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

Unkindest Cut

The Arnold has landed. Over the past two weeks, California's new chief executive has made abundantly apparent the kind of governor he means to be. During his abbreviated gubernatorial campaign in late summer, Arnold Schwarzenegger ran as something of a Rorschach test. Voters could choose from among a number of Arnolds: the enviro, the tightwad, the Kennedy-by-marriage, the Friedmanite-by-inclination, the compassionate centrist. By scrupulously avoiding print journalists and limiting his debate appearances to a measly one, Schwarzenegger never had to clarify exactly which Arnold would be calling the shots in the statehouse. Now we know. It's Conan the Barbarian, in one of his less reflective moods. Schwarzenegger's plan for dealing with the state's budget crisis is to put before the voters in next year's March primary a $15 billion bond measure to cover the shortfall in this year's budget. But not the entire shortfall. Rather than float a $17 billion bond or a $19 billion bond, he's...

Buckeye Bull's-eye

The Democrats' scenario for picking up the White House next year looks increasingly like drawing to an inside straight. That doesn't mean they won't be able to do it. A number of states could fill their hand. But with the continuing rightward gallop of the South, the Democrats are going to have to perform near-perfectly in the swing states of the Midwest. Like Richard Nixon before him, George W. Bush has waged a war in a way that has polarized the American people -- infuriating Democrats while strengthening his support among conservatives. But as a recent mega-survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press makes clear, the American people were drifting apart -- and the South was going south for the Dems -- even before Bush used his war as a wedge. The survey documents a widening rift between the political beliefs of Democrats and Republicans, as well as a post-Sept. 11 shift in party registration toward Republicans and independents. The gap between the political...

Judging Terry

Terry McAuliffe doesn't know how to shut it off. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), says Democratic strategist Harold Ickes, "is a great salesman; he has this infectious optimism." Even in the face of abjectly awful election outcomes, McAuliffe hasn't been able to tone down that optimism. Nuance seems beyond him. On election night 2002, as all available intelligence pointed to a Democratic debacle, McAuliffe nonetheless told Larry King, "I think it's going to be a very good night for the Democrats." And when the chairman sits down with me two nights after this November's election, in which the Democrats lost the governorships of Mississippi and Kentucky, he remains true to form. He has just flown in from Florida, where he'd spoken to his usual audience -- Democratic high rollers -- and he seems to still be flying. Plopping himself on a couch, he immediately launches into a high-voltage, somewhat hyperbolic account of his tenure at the DNC. "Look, we'd love to...

Sotto Voce

If defeat is an orphan, the U.S. occupation of Iraq, for which the Senate appropriated $87 billion by a voice vote on Monday, should already go down in the loss column. By rejecting the normal option of a recorded vote, America's senators decided that they did not want to be held individually accountable for our continuing presence in Iraq. That decision speaks far louder than their decision to actually fund our forces there and the Iraqi reconstruction. What a difference a year makes! In the fall of 2002, the administration was positively gleeful about forcing Congress to go on record to authorize the coming war, and Democrats from swing states or districts knew they voted no at their own peril. This week no such pressure was forthcoming. Those Republicans who live by the wedge issue understand when they could die by it, too. There was simply no percentage in compelling members to vote yes on a floundering occupation that could easily grow far worse. It's instructive, though, that...

Benedict Arnold

Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Washington today, and the difference between the two coasts, he'll find, is a good deal greater than that between fire and rain. In California, the governor-elect is hailed as the Republicans' Great White (or, through the miracle of modern tanning, Orange) Hope. The first Republican gubernatorial candidate to proclaim himself pro-choice, anti-assault weapon and anti-homophobic, Schwarzenegger exhibited a crossover appeal that the GOP hadn't seen since Ronald Reagan invented the Reagan Democrats. Schwarzenegger won the support of one-third of the union members who voted, nearly a third of the Latinos, a fifth of Democrats and liberals, and even 17 percent of those voters who disapproved of George W. Bush's performance as president. With what looks to be a close presidential election approaching, Schwarzenegger's brand of moderation would seem to have a lot to commend it. Imagine his discombobulation, then, to find himself in the capital city, where his party...

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