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

Hard Sell

Save for the continuing search for its justification, the war in Iraq is over. For the United States, if not yet for Iraq, the consequences are clear. We have established yet again the utter supremacy of our hard power. Unfriendly governments tremble anew at our armed might and our willingness to use it. Some, to be sure, are hard at work building their atomic arsenals, and the last thing we need is a trembling adversary with a nuclear trigger. Still, if the challenge before us is military, our government is justly confident we can deter or defeat it. But when it comes to our soft power -- our ability to persuade nations to work with us, to inspire their people to admire us and our social arrangements and ideals -- we have all but unilaterally disarmed. At least so long as George W. Bush is president. Consider some new polling by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which measured public opinion in 44 nations during the summer and fall of 2002 and took...

Inconvenient Facts

There are no stubborn facts in the Bush White House, just stubborn men. This is an administration that will not be cowed by the truth. After all, it's not as if the president's baseless assertion in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to acquire "yellowcake" uranium from Niger was the last we heard of this claim. To be sure, Colin Powell consciously excised it from the bill of indictment he delivered to the UN Security Council in early February. (It had been included in the first draft of his speech, which was prepared, according to U.S. News and World Report , by the National Security Council and Vice President Cheney's office.) But it popped up again as late as March 16, when Cheney himself appeared on Meet The Press to make one more case for going to war. By then, the International Atomic Energy Agency had publicly reported that the documents purportedly recording the Iraq-Niger transaction were forgeries -- a conclusion, we now know, that the CIA and the State...

Compromising Position

If the House and Senate conferees assembling this week to negotiate a prescription drug benefit and Medicare reform bill do in fact come up with a final product, the only thing certain is that they will have built a house divided against itself. The bills that the House and Senate have sent to the conference committee would legislate two irreconcilable visions of health insurance and the roles of the state and the market. House Republicans, who passed their bill on almost a straight party-line vote, authorized tax subsidies to seniors who choose to opt out of Medicare to join HMOs. Those seniors whom the HMOs don't want -- the sicker ones, with chronic conditions -- will be left behind in Medicare, which will perforce become a more rickety, less sustainable program unable to compete with the private insurers. The Democrats, by contrast, want to expand Medicare's reach by having it pay for seniors' prescription drugs. In the Senate, led by liberal warhorse Edward Kennedy, most of them...

Phobe Home

Antonin Scalia is raging against the coming of the light. Scalia's dissent from last week's epochal Supreme Court decision striking down Texas' anti-sodomy statute confirms Ayatollah Antonin's standing as the intellectual leader of the forces arrayed against equality and modernity in the United States. In establishing the deep historical roots of anti-gay sentiment in America, for instance, Scalia took pains to note the 20 prosecutions and four executions for consensual gay sex conducted in colonial times. He noted, approvingly, that even today, "many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children's schools or as boarders in their home." Actually, back in 1978, a California electorate far more conservative than today's massively repudiated an initiative seeking to ban gays from teaching school, but this inconvenient fact -- and other evidence of a massive shift in...

Janitorial Justice

Americans may have divided over the war in Iraq this spring, but one thing that brought them together was their health coverage. It was shrinking. From state to state and sector to sector, job-based health insurance either covered less or cost more or -- the insurance companies were loath to force a choice on us -- both. One group managed to evade this bonding national experience, however: the janitors who clean the high-rise office buildings in America's downtowns. I know this sounds preposterous. Many janitors are immigrants, and many are here without legal status. They have no apparent power. Many don't speak English. So how is it that this spring, while the two-thirds of Americans who have health coverage were being told they would have to pay more to keep it, the janitors were getting their coverage upgraded? If this runs counter to everything you know about power in America, you probably have forgotten about unions. At minimum, you have forgotten about unions that organize so...

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