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

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...

The Analogist

W ith the midterm elections now less than a month away, the Democrats have been split into two camps on the issue of war and peace. The most dramatic split, surely, is the one between the House of Gephardt and the House of Gore. The rift is more glaring because, at least at first glance, each leader has had to reverse his stance on the Persian Gulf War to arrive at his present position. In endorsing a microscopically watered-down version of Bush Junior's original resolution, Dick Gephardt has said just that: He now believes his vote opposing the 1991 resolution authorizing Poppy Bush to go to war was a mistake. Al Gore, on the other hand, was one of just 10 Democratic senators who voted to authorize the Gulf War, and he reaffirmed that position while breaking with Bush during an address to the Commonwealth Club on Sept. 23. His critics allege that he's campaigning under false colors here, that this is just an opportunistic contradiction of his past record. Opportunistic, perhaps, but...

Union Seeks Republicans

I. Labor Day in the Park with George If you closed your eyes at this year's New York City Labor Day rally, you might have thought you'd been transported to some Hibernian rite at the turn of the last century, back when organized labor spoke with a brogue. The city's locals had assembled in Battery Park for a mix of candidates' speeches and tributes to the union members who had died a few blocks north at the World Trade Center nearly one year earlier. The bagpipe band of Electrical Workers Local 3 kicked things off with an all-George M. Cohan overture -- "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "You're a Grand Old Flag" -- segued into "Amazing Grace" as Air National Guard jets flew overhead in the missing-man formation and, in a perhaps unintentionally grim forecast of days to come, marched off playing "The Minstrel Boy to the Wars Has Gone." The program grew less Irish and more disorienting, however, as it moved from music to speech. In New York, after all, the pols at the Labor Day rallies...

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...

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