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

A Reckless Rush to War

T he suspicion will not die that the Bush administration turned to Iraq for relief from a sharp decline in its domestic political prospects. The news had been dominated for months by corporate scandals and the fall of the stock market, and the November elections were shaping up as a referendum on the Republicans' handling of domestic social and economic issues. Investigative reporters had turned their attention to Dick Cheney's role at Halliburton and George W. Bush's sale of his Harken Energy shares just before the stock collapsed. Then, like magic, these questions disappeared from the headlines as the administration refocused the nation's attention on war with Iraq. No new information about Saddam Hussein's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and no actions taken by Iraq seem to have precipitated this shift. The Iraqi regime has not changed since early in the Bush administration, when its great priority was building a missile defense shield, nor even since the 2000 election, when...

Politics with People, Reinvented

Senator Paul Wellstone, who died today along with his wife Sheila, his daughter Marcia and five others in a plane crash in Minnesota, was perhaps more than any other individual the very heart of American liberalism. His death leaves a gaping hole in our politics -- liberal politics, American politics -- that will be very hard to fill, and a gaping hole in our hearts that will not be filled at all. In August, Prospect editor-at-large Harold Meyerson went to Minnesota to profile Wellstone and his campaign. Here is what he wrote: I. The Back of the Bus When Paul Wellstone decided last year that he would seek re-election to the U.S. Senate after all, much of his old operation was in mothballs. The volunteers had long since stood down. The legendary big green bus that had carried him all around Minnesota was in some museum way up in Hibbing, where Bob Dylan grew up and where notable buses, apparently, go to die. The bus had been the symbol of Wellstone's first campaign, his 1990 shoestring...

The Democrats and Iraq

A s war with Iraq looms bewilderingly larger this summer, it would be an overstatement to say that there's now a Peace Camp (or more precisely, an Anti-Invasion-Now Camp) in Washington. There sure as hell is a Privately Held Doubts Camp, however. People worry about the costs -- in lives, money and reputation -- that such a war would inflict on America; some even worry about the number of Iraqi casualties we would inflict. They worry about what would become of Iraq if we shuffle Saddam Hussein off this mortal coil; they worry that the administration doesn't even know what should happen if we do. They worry that the war would inflame an already enraged Arab and Muslim world; they worry that the war would drive a deeper rift between us and Europe; they worry that the administration really doesn't care if we estrange the rest of the world. Some congressional heavyweights have begun to audibly express such concerns. Key Republicans -- such as Dick Armey, Chuck Hagel and Henry Hyde -- have...

Shifting to Offense

E pochs do not change on a dime. Yes, the era of market extremism is waning, Republicans' ratings are plummeting, and, the polls agree, more of us believe that Elvis is hiding in the hills with the Shining Path than still have faith in American big business. But none of this means that the liberal era, or hour, is upon us. The liberal moment, perhaps. The all-but-unanimous congressional enactment of Paul Sarbanes' financial-reform bill was such a moment -- and how long has it been since American liberalism had one of those? But just one week later, the same discredited corporations that the Sarbanes bill took aim at still had enough clout to get a renewal of the president's fast-track authority through the very same Congress. Welcome to politics in a time of interregnum. Everything has changed and nothing has. The corporate and financial sectors, as they periodically do, have blown themselves up but, through the logic of capitalism and through simple inertia, they retain vast power...

All-Capitalist Class War

W here in the annals of class conflict do we put the current tiff between America's investors and its CEOs? Up until a few weeks ago, this would have been considered a question not worthy of an answer. Both groups bobbed on the same tide. They felt the same exultation when their stock rose, the same apprehension when it fell. Magically, American capitalism had eliminated class conflict. Whether through their own initiative or their 401(k) plans, roughly half our compatriots were into the market, and all but the dimmest workers knew that wages were a sideshow, that portfolio value was the real stuff. As the bubble economy steadily inflated, the successful CEO not only eclipsed the leading figures in government, but government itself: D.C. dithered, CEOs delivered. Today the cult of the CEO has disbanded, but even so, the occasional criminality of the wayward CEO would not in itself have pushed investors to revolt. It took the stock option brouhaha to expose this fault line in...

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