Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the editor-at-large at The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org

Recent Articles

The Most Dangerous President Ever

I miss Ronald Reagan. I know, I know: Reagan was our first president to proclaim government the problem, to cut taxes massively on the rich, to deliberately create a deficit so immense that the government's impoverishment did indeed become a problem. He waged a war of dubious merit and clear illegality in Central America; he pandered to the most bigoted elements in American society. The United States would be a far better place had he not been elected. But politics deals in comparatives, not absolutes. And when I compare Reagan with his ideological heir currently occupying the White House, I'll take the Gipper, hands down. George W. Bush is much the meaner president (and man). He is far more factional than Reagan was. And he is incomparably more dangerous than Reagan or any other president in this nation's history. Forces that first assembled and ideas that first appeared during Reagan's presidency have now had two decades to develop -- to grow more powerful and more marginal...

"One Guy in a Bubble"

"I have no outside advice" in the war on terrorism, President Bush told Bob Woodward in December of 2001. In an interview that Woodward revealed to Nicholas Lemann in last week's issue of the New Yorker , Bush insisted that, "Anybody who says they're an outside adviser of this Administration on this particular matter is not telling the truth. First of all, in the initial phase of the war, I never left the compound. Nor did anybody come in the compound. I was, you talk about one guy in a bubble." Indeed. By every available indication, George W. Bush's is the most inside-the-bubble presidency in modern American history. It's not just that his campaign operatives exclude all but the true believers from his rallies, or that Bush, by the evidence of his debate performances, has grown utterly unaccustomed to criticism. With each passing day, we learn that once Bush has decided on a course of action, he will not be swayed by mere intelligence estimates, military appraisals or facts on the...

Labels That Don't Stick

Going into last night's climactic debate, President Bush switched his line of attack against John Kerry. Gone from Bush's stump speech was the charge that Kerry is a flip-flopper. Now he's a liberal -- and not just any liberal, but the most liberal senator of them all. This shift was prompted by a chorus of conservative consiglieri -- most prominently Newt Gingrich. The Newtster, you'll recall, is the master strategist who forced the government to shut down during the 1995 Christmas season to dramatize Bill Clinton's commitment to liberalism. Gingrich's ploy probably contributed more to Clinton's reelection the following year than anything Clinton himself did. Now Gingrich is back, counseling Karl Rove that the liberal label is even more damaging to Kerry than that of a guy in strange and costly swim trunks going whichever way the wind blows. There's just one problem with this new line of attack: John Kerry may be the most die-hard of liberals or a charter member of the Flip-Flop Hall...

The Education President

Well, they done sent George W. Bush to Demeanor Re-education Camp. He don't scowl no more. Don't shout, neither. Not scowly, not shouty, ol' W. was powerful better in the third debate than in those first two. By the second half, as he was movin' away from the 98th recitation of the 98 times John Kerry had raised taxes, he was actually able to fill the full two minutes without resortin' too much to repetition. They taught W. the secret: Change the subject to something you can talk about and just talk about that. No matter what that Bob Schieffer feller asked, W. just plowed ahead. For a while, he answered questions by talking about his plans for education. Schieffer asked him about what to do with fellers and gals who'd been laid off 'cause their jobs went to China, and Bush talked about sending 'em back to school -- to junior colleges, where they could learn about computer-aided roofin', or maybe hi-tech plasterin'. Schieffer asked him about the minimum wage, and W. said something...

Reality Check

Now we know that the president disagrees with the Dred Scott decision and is not likely to reappoint its author, Chief Justice Roger Taney (1777-1864) to the United States Supreme Court. This comes as a relief. After all, several of George W. Bush's favorite justices have been elevating the doctrine of states' rights over those of the individual and the federal government during the past decade. If his term runs long enough, Clarence Thomas can reasonably be expected one day to declare that under a proper originalist reading of the Constitution, he should be enslaved. Bush's break with Taney in Friday night's debate, then, is good news for abolitionists. It's on more contemporary topics that Bush's answers Friday night were troubling. In numerous answers, Bush either failed to respond to John Kerry's indictment of his presidency or turned his attention to his own alleged resolve and Kerry's alleged inconsistencies and creeping Europhilia. “In order to be popular in the halls of Europe...

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