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

Retreating from Reform

Marie Gonzalez sounds a bit like your classic Valley girl, punctuating her sentences with the obligatory "for sures" and "you knows." And, for sure, the 18-year-old, who graduated this spring from Helias High School in Jefferson City, Mo., seems in every way your normal American young woman -- on the tennis and track teams in high school, very involved with her parish, looking forward to college this fall. Well, conditionally looking forward to college. For Marie, who seems to have stepped out of a 21st-century update of a Norman Rockwell tableau, has a problem: The government wants to deport her to Costa Rica. And Marie, whose parents brought her to the States when she was 5, faces the abrupt prospect of losing everything she has in all good faith worked for. She can be forgiven for having thought she was leading a normal life. Her father, after all, worked as a courier in the office of the governor of Missouri. Her mother was a grade-school Spanish teacher. Her parents' initial...

Climbing the Hill

So, what, if anything, could a president Kerry get through Congress? It's beyond question that a President Kerry would inherit a Congress that, for the past half-decade, has been spiraling into an ever deeper dysfunctionality. During the past two years, under the control of the Bush administration and the leadership of Republicans Tom DeLay in the House and Bill Frist in the Senate, many of the hallmarks of legislative democracy -- the right to bring bills to the floor, offer amendments, and iron out differences in conference committees -- have been suspended. This has happened mainly because the Republican leadership is a bunch of thugs, but also because on a number of key issues, the Democratic position already commands majority support, which George W. Bush and Co. have managed to thwart only through the abuse of their power. Unless the forthcoming election holds more surprises than anyone has yet imagined -- such as a total Democratic landslide or the toppling of the GOP's...

True Values

The Senate Republicans still can't pass a budget, and the 26 judicial nominees on whom both parties have signed off remain unconfirmed. But as the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and in the White House see it, the chief duty of Congress is to frighten the religious right to the polls in November. And so we have the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, which the Senate is to vote on today. It won't pass or come anywhere close. Like all constitutional amendments, the measure requires a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress. The Senate, as all its members know full well, is no more likely to come up with 67 votes for this bit of campaign-year demagoguery than it is to enact workers' and peasants' soviets. It's not just liberals but also centrists and conservatives (Lynne Cheney among them) who oppose placing a ban on gay marriage and possibly civil unions in the Constitution. But then, the amendment is being offered today simply because it will help the scare...

A Dangerous American

Quite instructively, something that should have happened didn't happen in the nation's capital over the past few days. None of our nation's leaders -- of any political tendency, so far as I could see -- paid any notice to Marlon Brando's death, or life. And, at first glance, of course they didn't. Wasn't there something too weird and threatening about the guy, things too bohemian, unresolved, and even absurd about his life? What kind of national icon was Marlon Brando anyway? And yet, he was surely the great American actor of the 20th century, in a nation where movies have played a central role in defining us to ourselves and others. The British knighted John Gielgud and put Laurence Olivier into the House of Lords for taking their theater to new heights, but neither Sir John nor Lord Larry transformed acting -- indeed, our whole dramatic representation of reality -- as Brando did, nor did they achieve anywhere near his iconic status. They did not change their country as Brando...

The Party Says Edwards

The most remarkable thing about John Kerry's selection of John Edwards as his running mate is that Kerry was actually responding to the wishes of his party. Across the nation over the past several months, there was a groundswell of support among Democrats for adding Edwards to the ticket -- a groundswell unprompted by any organization or distinct constituency within the party. And this was something new under the sun. Vice-presidential options don't engender groundswells. I cannot think of a single instance in 20th-century American politics -- certainly not since the first election of Franklin Roosevelt -- when ordinary members of one of the two major parties coalesced around a vice-presidential pick before the presidential candidate did. Specific elites, to be sure, have had their preferences. In 1944, the Democratic Party bosses in major cities came together to urge Roosevelt to dump incumbent Vice-President Henry Wallace in favor of Harry Truman. But coming together to oppose an...

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