Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Sala's Choice

Sala Galant Lipschultz Burton made two critical decisions during her lifetime, the full meaning of which could not have been apparent to her at the time she made them. The first, in the early 1950s, was to marry a young lawyer and Democratic activist named Phil Burton, who was to become the single most important member of the House of Representatives in the '60s and '70s. As a leader of the California Young Democrats and a rising force in San Francisco politics, the young Phil Burton had already won a reputation for his political brilliance -- and for his explosive temper. Nobody worked harder for liberal causes. Nobody demanded more of his associates and staffers: If they didn't match his crazy hours, his ability to count votes or his understanding of the art of the deal, they'd be subjected to eruptions from the Burton volcano. Throughout his career, in fact, the biggest obstacle to Burton's success was his rage. That he accomplished as much as he did was due in part to Sala. The...

Jerry's Kids

Gerald Ford had one of those presidencies that even historians have trouble remembering. Elected neither president nor vice president by the American people, Ford served for just two-and-a-half years before Jimmy Carter defeated him in the 1976 election. Some big things happened during Ford's abbreviated tenure in office -- chiefly, the fall of South Vietnam to the communists -- but he lacked the political capital and creativity to play even a secondary role in them. Who, remembering the image of the last Americans climbing aboard the choppers on the roof of our Saigon Embassy, can summon up a corresponding image of Ford reacting to this in Washington? I'm no historian, but as best I can remember it, Ford took office to almost universal plaudits, palpable relief, and gushing gratitude for not being Richard Nixon. Within little more than a month, though, the era of good feelings came to an abrupt halt when Ford preemptively pardoned Nixon. The rest of Ford's term was bumbling, a...

Reaction Force

Don't look now, but Virginia is seceding again. On Sunday nine Episcopal parishes in Virginia, including the one where George Washington served as a vestryman, announced that they had voted to up and leave the U.S. Episcopal Church to protest its increasingly equal treatment of homosexuals. In 2003 an overwhelming majority of the nation's Episcopal bishops ratified the selection of a gay bishop by the New Hampshire diocese. This past June the church's general convention elevated Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to the post of presiding U.S. bishop. Jefferts Schori is the first woman to head a national branch of the Anglican Church. Worse yet, she has allowed the blessing of same-sex couples within her diocese (which includes the ever theologically innovative Las Vegas). Whether it was the thought of a woman presiding over God's own country club or of gays snuggling under its eaves, it was all too much for a distinct minority of Episcopalians. The dissident parishes in the...

The GOP's Iraq Two-Step

Where do the Republicans' likely 2008 presidential candidates come down on Iraq? You might think that a decent regard for the opinions of their fellow citizens, as registered in last month's elections, would rouse them from their Bushian dreams of victory in what has become a savage intra-Islamic war where the very notion of an American triumph makes no sense whatever. You might think that, with the president's approval rating now sunk to near-Nixonian depths, Republican leaders, for their own good as well as their country's, might want to withdraw our men and women from Iraq before the next election. But that would require the Republicans -- leaders and rank-and-file both -- to become a reality-based party. If their leading candidates are any indication, however, they're not yet willing to make that leap. Front-runner John McCain, for instance, calls for a major increase in the size of the U.S. force and, with his fellow neoconservatives, rejects the Baker-Hamilton report because it...

Southern Exposure

You've seen the numbers and understand that America is growing steadily less white. You try to push your party, the Grand Old Party, ahead of this curve by taking a tolerant stance on immigration and making common cause with some black churches. Then you go and blow it all in a desperate attempt to turn out your base by demonizing immigrants and running racist ads against Harold Ford. On Election Day, black support for Democrats remains high; Hispanic support for Democrats surges. So what do you do next? What else? Elect Trent Lott your deputy leader in the Senate. Sure locks in the support of any stray voters who went for Strom in '48. In case you haven't noticed, a fundamental axiom of modern American politics has been altered in recent weeks. For four decades, it's been the Democrats who've had a southern problem. Couldn't get any votes for their presidential candidates there; couldn't elect any senators, then any House members, then any dogcatchers. They still can't, but the...

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