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

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...

Dems in the Dumps

W e have been here before. In the wake of yet another of their periodic election debacles, the Democrats are deflated and dispirited, bothered and bewildered. Bewildered, I think, more than anything else. After all, this is not 1980, the year of the Reagan ascendancy. The American electorate is not clamoring for less government. Indeed, the public's domestic concerns are precisely those issues that congressional Democrats should have won on: better schools, more affordable and comprehensive health coverage, economic security. Yet these are the issues on which Republicans successfully masked their differences with the Democrats. Bewildered, too, because the Bush administration methodically used the terrorist threat to re-create the political advantage the Republicans enjoyed during the Cold War. Its strategy was to push beyond the real questions of homeland security, on which a bipartisan consensus plainly exists, to causes that may not affect homeland security at all -- indeed, that...

Debacle

It is the first sign of trouble in a play about nothing but trouble. Asked by her father in the play's first scene what she can say to demonstrate her love for him, Cordelia says, "Nothing." To which Lear responds, "Nothing will come of nothing." Which is a pretty fair summation of the Democrats' 2002 campaign. They had no message. They were an opposition party that drew no lines of opposition. They had nothing to say. And on Tuesday, their base responded by staying home in droves. Nothing came of nothing. The Democrats lost the Senate, lost seats in the House, and picked up significantly fewer statehouses than they had counted upon. On what should have been the Democrats' defining issues, they endeavored to be indistinct. They could never bring themselves to oppose Bush's tax cut, his trillion-dollar handout to the rich, though that made it impossible for them to advocate any significant programs of their own. Nor could they bring themselves to oppose the White House's headlong...

The Rising Latino Tide

I. I Can Help McBride! "When I go door-to-door, and they open it up, they don't really listen to me," says Patrick Vilar, a fresh-faced young Democrat who is seeking election to the Florida House of Representatives this November in a district that, the conventional wisdom says, is Cuban, Republican and, for a Democrat, a fool's errand. "They read down the piece until they come to the line, 'Colombian Bar Association,'" he says. "That stops them. They look up and say, 'You're Colombian?' Then we start speaking in Spanish. It's a match." Vilar is encountering many such matches as election day draws near because his district, like the rest of Florida, is changing into something no one anticipated just a few years ago. "This is a misleadingly Republican district," says Vilar. "I know, it's 45 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 25 percent independent -- that's more independents than any district in the state. What people don't know" -- and he winks at me as if he's sharing some...

Liberalism's Heart

"Of my three campaigns, this one has generated the most emotion, the most volunteers," Paul Wellstone told me on an unseasonably cool and beautiful afternoon in late August as his legendary green campaign bus bounced along down some Minnesota byway. "My supporters think there's just so much at stake, so much to lose." His supporters were audible at almost every turn in the road. Everybody in Minnesota knew Wellstone; everybody knew his bus, and as they saw it coming they would honk and wave, or, if dedicated Wellstone haters, honk and give the finger. Although, as Wellstone would marvel later that day, he no longer seemed to inspire the intense dislike you'd expect a figure who took so many unpopular stances to generate. After debating his Republican opponent, former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, at a game fair (for hunters and their dogs), where at least a third of the booths had guns for sale, he came away pleased and surprised: "I would have expected more hostility," he told me. "It...

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