Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Last Action Heroes

Until two weeks ago, George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger were having a remarkably similar, and disastrous, year. Each began 2005 at the top of his game -- the president reelected with enhanced congressional majorities, the governator boasting an approval rating of 65 percent. Each then chose to govern well to the right of his electorate -- Bush promoting the privatization of Social Security, Arnold sponsoring ballot measures that would have cut spending on schools and diminished the power of the state's unions. Despite rising public discontent, each elected not to alter his course -- Bush refusing to scale back his war in Iraq, Arnold declining to cancel California's special election and call off his war on the labor movement. And last month, each experienced unprecedented defeat. In the House, Republican moderates opposed the spending cuts backed by Bush and their leaders, and California voters rejected all of Schwarzenegger's propositions. Today these two once-brightest stars...

Bewilder Thy Father and Mother

The number one holiday shopping nightmare this year isn't taking place at the malls or at the big-box outlets. It's at our senior centers, where Americans over 65 are trying to figure out which private health insurance plan to enroll in to get their prescription drugs paid for under Medicare's new Part D, which takes effect Jan. 1. As seniors tell the tale, navigating the competing plans is no more complicated than mapping the human genome. In most states, Medicare recipients are presented with dozens of asymmetric options. The plans cover some drugs but not others, with discounts (or not) for generics. Some offer supplemental insurance to cover the gaping hole in the middle of the program (a patient's annual drug expenses exceeding $2,250 are not covered under the law, though coverage kicks back in once the yearly bill tops $5,100); some don't. Some plans re-price their options every day, a boon to seniors who want to make the selection process their life's work. Simplicity may not...

‘50s Hip

In the ever-sketchy collective memory of our nation, the 1950s are the big sleep. They belong to Ozzie and Harriet, and their First Family (somewhat older but just as dull) equivalents, Ike and Mamie. Oh, if you look at the decade closely, you can see the ‘60s beginning to percolate in Elvis and James Dean, in Kerouac and the beats, in the kids who were shortly to sit down at a lunch counter in North Carolina and form SDS at Port Huron. But the grown ups? Squaresville. Living in little boxes. Gutless. The popular sociologists worried chiefly about conformity. From the vantage point of social progress, political courage, and cultural grace, the parents of the boomers were a lost generation. So imagine my astonishment when, midway through George Clooney's terrific film of the Edward R. Murrow-Joseph McCarthy set-to, Good Night, and Good Luck , I realized he was doing the unthinkable. He was making the ‘50s hip. And not the dissident ‘50s of Brando and biker gangs and Greenwich Village...

Open Doors, Closed Minds

By all accounts, Jim Bill Lynn bled Wal-Mart blue. His friend Darrell Altom, who worked with Lynn at Wal-Mart's Searcy, Arkansas, distribution center in the days before Lynn traveled the nation and the world on Wal-Mart's behalf, recalls that at the Monday-morning warehouse meetings back in the mid-'90s, “A lot of managers didn't want to get up and do the [company] cheer, but [Lynn] would do it every week.” “It's corny, but it's part of the culture -- and he was so pro-Wal-Mart.” Lynn and Wal-Mart seemed made for each other. Driven, affable, and politically conservative, with clear managerial aptitude and a boundless appetite for work, Lynn was exactly the kind of young fella for whom Sam Walton's executives were always on the lookout. Wal-Mart was the company that had revolutionized logistics, the just-in-time movement of goods, and by those measures the Searcy center, where Lynn was hired on as a junior manager in 1993, was consistently one of the top three in the nation. Lynn's...

Alito's Smoking Gun

Samuel Alito could not have put it more plainly. "The Constitution," he wrote in a 1985 job application he posted to the Reagan administration's attorney general, Ed Meese, "does not protect a right to an abortion." The folks charged with getting Alito confirmed as Sandra Day O'Connor's successor are insisting that the judge's declaration is not a smoking gun. Alito's subsequent record on the federal appellate bench, said Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, "shows he has indeed put his personal views on abortion aside." And in the Washington Times story that revealed the existence of the application, an unnamed Republican official insisted, "the issue is not Judge Alito's political views during the Reagan administration." The issue was the hundreds of opinions Alito had authored in the years since, in "none of which is it evident what his political philosophy is." Now, maybe I'm cockeyed here, but I don't read Alito's abortion assertion as either personal or political. A personal...

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