Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

A New Hampshire Ghost

A specter was haunting Hillary Clinton as she campaigned in New Hampshire this weekend: the specter of Ed Muskie. As the ancient or merely studious among us will recall, the Democratic senator from Maine, who'd been Hubert Humphrey's running mate in 1968, entered his party's presidential contest in 1972 as the front-runner. His prospects were dashed in the New Hampshire snows, however. As popular memory has it, an indignant Muskie started crying while refuting a silly attack on him (though whether he was genuinely upset or merely sniffling during a frigid outdoor news conference was never authoritatively resolved). Muskie's more serious problem, however, was the Vietnam War, which he opposed. His opposition, though, had none of the fervor or long-term consistency of another Democratic senator and presidential aspirant, George McGovern. By 1972, seven years had elapsed since the United States had sent ground forces to Vietnam, and Richard Nixon, through his invasion of Cambodia and...

The Big Three

"Why are we here?" John Edwards asked the members of the Democratic National Committee last Friday -- meaning: What animates us? What is the banner we ask Americans to take up? And, by morning's end, the Democrats had heard three different answers from their party's presidential front-runners. Edwards and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had distinct perspectives on Iraq, but their other differences were, if anything, more revealing. Edwards depicted, in a rising crescendo of emotion, the human cost of manmade disasters: the hotel housekeeper picketing for health coverage; the 8-year-old going to bed hungry; the mother of a soldier in Iraq answering her door to news of her son's death; the orphaned 5-year-old in the Sudanese desert. One of America's best trial lawyers was pleading for the victims of cruel and idiotic policies, offering policies of his own to save the innocents. Where Edwards personified problems, Obama abstracted them. In the forthcoming election, he said, "...

Organization Man

Last Friday and Saturday, the eight Democrats who have in varying degrees announced their intention to run for president came before the executive board of the most powerful and strategic organization in American liberalism -- the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). No sooner had this first of countless candidate cattle calls been completed than the SEIU's president, Andy Stern, flew off to Iowa for several days, followed by a couple of more days in New Hampshire. No, Stern insists, he's not running for president. Rather, he's setting in motion an SEIU program called "Walk a Day in My Shoes," in which the union will encourage (or hector) the candidates to spend a day with a working-class family in one of the first four states (Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina) to hold primary and caucus elections in 2008. Besides, Stern is already doing as much as if not more than the presidential hopefuls to shape the Democrats' agenda. This week, as Stern publicizes "Walk a Day...

Hedgehog Follies

In the beginning, George W. Bush sent American forces into Iraq with no apparent thought about the sectarian tensions that could explode once Saddam Hussein was ousted. Now, nearing the end of his presidency, Bush is sending more American forces into Iraq with no apparent regard for the verdict of the American people, rendered in November's election, that they've had it with his war. And, by the evidence of all available polling, with Bush himself. The decline in Bush's support to Watergate-era Nixonian depths since he announced that his new Iraq policy was his old Iraq policy, only more so, stems, I suspect, from three conclusions that the public has reached about the president and his war. The first, simply, is that the war is no longer winnable and, worse, barely comprehensible since it has evolved into a Sunni-Shiite conflict. The second is that Bush, in all matters pertaining to his war, is a one-trick president who keeps doing the same thing over and over, never mind that it...

Snooze of the Union

The White House must have known that this wouldn't be a rouser. The president had nothing new to say about Iraq, yet he had to discuss it -- not the real Iraq, of course, but his own private Iraq that no one else can recognize -- for half of the speech. Even his list of foiled terrorist plots was a collection of golden oldies from years gone by. As to his bold new domestic agenda, it was at once so piecemeal and complicated that it defied description, so when it came to the most important element -- the president's new health care proposal -- he essentially declined to describe it. The utterly threadbare quality of the Republican domestic vision was encapsulated by the fact that the biggest Republican applause line on matters domestic came after the president vowed to reintroduce legislation limiting medical liability. No wonder these guys lost. So, knowing that no good would come from the speech, the president actually did something almost diabolically clever. He began by discussing...

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