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

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...

Our Democratic Lords

F ast track has gone to the Senate, where its passage, alas, is assured. "I don't think we stand a chance of defeating it," says one dispirited union official. Indeed, labor lobbyists aren't even focusing on the trade legislation itself, but on an expansion of assistance for displaced workers that they hope the Senate will muster enough votes for, even as fast track breezes through. But this anticipated passage is passing strange. The fast-track bill, giving the president new authority to negotiate trade deals, staggered out of the Republican-controlled House by a one-vote margin, devoid of almost any Democratic backing. Now, it has moved to Tom Daschle's Senate--the Democratic side of Capitol Hill--where, one might think, support for labor rights and environmental standards in the new global economy would be at least as great as it is in Tom DeLay's House. But it's not. Put aside, for a moment, the divisions between northern and southern Democrats, or rural and urban Democrats, or...

Bulgari Pentameter:

Lear: Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never! Pray you, undo this button: Bulgari-made, Gorgeous, surprisingly affordable, Thank you sir. Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips, Look there, look there! Dies Lear, Act V, Scene 3, improved The news that the new Fay Weldon novel has been sponsored by famed jeweler Bulgari, which offered Weldon a tidy sum for inserting 12 glowing references to its handiwork in her book, is the latest entry in the master narrative of our time: the commodification of goddam everything. (In the end, Weldon decided to set her entire novel around Bulgariana rather then merely insert the occasional breathless paean to the product.) But this isn't the first time in recent decades that the line between serious writing and commerce has been crossed. Twenty-five years ago, Esquire and Xerox announced they were jointly sponsoring retired New York Times associate editor...

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