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 Clean Sweep

On Friday, April 7, I came upon one method of increasing the income of the working poor that, I confess, had never even occurred to me. The janitors of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, embroiled in a countywide strike, were marching down Wilshire Boulevard from downtown Los Angeles to tony Century City, roughly an eight-mile walk. Ten years earlier, another such march had culminated in one of the LAPD's periodic riots, when police set upon the marchers in Century City, beating and injuring scores. This time L.A.'s city attorney was in the parade's front row, flanked by a dozen other elected officials, Jesse Jackson, and a host of ministers, priests, and rabbis. But that wasn't all that was different about this march. Web-Only! A Conversation with Harold Meyerson Author Interview. As the janitors left downtown, the people on the sidewalks--few of whom had known in advance about the march--started giving them a thumbs-up sign. After a couple of miles, the...

Dead Center

The centrist politics of the election produced a shrunken electorate and mandate. Are there fresh sources of progressive energy at the grass roots?

W e're going to govern from the center," White House political director Doug Sosnik said in the immediate aftermath of the election, and no doubt they will. The question is, which center? There's the balanced budget center, which has demonstrable popular support. There's the preserve-universal-entitlements center, for which every poll shows majority backing. And there's the slash -universal-entitlements center, and the expand-NAFTA-to-all-the-Western-Hemisphere center—centers that don't have much mass support, positions for which you'd never have heard an encouraging word in the election just completed. Democrats and Republicans alike assured voters that cutting entitlements was the farthest thing from their minds, while expanding NAFTA went totally unmentioned. And yet, there's every reason to think that the reduction of entitlements and the expansion of free trade have emerged from the Stalemate of 1996 at or near the top of the governing center's to-do list for the next four years...

A Paler Shade of Gray

In the beginning was the money. Gray Davis isn't running for anything in 2000; he is just now beginning the second year of his initial four-year term. Yet in his first 13 months as governor, he's managed to collect about $1 million a month for his campaign treasury. That's about five times as much as Pete Wilson, his Republican predecessor, was able to assemble during his first year as governor. Davis may be the most prosaic of pols, but his fundraising has long been the stuff of legend. His entry into politics, back in 1973, was as the gofer for liberal money-man Max Palevsky during Tom Bradley's first successful campaign for mayor of Los Angeles. But it was Senator Alan Cranston to whom Davis looked in awe; Cranston, Davis has said, was his hero, the man who taught him you could never be too zealous, too methodical, too unflagging in the pursuit of campaign dollars. Indeed, it was Davis's reputation as a latter-day Cranston, the supreme...

Life, Liberty and the Obligation to Defend Both

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...

Follow the Money Laundering

J ust how good is American liberalism's inner ear? Defending an open society in the wake of September's attacks demands that we strike the right balance between security and liberty, between the first of the Declaration of Independence's inalienable rights and the second; and that we remind our countrymen that in a battle of ideals with a closed society, liberty and tolerance can be the most potent weapons in our arsenal. Even so, we'll also need some more conventional weapons along the way. This insistence on openness, on the primacy of liberal ideals, stands in clear contrast to those, within the administration and without, who see the conflict as fundamentally military. And it is largely beside the point to those on both the right and the left who view the attacks as less an external threat to us than a divine or historical judgment upon us. As both Jerry Falwell and various left-wing activists and critics see it, America truly is the Great Satan, and our current course of action...

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