Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Snooze of the Union

The White House must have known that this wouldn't be a rouser. The president had nothing new to say about Iraq, yet he had to discuss it -- not the real Iraq, of course, but his own private Iraq that no one else can recognize -- for half of the speech. Even his list of foiled terrorist plots was a collection of golden oldies from years gone by. As to his bold new domestic agenda, it was at once so piecemeal and complicated that it defied description, so when it came to the most important element -- the president's new health care proposal -- he essentially declined to describe it. The utterly threadbare quality of the Republican domestic vision was encapsulated by the fact that the biggest Republican applause line on matters domestic came after the president vowed to reintroduce legislation limiting medical liability. No wonder these guys lost. So, knowing that no good would come from the speech, the president actually did something almost diabolically clever. He began by discussing...

WINDFALL AT THE...

WINDFALL AT THE POST . For fogies like me who read the newsprint version of newspapers, today�s Washington Post -- more particularly, the ads in today�s Washington Post -- was a revelation. In the paper�s A Section, three separate full-page ads appeared from right-wing groups threatened by the advance of Democratic legislation through the new Congress. On page A5, the so-called Center for Union Facts re-ran its ad equating American labor leaders with Kim Jong Il and Fidel Castro , obviously fearing that the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it possible for workers to join unions without fear of management retaliation, will pass the House and command a (not necessarily filibuster-proof) majority in the Senate. On page A15, Phrma, the drug company lobby, ran an ad against the legislation, already passed by the House, that would end the prohibition on the government�s negotiating prices with drug companies under Medicare Part D. (The very existence of the ad completely undercuts...

A Fighting Retreat?

For the Republicans, there are two ways out of Iraq. They can either go out like Eisenhower or like Nixon. As the first Republican to occupy the White House since the coming of the New Deal, Dwight Eisenhower could have chosen to divide the public and try to roll back Franklin Roosevelt's handiwork. In fact, he didn't give that option a moment's consideration. Social Security and unions, he concluded, were here to stay; any attempt to undo them, he wrote, would consign the Republicans to permanent minority status. Ike also ended the Korean War without attacking Democrats in the process. His vice president, Richard Nixon, became president largely because of the public's massive discontent with the Vietnam War. We now know that Nixon and Henry Kissinger had no illusions that the war could be won, and Nixon probably could have withdrawn U.S. troops in a way that didn't polarize the public. Such a stance, however, ran counter to Nixon's deepest instincts. For Nixon, politics was about...

Polarizer Vs. Polarizer

If any Americans could truly understand Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, George Bush and Karl Rove should. All three firmly believe that the successful politician must above all cultivate his base -- not that any of them can point to recent successes. In refusing to do anything to curtail the anti-Sunni pogroms of Moqtada al-Sadr's legions, Maliki, after all, is just dancin' with the ones that brung him. He owes his office to Sadr. More broadly, he is the governmental leader of the Shiites at the very moment they and the Sunnis have embarked on a ghastly civil war. He is nominally also Iraq's prime minister, but if there was even a scintilla of doubt about the true object of his loyalties, it was dispelled by his execution of Saddam Hussein. Maliki is the prime minister of Shiite rage, a position that offers a good deal more security than that of dispassionate prime minister of a nation at war with itself. Yet last night, President Bush announced that Maliki has changed. He also...

Shades of Cambodia

What was that about Syria and Iran? Since the administration had revealed in advance almost everything that the president said last night, the real news in George Bush's speech was his elliptical threat to expand the war to Iraq's neighbors. Nestled well into a speech whose particulars were already familiar, there was this understated bombshell: Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity -- and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq. This could mean several things. It could mean that the United States will better...

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