Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

A MODEST PROPOSAL....

A MODEST PROPOSAL. The new issue of Blueprint , the bimonthly journal of the Democratic Leadership Council, which went up online today, features an article by Tony Blair entitled �Fighting for Values,� which is part of the magazine�s cover package on �Defeating Jihadism.� The piece is a resounding defense of civilization and globalization, a scathing attack on obscurantism and protectionism. Blair makes the case for the Iraqi invasion and occupation, of course, but, by past standards, somewhat briefly. Since every day that Blair continues to serve as Prime Minister depresses the Labor Party�s polling by another couple of points, and twists the party into ideological knots defending a foreign policy that its members don�t believe in and that the British public rejects, here�s a suggestion that can make everybody happy: With the number of Labor MPs prepared to vote for Blair�s ouster clearly growing, the PM needs a graceful exit. Why doesn�t the DLC hire the guy -- give him an Al From...

A Bankrupt Party

The emerging Republican game plan for 2006 is, at bottom, a tautology: If the Democrats retake Congress it will mean, well, that the Democrats retake Congress. (Cue lightning bolt and ominous clap of thunder.) Karl Rove and his minions have plumb run out of issues to campaign on. They can't run on the war. They can't run on the economy, where the positive numbers on growth are offset by the largely stagnant numbers on median incomes and the public's growing dread of outsourcing. Immigration may play in various congressional districts, but it's too dicey an issue to nationalize. Even social conservatives may be growing weary of outlawing gay marriage every other November. Nobody's buying the ownership society. Competence? Ethics? You kidding? The Republicans' problem is not simply their inability to run their government and wage their war of choice, it is also their bankruptcy of ideas. On taxes, the Republican legislative leaders' top priorities are to make permanent the tax cut on...

Wonk Vs. Hunk

Steve Westly looks like the candidate from Central Casting. California's controller, who is currently the front-runner in the state's June 6 Democratic primary for governor, has tousled hair, a toothpaste-ad smile and a photogenic family. The state's voters don't know a lot about Westly -- public service in Sacramento is one of the nation's highest forms of invisibility -- but apparently, they like what they've seen. What they've seen are a whole lot of very skillful ads that Westly -- a onetime Stanford University business professor who went to work at a Silicon Valley start-up called eBay and made himself a fortune -- has funded out of pocket. The ads tout Westly's environmentalism, his work at eBay (one big business that people genuinely like), his -- well, his good looks. And they've worked. In the most recent Field poll, Westly opened a lead of 37 percent to 26 percent over his rival, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, whose financially outmatched campaign is only now back on the...

Hamiltonian Democrats

It's come to this: The chief project to restate Democratic economics for our time was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, and it's named after the father of American conservatism, Alexander Hamilton. Necessarily, the authors of the Hamilton Project preface their declaration with an attempt, not altogether successful, to reclaim Hamilton from the right. The nation's first secretary of the Treasury, they note, "stood for sound fiscal policy, believed that broad-based opportunity for advancement would drive American economic growth, and recognized that 'prudent aids and encouragements on the part of government' are necessary to enhance and guide market forces." Which is true, as far as it goes. Hamilton believed in balanced budgets and in the government's taking an active role to build the infrastructure and fiscal climate that business and the nation need to succeed -- ideas as alien to the current administration as support for collective farms. But Hamilton also feared the common people,...

The Curse on Unions

Solidarity For Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America's Promise by Robert Fitch ( PublicAffairs, 560 pages, $28.50 ) Mobsters, Unions, and Feds: The Mafia and the American Labor Movement by James B. Jacobs ( New York University Press, 320 pages, $32.95 ) America's unions may be shrinking, but the literature on their decline could fill a small library. Explanations abound. There's globalization, and there's the shift from manufacturing (big plants, easy to organize) to services (smaller workplaces, harder to organize). There was the move of American businesses from the union-friendly Snow Belt to the union-bashing Sun Belt. There's the near total antipathy of American employers to unions, and the rise of the billion-dollar, union-avoidance consultant industry. There's the failure of American labor law to protect workers in the face of union-resistant employers. There's the inertia of American unions themselves, most of which forgot how to organize new...

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