Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Revolt Of The Moderates

Amid all the self-inflicted disasters that befell the Bush White House last week, it was easy to miss the fact that the president had to cave to a group of disgruntled Republicans who had not made trouble for him before. I don't mean the conservatives in revolt over Harriet Miers. I mean the moderates in revolt over President Bush's suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, the law that mandates payment of prevailing wages on federally funded construction projects. In an apparent attempt to ensure that nobody rebuilding the Katrina-damaged Gulf Coast made much more than minimum wage, Bush had suspended the 1931 statute. But last week a group of 35 moderate Republican members of Congress -- hailing disproportionately from Northeast and Midwest states where building-trades unions still have political clout -- told Andy Card that they couldn't support Bush's edict. With a congressional vote on overturning Bush's order scheduled for next week, the president backed down. Now, I haven't done the...

Indictment Day

“We got a job to protect the American people,” President Bush said this afternoon in his blink-and-you-missed-it two-minute statement on the indictment of Scooter Libby. Bush's problem is that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had just spent an hour saying essentially the same thing, and Fitzgerald's was much the more credible case. For Fitzgerald said that his job, too, had been essentially that of protecting national security. By outing Valerie Plame and then lying about it, the prosecutor argued, Libby hadn't merely endangered Plame but the entire CIA and the nation it spies for. Fitzgerald came off as an ultra-linear straight-shooter who rigorously avoided any discussion of issues beyond those set forth in the indictment -- with one crucial exception. “At a time when we need more human intelligence,” he said, “just the notion that someone's identity could be compromised lightly … compromises our ability to recruit” new agents. The people who work in intelligence, he continued, “need...

Reality Crowds In

Guns to the left of them, guns to the right of them, Into the valley of death rode the six hundred. -- Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” Imagine! After sticking with President Bush through thick and thin, through a failing war and a flailing economy, congressional Republicans have suddenly stood up and told the president, No: We will not accept your choice. The conservatives on Harriet Miers? Sure. But also -- if we can remember back as far as Wednesday -- the moderates on the Davis-Bacon Act as well. The point is that the president is not just caving to his right. He's caving to his left, too. Reality is mugging the Republican Party, and its elected officials are scrambling to save themselves. And it's taken nothing less than elemental self-preservation to force Republican moderates -- aptly dubbed “The Fraud Caucus” by our own Mark Goldberg and Matt Yglesias -- to finally resist the unending rightward galumph of their party. Life is unfair, and these Northeastern and...

Even Wal-Mart Gets The Blues

Is Wal-Mart going wobbly? Over the past couple of weeks, America's largest company -- linchpin of the low-wage, no-benefit economy that is increasingly the norm in America -- has announced some surprising reversals of course. In a series of speeches and interviews, chief executive H. Lee Scott unveiled four initiatives that he clearly hopes will polish the company's increasingly tarnished image. Wal-Mart, he said, will shift to more environmentally responsible practices -- demanding greater mileage of its truck fleet and better packaging of its products. It will offer more affordable health insurance to its employees, cutting the monthly premium in some cases to just $11. It will monitor the environmental and health and safety practices of its foreign suppliers. And it will lobby for a higher federal minimum wage. Scott's timing is anything but accidental. The sweatshop conditions in which thousands of employees of Wal-Mart's suppliers routinely work, and the depressive effect that...

Afflicting The Dry

Congress is back in session, and it's gunning for the American poor. A revolt of House conservatives has persuaded that body's Republican leadership to offset the increased federal spending going to rebuild the Hurricane Katrina–devastated Gulf Coast by reductions in Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs for the indigent. If things go according to plan, this week the House will begin to cut $50 billion from those efforts. The emerging Republican response to Katrina, apparently, is to comfort the drenched poor and afflict the dry. For a moment last week, it looked as though the Republicans were going to enact across-the-board spending cuts. That, however, would have meant less money for defense contractors and the highway industry and other contributors to congressional Republicans' campaigns. GOP committee chairmen made that point so forcefully that the idea was scrapped. The beauty of taking the cuts out of Medicaid and student loan programs, by happy contrast, is that it doesn't...

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