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 New Swingers

ELYRIA, Ohio -- In theory, Dan Imbrogno shouldn't be a voter George W. Bush has to worry about. Imbrogno, a lifelong Republican, Ohioan, and business executive, looks like central casting's idea of the model Bush voter. Imbrogno is president and chief executive of Ohio Screw, a precision-parts manufacturer located in this working-class suburb of Cleveland. In newer and more upscale suburbs, office parks may dot the landscape, but in Elyria, small factories were plunked down in residential neighborhoods many decades ago, and, whether open or shuttered, there they remain. Ohio Screw is emphatically open, and if you had to have a factory next door, Imbrogno's is the one you'd ask for. The plant -- employing 75 workers, chiefly highly skilled machinists -- is in an attractive building on almost manicured grounds. It produces an array of distinctive metallic little thingies that Imbrogno places on the conference table for my inspection. Imbrogno calls my attention to one thingy in...

Where's Rumsfeld?

It was one of those summer days in D.C. when people were ducking into steam baths to cool off. My feet were propped up on my desk, and just as I noticed that my shoes had started to sweat, the phone rang. "How long has it been since you've heard a good 'My goodness'?" she asked in a voice that was all New York neo-con. "Months," I answered. "What's it to you?" "That's just it," she said. "Rumsfeld says 'My goodness' when he's good and steamed, or just every now and then. He's not said it in a while now. He's not really said anything. They've got to be shutting him up. Or worse," she added, and her voice started to tremble. "Calm down," I told her. "Rummy was in the Rose Garden on Monday when Bush said he'd back an intelligence czar." "That couldn't have been him," she said. "Rummy would never stand for that. He has his own boutique intelligence unit in the Pentagon, employing Leo Straussian analysis to find hidden truths." "Like the weapons of mass destruction," I replied. "Like the...

The Last Hurrah

Yesterday, in the middle of the Democratic national convention, came the news that Carmine De Sapio -- the last boss of the old Tammany Hall machine, the organization of the Manhattan Democratic Party that dominated New York politics from the 1860s through the 1950s, more or less -- had died at 95. De Sapio fell from power, and so did Tammany, when he lost his party district leader position in 1961 to a liberal attorney reformer named Ed Koch. De Sapio had represented the district around Little Italy, but Little Italy was nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village, and by the first year of John F. Kennedy's presidency, the number of new-guard lefties in Greenwich Village was sufficient to swamp the old-guard loyalists of the Tammany machine. Tammany's strength was to mobilize the immigrant vote -- at times, the Irish to the relative exclusion of the Italians and the Jews. At its high point, under the leadership of Charlie Murphy in the 1910s and '20s, it realized its hold on power...

Unified Populism

Ever since Ronald Reagan became president, the Democrats have had a challenge: They've needed to reinvent populism. Under Reagan, and now far more so under George W. Bush, the official policy of the U.S. government has been to throw money at the rich. When Reagan ruled, this policy was justified by the doctrine of trickle-down economics: The rich would invest their tax cuts in job-creating American enterprises. The theory sounded a lot better than the actual process worked, but at least there was a theory. Under the latter Bush, there's not even that. When the rich invest today, their money flows to enterprises that span the globe. Trickle-down economics is gone; what we have today is trickle-out economics. That's only one reason why a rising tide no longer lifts all boats. Throw in the decline of unions and what you get -- and what we have today -- is not a jobless recovery but a raise-less one. With wages stagnating, health care costs rising and college tuition soaring, this should...

Tearing Down the Walls

Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean may have fizzled, and Teresa Heinz Kerry cooed cerebrally, but the star of Tuesday night and the Democratic future was clearly Barack Obama. Listening to the speech from the press risers, I was reminded of the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic convention. Like Obama today, Mario Cuomo was the rising star of the moment; and also like Obama, Cuomo was (and most certainly viewed himself as) a breakthrough candidate for an ethnic group -- in his case, obviously, Italian-Americans. No multi-culti stuff for Mario and Barack, however; each depicted their moment as an expansion of a diverse but indivisible American democracy. Indeed, indivisibility was a key theme of the two keynotes, 20 years apart. Cuomo, speaking near the end of Ronald Reagan's first term, reminded the nation of its obligation to the poor -- chiefly the inner-city poor, who were the most glaring casualties of Reaganomics. Obama, speaking near the end of Bush's -- let us hope, only -- term,...

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