Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American ProspectHis email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

The Populist Persuasion

Nearly four decades after it happened, the assassination of Robert Kennedy still presents us with the greatest might-have-been of the past half-century of American politics. In the months before his murder, campaigning across the country in 1968's tumultuous presidential primaries, Kennedy did something that no Democrat after him has been able to do: He won primary majorities among both African-Americans and working-class whites, even though the white backlash against black militants and against the urban riots of that time was reaching fever pitch. With Kennedy's murder, however, the prospects for a Democratic Party able to command the allegiance of both white and black working-class voters abruptly collapsed. A number of whites who had voted for Kennedy in the spring's primaries voted for George Wallace in the fall's general election, and for Richard Nixon four years later, and for Ronald Reagan after that. Bill Clinton was able to win back a share of those working-class whites, but...

Vicca With a W

When I talk to myself, I sound like an old Jew. This is not because I am all too quickly actually becoming an old Jew, mind you. It's that the voice I use to argue with and amuse myself is my grandparents' -- all of them Russian Jews who came to America about 100 years ago. And how did my grandparents sound? Consider the following exchange I had with my grandmother, whom we called "Bubba," in my mother's backyard in the late 1970s -- a time when Bubba's hearing was failing, and my cousin Claire, with her cat, Wicca, was staying with my mom. As the scene begins, Wicca emerges from the bushes. Me: Bubba, this is Wicca. Bubba: Ticca? Me: No, Wicca. Bubba: Ricca? Me: No, Bubba, it starts with a "W." Bubba: Oh -- Vicca! I was reminded of Vicca with a W by a collection of Yiddish-accent comic songs originally recorded between 1905 and 1922 that have recently been remastered and re-released on a CD with the in-your-face title of Jewface . The album reminds us, if we need reminding, how...

The Right's Denial

On their journey through the stages of grief, conservatives don't yet seem to have gotten past denial. Republicans may have lost, conservatives argue, but only because they misplaced their ideology. "[T]hey were punished not for pursuing but for forgetting conservatism," George F. Will, conservatism's most trenchant champion, wrote in The Washington Post last week. Their mortal sin, in this gospel, was their abandonment of fiscal prudence. They doffed their green eyeshades and gushed red ink. "The greatest scandal in Washington, D.C., is runaway federal spending," said Indiana congressman Mike Pence, the true-blue conservative who is challenging Ohio's John Boehner for the post of House Republican leader. Holding conservatism blameless for last week's Republican debacle may stiffen conservative spines, but the very idea is the product of mushy conservative brains unwilling to acknowledge the obvious: that conservatism has never been more ascendant than during George Bush's presidency...

The Right's Denial

On their journey through the stages of grief, conservatives don't yet seem to have gotten past denial. Republicans may have lost, conservatives argue, but only because they misplaced their ideology. "[T]hey were punished not for pursuing but for forgetting conservatism," George F. Will, conservatism's most trenchant champion, wrote in The Washington Post last week. Their mortal sin, in this gospel, was their abandonment of fiscal prudence. They doffed their green eyeshades and gushed red ink. "The greatest scandal in Washington, D.C., is runaway federal spending," said Indiana congressman Mike Pence, the true-blue conservative who is challenging Ohio's John Boehner for the post of House Republican leader. Holding conservatism blameless for last week's Republican debacle may stiffen conservative spines, but the very idea is the product of mushy conservative brains unwilling to acknowledge the obvious: that conservatism has never been more ascendant than during George Bush's presidency...

The Fair-Trade Election

The architect built his house of straw. The foundation -- the Republican base -- may have retained its brick-like solidity in support of its candidates Tuesday, just as Karl Rove predicted. But the house itself -- and the House itself -- was blown to smithereens, with massive shifts among moderate and independent voters to the Democratic column. And for all the talk of coming Democratic dissonance within their expanded congressional delegations, it's clear that on economic policy, a new progressive center has formed. The Democrats' pickups came largely in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mountain West. In the South, outside of Florida, they won just a couple of new seats. Moderate northern Republicans in both houses -- including the most moderate, Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee in the Senate and Iowa's Jim Leach in the House -- went down to defeat. The Republican Party that limps away from this election is rooted more firmly in the South -- which is precisely the party's problem. It was the...

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