic) fashion, and digressed in distinctive ways. Not surprisingly, Chief Justice John Roberts issued the most politic dissent, acknowledging right at the start that “the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling,” and concluding with the goodwill send-...

Scalia's Presumption of Reasonable Republicans

Justice Scalia's dissent in King v. Burwell rests on a deeply misguided faith in GOP leaders at the state level. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, October 5, 2011, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. J ustice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Obamacare reveals an almost touching belief that his Republican confreres are actually empirically sentient and can, if prodded, respond to reality. In that decision, which was handed down on June 24, the Court upheld the payment of federal subsidies to low-income recipients of Obamacare in states that haven’t set up their own exchanges. Were the Court to strike down the subsidies, as Scalia argues it should have, states without exchanges, he writes, would surely set them up: The Court predicts that making tax credits unavailable in States that do not set up their own Exchanges would cause disastrous economic consequences there. If that is so, however, wouldn’t one expect States to react by setting up their own Exchanges? And wouldn’t...