Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Problem Politics

Let's stipulate at the outset that if the Republican Congress had done a decent job addressing the nation's problems over the past two years, the Foley scandal and cover-up wouldn't now be plunging the Republicans into political perdition. Instead, the scandal has served chiefly to crystallize in the public's mind much that it has come to loathe about both the Congress and the Bush administration -- above all, their unwavering focus on the politics of a problem rather than the problem itself. It's not just that congressional Republicans have neglected to do anything about the conduct of the war in Iraq, or diminishing medical and retirement benefits, or the 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working here. It's also that they've fabricated crises if the politics seemed propitious. (Remember Terry Schiavo?) Or they've concocted public problems in order to go after groups that pose political problems for them. So they've contended that trial lawyers, who are a major funding...

Fall Guy of Foleygate

It is a mark of the sheer panic sweeping the ranks of Republican congressmen that one of their most levelheaded members, Ray LaHood of Illinois, has suggested that Congress abolish its page program altogether in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal. What conclusion are we supposed to draw from LaHood's proposal? That members of Congress cannot be trusted in the company of adolescents? If so, why punish the adolescents? Whatever happened in the Foley case surely wasn't the fault of the pages to whom Foley came on electronically, much less every teenager who has worked, or would like to work, as a page. If LaHood believes that pages pose an irresistible temptation to his peers, there are surely solutions straight out of the Republican playbook that wouldn't punish the victims. How about building a 700-foot fence around all Republican members of Congress? One thing is certain: Just dumping Denny Hastert as speaker, as many conservatives are demanding, won't clean up the Republican act...

FRIDAY FIVE O'CLOCK...

FRIDAY FIVE O'CLOCK FOLKWAYS. The entire American labor movement has been atremble today, waiting for the National Labor Relations Board to deliver its decisions in the Kentucky River cases -- decisions in which the Board is widely expected to reclassify as many as 8 million workers as management, and hence ineligible to join or belong to unions. The ruling would apply to nurses who schedule shifts or offer training on some new devices, say, to other nurses, perhaps to carpenters who help train apprentices -- you get the picture. The whole point of the ruling, labor fears, is to further cripple its ability to organize and represent workers -- and crippling unions and afflicting workers, after all, is the very the raison d�etre of the Republican and management hacks who constitute the majority of the board. It turns out labor must tremble a little longer. With the board's current deliberative term at an end as the month ends, the word, as of 5:00 PM Eastern time today, Friday, is that...

The Enablers

Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, is seeking reelection in his heavily Democratic state by insisting he's not really a Republican, or at least not part of the gang responsible for the decade's debacles. He didn't even vote for George W. Bush in 2004, he protests. He cast his vote for George H.W. Bush -- a kinder, gentler, more prudent, less strident Republican. Big deal. It matters not a damn whom Lincoln Chafee chose to support for president. His vote was one of roughly 435,000 cast in Rhode Island in the 2004 presidential election, and roughly 122 million cast nationwide. The election in which his vote did matter was that for majority leader of the Senate. There, he was one of just 100 electors, in a Senate nearly evenly divided. After this November's elections, control of the Senate may well hang by a single vote. And if Chafee truly wished to alter the course of his party and his country in the spirit of his vote for Poppy Bush, he would, if reelected, cast his...

Into the Desert

At its highest levels, the literature of war is often about a hero gone bad, a hero, in fact, who becomes indistinguishable from his enemy. Achilles, to begin at the beginning, outrages the gods by his desecration of the body of his slain archrival, Hector, and it takes a message from Zeus to persuade him to relinquish the body for burial. In America, the closest we've come to having a Homer of our own, "an epic, tragic, national poet," is probably John Ford, the tormented, alcoholic Irish American director who invented both the classic Western and John Wayne in his 1939 film Stagecoach . But it's the film Ford made immediately after that, Young Mr. Lincoln , starring young Henry Fonda, that may be the single most lyrical and compelling evocation of the American ideals of justice and community ever crafted by an American artist. No one did heroes as well as Ford. So it's all the more startling to see Ford's late Western The Searchers , his ninth picture with Wayne, which came out in...

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