Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Coast To Coast

Midway through Virginia Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine's presentation–cum–slide show, a tour de force on education policy in the state where Democrat Kaine is running for governor in November's upcoming election, a slide like no other abruptly appears on the screen. It shows mestizo peasant children in a barren room clustering around some young Yanqui -- bearded, hair flowing in all directions, gaunt as a wraith. Kaine -- the very model of middle-class, middle-aged professional decorum -- beams at the crowd. “That's me,” he says. The crowd erupts in laughter. In his early 20s, Kaine took a year off from Harvard Law School to do missionary work in Honduras, where he ended up as principal of a vocational school. The image is meant both to underscore his religious convictions and his commitment to education, which is the centerpiece of his campaign to succeed Mark Warner, the popular Democratic governor who is term-limited out of office at year's end. Kaine has been stumping the...

The Return Of Jack Kempism

The president has spoken, and it's now clear that one of the things Hurricane Katrina washed up from the deep was Jack Kempism. Jack Kempism is the way the Republican Party has dealt with issues of race and poverty since the start of Ronald Reagan's presidency. By definition, the Republican Party since the start of the Reagan presidency doesn't want to deal with issues of race and poverty, so most of the time Jack Kempism is an ideology on the shelf. Its only fair-weather proponent has been Jack Kemp himself, who has long maintained a genuine concern for the African American poor. It has taken an outbreak of truly foul weather -- a hurricane, a failed response from a Republican-controlled government, a backlash against George W. Bush for his monumental insensitivity and incompetence -- for the Republicans to embrace Jack Kempism. But that's exactly what Bush did last night. Kemp, a onetime NFL quarterback, was elected to Congress in the early '70s and quickly became one of the...

One More Secession

UNITE-HERE has left the AFL-CIO, and what I want to know is whether the name of the union is being changed to UNITE-THERE. On Tuesday, the executive board of the 450,000-member union -- the product of a merger last year between UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) -- voted at a meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, to leave the federation. UNITE-HERE joins the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and the Teamsters in quitting the AFL-CIO -- defections that have now reduced the federation from 13 million members to 9 million. On September 27, those four unions, the Carpenters (which left the AFL-CIO four years ago), the Laborers, and the United Farm Workers, which are still federation members, will convene in St. Louis for a one-day founding convention of their own new federation, which has provisionally been called the...

Hasta La Vista, Popularity

SACRAMENTO -- The Arnold is on the stump again. California's embattled Gov. Schwarzenegger is careening around America's mega-state once more, a blur of Hummer fumes, cigar smoke and tanning-salon-run-amok orange glow, in a desperate attempt to save his floundering political career. The collapse of Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the marvels of current American politics. Unlike President Bush, he's not responsible for a war gone awry or a rescue effort that was totally botched. Which makes the governor's fall from grace all the more dramatic and, ultimately, inexplicable. As recently as February, a Field Poll showed that 56 percent of Californians were inclined to reelect the Governator for a second term in 2006, while just 42 percent were disinclined. Today those numbers have been flipped: In the new Field Poll, just 36 percent of Californians want to give Arnold a second term, while 56 percent don't. He trails the two announced Democratic candidates, who are almost as obscure as he...

The "Stuff Happens" Presidency

We're not number one. We're not even close. By which measures, precisely, do we lead the world? Caring for our countrymen? You jest. A first-class physical infrastructure? Tell that to New Orleans. Throwing so much money at the rich that we've got nothing left over to promote the general welfare? Now you're talking. The problem goes beyond the fact that we can't count on our government to be there for us in catastrophes. It's that a can't-do spirit, a shouldn't-do spirit, guides the men who run the nation. Consider the congressional testimony of Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's 2000 campaign manager, who assumed the top position at FEMA in 2001. He characterized the organization as "an oversized entitlement program," and counseled states and cities to rely instead on "faith-based organizations . . . like the Salvation Army and the Mennonite Disaster Service." Is it any surprise, then, that the administration's response to the devastation in New Orleans is of a piece with its response to...

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