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

Senatorial Heresy

F ew things in contemporary American politics have been more certain than the Senate's support for free trade. While the critics and criticisms of global laissez-faire have been growing in number and the House's support for free trade has become increasingly iffy, the Senate has rolled merrily along, Republicans and Democrats alike ratifying whatever trade bill was up for a vote. Imagine, then, the stunned bewilderment on Capitol Hill, at the White House, and among K Street's cadre of corporate lobbyists on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 14. The Senate had just refused to kill the Dayton-Craig amendment to the bill restoring the president's authority to negotiate fast-track (that is, unamendable by Congress) trade treaties. The amendment, by Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton and Idaho Republican Larry Craig, struck at fast track's very heart. It gave the Senate the right to review, and reject, any language in a trade accord that weakened U.S. anti-dumping laws -- that is, statutes...

The Democrats and the Euro-Left

I n Europe, the year 1968 has always meant only half of what it's meant here in the United States. On both sides of the Atlantic, 1968 was the year of the great youth uprising, of the emergence of a distinct New Left. The protesters who took to the streets from Chicago to Paris weren't simply opposing the war in Vietnam but the Cold War liberalism of their nations' parties of the center-left. And their goal wasn't simply to repudiate Cold War policies but to confront the New Deal-cum-social democratic politics of those parties with a host of new concerns: civil rights, individual liberties, feminism, environmentalism, and what might be termed lifestyle liberalism. But in the United States, 1968 has long had a different and far darker significance, even aside from the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. It was also the year when the white backlash became a dominant force in American politics, when all the convulsions of the 1960s engendered a more-than-opposite...

Axis of Incompetence

I f the administration's foreign-policy apparat (minus the increasingly isolated Colin Powell) were placed under one roof -- Rice, Rumsfeld, and Reich; Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Bush -- what watchword would be inscribed over the door? No, not "Abandon all hope, ye who enter." There are any number of supplicants who should not abandon hope -- Latin American putschsters, China's Leninist social Darwinists, the Colombian paramilitary, Ariel Sharon, even al-Qaeda terrorists scrambling over mountaintops with no U.S soldiers around to impede them. If not Dante, then, the inscription could be provided by another immortal. Casey Stengel, whose term in purgatory managing the '62 Mets prompted the deathless line that fits the Bush gang to a tee, said, "Can't anybody here play this game?" Apparently not. In record time, the Bush administration's foreign policy has become a cosmic shambles -- its interventions increasingly ineffectual and counterproductive; its refusals to intervene only...

Karl Rove's Wedges

S ome doctrinaire conservatives are growing a bit cranky over the ideological impurities of George W. Bush. California Republicans rebelled when he promoted the candidacy of Richard Riordan -- Horrors! An electable moderate! -- for governor. Free-market ideologues blanched when he supported protections for the steel industry. "Steel tariffs are not just anti-market," grumped Sebastian Mallaby in The Washington Post. "They make no sense on their own terms." Actually, they make sense and then some. Karl Rove -- the man behind the curtain in all matters political at the Bush White House -- understands all too well that busting up the Democratic coalition and building an enduring conservative majority in the United States requires the administration to build any number of alliances with its ideological opposites. While the Democrats remain devoid of any strategic direction, Rove is busy developing a whole new series of wedge issues to pick them apart. Much was made during the 2000...

Enron's Enablers

O kay, let's take the Bush administration at its word, however mutable that word may be. Let's say only a handful of officials--the commerce and treasury secretaries, and (according to a subsequent clarification) several lesser officials at Treasury, and (oh, yes, we forgot) White House Chief of Staff Andy Card--knew about Ken Lay's phone calls imploring the administration to do something that would head off Enron's impending bankruptcy. Let's say that none of these presidential confidants thought to tell George W. Bush or Dick Cheney--or Karl Rove, for that matter--that the largest donor to the Bush family, the dominant corporation in W.'s hometown and home state, the seventh-largest company in the United States, was about to go belly-up and that Ken Lay was cold-calling half the federal registry looking for help. Let's further concede, if only for the sake of argument, that the Bushies played it by the book, that their collective sentiment was "We could help Enron, but that would be...

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