Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

The War on Immigrants

The conventional wisdom is still unpersuaded that the Republican Party is about to mount a full-force attack on American's undocumented immigrants -- of whom, by some counts, there are 11 million. After all, the Republicans are the party of employers -- large (agribusiness), medium (construction companies), and small (restaurateurs) -- who have long depended on immigrants for cheap labor. The cheap labor sectors of American capitalism are a huge source of donations for the GOP. How could the Republicans turn their back on them? But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Republicans are coming up on a midterm election in which their control of both houses of Congress is very much at stake. Their advantage in foreign and military policy has been diminished by the president's stunningly inept handling of the war in Iraq. And on the domestic and economic fronts, they have nothing to offer at all -- save only a greater zeal than the Democrats possess to “do something about immigration.” With...

An All-American Christmas

The white Christmases that Irving Berlin dreamed of weren't the earliest ones he used to know. He spent his first five Christmases in czarist Russia, and his only recollection of that time, at least the only one he'd acknowledge as an adult, was that of watching his neighbors burn his family's house to the ground in a good old-fashioned, Jew-hating pogrom. So it's no surprise that when Berlin got around to writing his great Christmas song in 1941, nearly half a century after his family had fled the shtetl of Mohilev for New York's Lower East Side, it was flatly devoid of Christian imagery. It is, for all that, a religious song. It's just that Berlin's religion was America. "White Christmas" is an achingly nostalgic ballad, evoking a rural America where treetops glisten and sleigh bells ring. This was Currier and Ives country, an idealized winter landscape created for an urban nation that was busily shipping its young men overseas to fight Hitler and Japan. Amid the unprecedented...

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...

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