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

Crowd Control

NASHUA, N.H. -- He's got the experience, the Lincoln-like elongation, the Kennedy-esque turns of phrase, the environmental activists attesting to his record, and the guys from his gunboat attesting to his guts. But can John Kerry campaign? We'll know soon enough -- tonight, actually -- just how he impressed the citizens of New Hampshire. Another strong victory, coupled with last week's out-of-nowhere triumph in Iowa, will mean Kerry has a commanding lead on the Democratic field. But it will also mark something of a victory of John Kerry over John Kerry. For Kerry is not exactly a born campaigner. In this field, the campaigner with all the moves is John Edwards, who states his case as flawlessly and powerfully as he did to countless Carolina juries. Edwards held his penultimate rally Monday night at the Hudson Theater in downtown Manchester, and I had the good fortune to watch him from the balcony, to see him glide around the stage with the kind of ease and intensity that comes from...

Pulling Punches

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. -- The spin room of a desultory debate doesn't really offer much in the way of spin. The Democrats are frozen in the grip of niceness just now; the specter of the penitent Howard Dean (D-Vt.), reciting his record as governor in hopes of arresting his fall, has put them all on painfully good behavior. Thursday night's debate offered precious little red meat of any kind. Democrats refrained from attacking one another, a dynamic that surely helped front-runner Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Worse yet, because their questioners confronted them ad nauseum with one Republican attack after another -- so you raise taxes, senator, or waffle on the war, or mock your Catholic God (Brit Hume's question on abortion rights, posed not once but twice to retired Gen. and practicing Protestant Wesley Clark) -- the candidates had practically no opportunity to go after George W. Bush on the economy or any number of other real issues. Spin rooms are the province of restatements and...

People Person

NASHUA, N.H. -- Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) came here Wednesday afternoon speakin' and shoutin' populism. Well, not shoutin' exactly. More like enthusiastically declaimin'. "I'm running for president so you will have a president who's on your side," he said, "and who will take on the powerful interests that stand in your way." He named those interests: "the drug industry, big oil and HMOs." He brought up Enron and WorldCom, Tyco and Tyson, corporations that "take advantage of [the president's] creed of greed." He vowed to repeal last year's Medicare bill -- a bill that established "a benefit for prescription-drug companies" -- in favor of one that allows the state and federal governments to negotiate lower drug prices. He promised to repeal the ban on reimporting drugs from Canada. And Kerry was just warming to the occasion. He next took up "the fight to make our workplace fair." He pledged "to remove every single loophole, every single incentive, every single provision that rewards...

Second-class citizens

If you work for a living in George W. Bush's America, you're a sap. Take a quick look, or a long one, at the tax code as Bush has altered it during his three years as president, and you're compelled to conclude that work has become a distinctly inferior kind of income acquisition in the eyes of the law. Bush tax policy rewards investment and inheritance. Relying on work for your income, by contrast, turns you into a second-class citizen. In his first round of tax cuts in 2001, Bush got Congress to phase out the estate tax by 2010. Last year, with Republicans in control on Capitol Hill, he reduced the top tax rate on dividends from 39.6 percent to 15 percent, and brought the capital gains tax rate down from 20 percent to 15 percent as well. This year, his new budget proposes that families be allowed to shield as much as $30,000 yearly on their investment income, which will abolish all remaining taxes on such income. Meanwhile, the income tax cuts to most middle-class families don't...

Dean and the Duke

I've got this Howard Dean problem, and it's not that I think he's George McGovern. Actually, I think he's John Wayne. And not just any John Wayne, but the Duke in his greatest performances, in some of John Ford's later movies. I know -- it's bad enough to tell my fellow liberals that I still have reservations about Dean, but to say that John Wayne was capable of great performances immediately subjects all my judgment and, perhaps, eyesight, to pitiless scrutiny. Nevertheless. I have in mind the Wayne characters in "The Searchers" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." In these movies, Wayne plays historically transitional figures -- the ultimate tough guy who defeats the forces of darkness and disorder, in no small part by becoming, or just being, very like them himself, but for whom the forces of light then have no further use. In "The Searchers," he spends five years hunting down a Comanche tribe, and when he finds it, he scalps the chief. The conclusion of "The Searchers" sees...

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