Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

The Guns of July

I wonder if this is how the summer of 1914 felt. Then, you will recall, the assassination of the Austrian archduke by a Serbian nationalist terrorist provided the senescent Austro-Hungarian Empire the excuse it had been looking for to wipe out the Serbian nationalists, which provoked the pan-Slavic nationalists at work for the czar to threaten the Austro-Hungarians with destruction, which led Germany's Kaiser to pledge retaliatory war against Russia, which prompted the French, who had an anti-German alliance with Russia, to begin mobilization. . . . Nobody wanted global conflagration, yet nobody knew how to stop it, and the American president (Woodrow Wilson, who was not yet a Wilsonian) did nothing to help avert the coming war. Within a month, the war came, and it took the remainder of the 20th century for the world to fully recover. I review this familiar history for those of us (myself included) who've been wondering how the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers (and the killing of...

Earth to Pundits

I am about to become a traitor to my class. Among my estimable colleagues in the Washington commentariat, the idea that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is facing a serious challenge from a fellow Democrat over Lieberman's support for the Iraq war seems to evoke incredulity and exasperation. On the op-ed pages of leading newspapers, we read that Lieberman is "the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men" ( that 's from The New York Times ' David Brooks), a judgment that cannot credibly be disputed -- though if ever a road to hell was paved with good intentions, it would start with the anti-Saddam Hussein interventionism of pro-democracy advocates and end in downtown Baghdad today. My colleagues also finger those crazy lefty bloggers as the culprits behind the drive to purge Lieberman from Democratic ranks. (The New Republic's Jonathan Chait recently wrote that in the Los Angeles Times .) They see a self-destructive urge for party purification sweeping over Democratic liberals,...

Congress's Turn

If Democrats are divided, as Republicans gleefully note, about what to do in Iraq, Republicans have reacted to last week's Supreme Court decision striking down the administration's military tribunals in a way that makes clear that they themselves are divided about the rule of law in America. The majority and concurring opinions in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld told the Bush administration in no uncertain terms that if it wanted to establish some distinct procedures for trying the kinds of prisoners interned at Guantanamo Bay, Congress had to stipulate what those procedures should be. But the opinions said more than that. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens also said that whatever procedures were adopted had to comport with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which mandates humane treatment for prisoners of war and entitles them to some rights at trial -- such as their, and their attorneys', right to actually attend. In February 2002, President Bush signed an order saying...

Staying on Message -- Nixon's Message

Let's give credit where credit is due: Nobody knows how to take the worst political hand imaginable -- responsibility for a failing war -- and turn it to their own advantage like the Republicans. That was the defining political accomplishment of Richard Nixon in Vietnam. It may yet be the defining political achievement of George W. Bush in Iraq. Nixon, of course, had an easier time of it. When he took office in 1969, he inherited a war that his Democratic predecessors had made and that had long since descended into a blood-drenched, stalemated disaster. He could have opted to end the war early in his term, particularly since neither he nor his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, believed it was winnable. But by continuing the conflict, and even expanding it into Cambodia, he enraged the 40 percent of the nation that wanted us out of Vietnam. Millions of demonstrators took to the streets; some of the student movement embraced a wacky, self-marginalizing anti-Americanism; and...

Suckers for Meritocracy

One score and zero years ago, when I was a young and reckless political consultant, I took on what proved to be my most challenging campaign. In the spring of 1986, I signed on to manage a campaign on behalf of three of California's Supreme Court Justices, who were facing a reconfirmation election that November. (Under state law, voters were periodically able to vote Yes or No on whether to retain the justices.) By the time I came aboard, however, the justices were already an endangered species. Chief Justice Rose Bird and Associate Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso had been appointed to the court during the '70s by then-Governor Jerry Brown, a liberal Democrat. By 1986, Brown's conservative Republican successor, George Deukmejian, had marked the judicial three for electoral extinction. For one thing, all three had played significant roles, before they were appointed to the bench, in helping the states' farm workers win workplace rights and better labor standards. Agribusiness,...

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