Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

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...

The Backward March Of Wisdom

What I want to know is, who walked the Earth first: the dinosaurs or Strom Thurmond? It seems that the advocates of fast-forward "intelligent design" -- the folks who, by totaling up the biblical begats, believe that the universe was created in 4004 B.C. -- are erecting mini-theme-parks that feature secondhand dinosaur sculptures they've acquired in their scavengings. By putting such Tyrannosaurus Wrecks on display, they mean to prove to the public that people and dinosaurs once roamed the world together, just as their biblical time-clock and that old Raquel Welch movie clearly demonstrated. Silly stuff, certainly, but at the rate we're going, it may make it into the 2008 or 2012 Republican platform. Now that the president has endorsed intelligent design, the social conservatives and religious zealots who constitute an ever larger and louder wing of the Republican base have been emboldened in their crusades for fundamentalist values and against any science whose findings and methods...

Globalism for the Rest of Us

A mere 157 years and six months after two European political philosophers concluded a pamphlet with the words “Workers of the world, unite,” it may actually be beginning to happen. Last Thursday, August 25, a number of unions from around the world came to Chicago to announce that they are forming a new alliance that will fund and coordinate the organizing campaigns of janitors and security guards in (initially) India, Poland, Holland, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. As recently as two years ago, it was unlikely that any labor-force futurologist would have predicted that the first de facto global union would consist of the people who guard and clean office buildings and factories. But in the past couple of years, cleaning and security contractors from all over the planet have been purchased by a handful of chiefly European-based multinationals. The two largest -- Securitas, based in Sweden, and Group 4 Securicor, a British-Danish amalgam -- employ 600,000 workers between...

What Have We Wrought?

It looks increasingly as if President Bush may have been off by 74 years in his assessment of Iraq. By deposing the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, Bush assumed he would bring Iraq to its 1787 moment -- the crafting of a democratic constitution, the birth of a unified republic. Instead, he seems to have brought Iraq to the brink of its own 1861 -- the moment of national dissolution. No, I don't mean that Iraq is on the verge of all-out civil war, though that's a possibility that can't be dismissed. But the nation does appear on the verge of a catastrophic failure to cohere. The more the National Assembly deliberates on the fundamentals of a new order, the larger the differences that divide the nation's three subgroups appear to be. It's not the small stuff that they're sweating in Baghdad. They can't agree on whether the new Iraq should be a federation, with a largely autonomous Shiite south and Kurdish north, or a more unified state, which the Sunnis prefer. They can't agree on just...

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