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

Unsung Heroine

Behind every successful man, the old saying used to go, stands a supportive woman. No one has come up with an adage identifying who, exactly, stands behind a successful woman, so let me make a modest suggestion: Millie Jeffrey. Mildred McWilliams Jeffrey, who died last week at a Detroit nursing home at age 93, was -- among many other things -- the great, behind-the-scenes strategist of modern American feminism. In the early '70s, during her final years on the staff of the United Auto Workers, she helped found the National Women's Political Caucus and launched a decade-long campaign to have Democratic National Convention delegate slots divided equally between men and women. As Millie saw it, equal division wasn't just, or even primarily, an end in itself, recalls Joan McClain, a politics professor at Ohio Wesleyan, who made a documentary film on Jeffrey's life. "If the convention was divided 50-50," McClain recalls Jeffrey arguing, "that would percolate down to having more experienced...

Incurious George

The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, The White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill By Ron Suskind, Simon & Schuster, 348 pages, $26.00 George W. Bush has had a cold winter, and it's not chiefly the Democrats' doing. The weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- and with them the raison d'être for Bush's war -- proved to be fictitious. Worse yet, it began to dawn on the American people that their president had nothing new to offer them to fix the economy. The emperor-has-no-clothes moment for this administration came, I'd argue, this January during Bush's State of the Union address, which revealed to all the world a president plainly disconnected from the concerns of his people and flat out of ideas to address the nation's problems. By the evidence of all polling, the policies for which he took credit -- chiefly, a Medicare "reform" that helped drug companies and tax cuts for the rich -- don't resonate with the public. Nor did he trot out any proposals to allay the public's...

Professional Revolt

Just a few minutes after 8 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, with the bombs still falling on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Fleet intelligence officer Lt. Cmdr. Edwin Layton, who'd been predicting a Japanese attack for that very weekend, was scurrying through fleet headquarters when two of his superiors stopped him. "Here is the young man we should have listened to," said Capt. Willard Kitts, the fleet gunnery officer. "If it's any satisfaction to you," added Capt. Charles "Soc" McMorris, the fleet war plans officer, "you were right and we were wrong." You can read any number of accounts of our latter Day of Infamy, Sept. 11, 2001, without coming across any equivalent verbal acknowledgments addressed to Richard Clarke, the chief of counterterrorism in the Clinton and second Bush administrations, who'd been predicting a major al Qaeda attack on the United States to the point that some colleagues thought him obsessed. But, then, an assault from al Qaeda did not fit into the Bush administration's view of the...

China's Workers

Until last week, U.S. trade law belonged to big business. Corporations routinely petitioned our government to threaten other countries with sanctions if their products were being knocked off or undersold by foreign manufacturers with state subsidies, and our government frequently complied. The solicitude the Bush White House and its predecessors showed for shareholders, however, was nowhere in evidence for workers. Profits depressed by unfair trade practices were an official object of concern; wages and employment levels depressed by unfair trade practices were none of the government's business. This double standard was the heart of modern trade policy. Last week, that began to change. For the first time ever, the AFL-CIO filed the kind of unfair-trade petition that corporations commonly file, alleging that China's repression of workers' rights has displaced at minimum 727,000 U.S. jobs, and calling on the president to threaten China with tariffs until it stops artificially lowering...

Numbers Game

St. Louis, Mo. -- On an arctic Friday afternoon, the Democrats' secret weapons in the 2004 election come in out of the cold. Eight canvassers for the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition -- Pro-Vote, for short -- return to their office with another 160 or so newly signed voter-registration forms, after a day spent gathering signatures on buses and in public-health clinics in St. Louis' African American neighborhoods. Over the preceding two weeks, the Pro-Vote canvassers have been sending in 950 new registrations a week to the St. Louis registrar. Over the preceding several months, in tandem with the Missouri Partnership for America's Families, they've registered 45,000 new black voters in St. Louis and Kansas City. George W. Bush carried Missouri over Al Gore by a scant 78,695 votes (out of 2.34 million cast) in the 2000 presidential election, and it is clearly a key swing state in this year's contest. These are Steve Rosenthal's legions. He is the central figure in several "527s" --...

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