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

Historical Present

I. THE LOGIC OF MOBILIZATION. "Events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision," the president said in beginning his Monday night de facto declaration of war. The only decision that mattered, however -- that of going to war -- was being made nowhere near Iraq but right in the White House. That is, of course, the logic of preemptive war. Except it was strikingly clear from the president's own speech that the war is anything but preemptive. Preemption presupposes an imminent threat, and if Iraq actually posed an imminent threat, our government would not be giving Saddam Hussein & Sons a 48-hour advance notice that we were about to attack them. This is, rather, a preventive war, in which the threat from Iraq is something we must gauge in advance. And one of the problems with this war is that while the United Nations' monitors have not been granted much access to do their gauging, the United States' decision-makers haven't really been much interested in impartial gauging in...

Clash of Civilizations

I. Bush v. World George W. Bush may believe he has the mandate of heaven for what, as I write, is still the looming war in Iraq, but he's not doing very well on earth. Indeed, he's all but unified the planet in opposition to the notion of a U.S.-led preemptive war. Governments that support the war do so at their own risk. In Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair is in danger of losing the support of his own party. In Spain, the Popular Party of Prime Minister José María Aznar has fallen behind the opposition Socialists for the first time in seven years. In Eastern Europe -- a particularly pro-American part of the world where most governments back the U.S. position on Iraq -- huge majorities nonetheless reject the war: 75 percent of Poles, 82 percent of Hungarians, 76 percent of Czechs. These numbers directly reflect the failure of the administration to convince the world that Iraq poses the kind of imminent threat that justifies a preventive war. But plainly they also reflect a more...

The Tough Dove's Moment

It is Saturday morning, Jan. 18, and in Washington and San Francisco, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have gathered to protest the president's pending war. In Des Moines, Iowa, hundreds of Democrats are turning out, too -- both to oppose that war, it seems, and begin the process of unseating that president. Almost a year to the day before Iowa's caucuses will start to winnow out the Democratic presidential field, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has come to Des Moines to kick off his campaign. His staff has scheduled his first public event at a downtown restaurant that holds about 200 people, so to meet Kerry, the more than 600 Iowa Democrats who show up must take the stairs from the restaurant to a larger performance space several stories up. Three out of the six announced Democratic hopefuls are working the state this weekend; the other two are Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), the congressman from down river who won the Iowa caucuses during his 1988 presidential bid, and former Gov...

Post-Gore Democrats

G ore is gone, and the race for the Democratic nomination in 2004 is so wide open, says one Democratic pollster, "The plausibility of why-not-me? candidacies has just exploded." This isn't 1992, when Mario Cuomo's decision not to run failed to prompt any prominent national Democrats who'd been holding back to hop into the race. Running against Bush 43, apparently, is not the deterrent that running against Bush 41 once was. Gephardt, Lieberman, Kerry, Edwards, Dean -- and perhaps Daschle, Dodd and such wild cards as Biden, Hart, Sharpton and Clark -- this is the Democrats' A-list. Truth be told, though, it isn't much of an A-list. In particular, it has only one (former) governor, Howard Dean. It's too early to speak with any confidence about the fate of individual candidacies but not too early to speak about what Democratic voters are looking for. They want a candidate with serious national-security bona fides, a sober and aggressive approach to deterring terrorism. They want a...

The Cult of Karl

S o who you gonna believe, Bob Woodward or Ron Suskind? In Bush at War , Woodward's new behind-the-scenes account of the White House in wartime, mighty battles are waged between the Powellites and the Cheneyistas over the fundamentals of foreign policy. Multilateralists duke it out with unilateralists, leaving the president to choose between, or meld, two distinctly opposed viewpoints of America's proper role in the world. In "Why Are These Men Laughing?", Suskind's January Esquire article on how Karl Rove became master of the universe, readers encounter quite a different White House. Here, on the domestic-policy side of the ledger, there are no policy debates or discussions. There isn't even a domestic-policy operation as such. All there is is politics. All there is is Rove. Suskind's article also features something virtually unknown in Woodward's world: an identifiable, on-the-record source. John DiIulio, the University of Pennsylvania professor and social-policy maven who ran the...

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