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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

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...

Battle Shy?

In the spirit of Bertolt Brecht's maxim that an unpopular government would do well to elect a new people, Wesley Clark and Joe Lieberman have opted to bypass the Iowa primary. In Lieberman's case, this is probably a misdiagnosis: The Connecticut senator's problems may be less with Iowans than with Democrats, many of whom remain unswayed by the one candidate in the Democratic field whom they view as Bush-lite. Clark's retreat is another matter altogether; his problem is not that he's lite, but late. The universe of the Iowa caucuses is a finite one, and by the time Clark got to Iowa, most of the players had already chosen sides. One Clark adviser compared the campaign's decision to go straight to New Hampshire with the Allied strategy of island-hopping in World War II -- electing to fight only on the most advantageous or unavoidable battlegrounds. Island-hopping, or Iowa-hopping, is one thing, however. Issue-hopping is quite something else. For a few days last week, Clark took the...

News Break

Ever worry that millions of your fellow Americans are walking around knowing things that you don't? That your prospects for advancement may depend on your mastery of such arcana as who won the Iraqi war or where exactly Europe is? Then don't watch Fox News. The more you watch, the more you'll get things wrong. Researchers from the Program on International Policy Attitudes (a joint project of several academic centers, some of them based at the University of Maryland) and Knowledge Networks, a California-based polling firm, have spent the better part of the year tracking the public's misperceptions of major news events and polling people to find out just where they go to get things so balled up. This month they released their findings, which go a long way toward explaining why there's so little common ground in American politics today: People are proceeding from radically different sets of facts, some so different that they're altogether fiction. In a series of polls from May through...

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