Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Rove's Blind Spot

Despite his reputation as a political genius, Karl Rove made some fundamental miscalculations. And his cluelessness will live on in the White House.

Decades from now, historians will have trouble fathoming why Karl Rove's contemporaries hailed him as a genius. An expert practitioner of wedge politics, in the tradition of Lee Atwater? Sure. But architect of an enduring Republican majority? The great realigner? What were the pundits of 2002 and 2004 smoking? In fact, Rove exhibited astonishing blindness toward some of America's most basic political realities -- in particular, a pervasive economic insecurity that undercut the prospects of the Bush administration's program. In a brilliant and fortuitously timed article on Rove in the new issue of the Atlantic , reporter Josh Green (a former American Prospect colleague of mine) notes that realignments in American politics tend to emerge from periods of wrenching change: the Depression of the '30s, the racial and cultural revolutions of the '60s. They are not willed by political consultants who fancy themselves deep thinkers. Rove always believed that with the right mix of legislation...

The Trouble with Impeachment

Bush and Cheney merit impeachment and conviction -- that doesn't make it a good idea.

You may recall the scene in Clint Eastwood's 1992 Western Unforgiven where Eastwood's character levels his gun at Gene Hackman's malevolent sheriff, whom he is about to dispatch to hell's lower depths. "I don't deserve this," Hackman protests. "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it," Eastwood replies, and pulls the trigger. And that -- a touch overstated, I'll admit -- is pretty much my position on impeachment. Does George W. Bush deserve to be impeached? Absolutely. Problem is, that doesn't resolve the question of whether trying to impeach Bush (and, necessarily, Dick Cheney, too) is a good idea. And when I consider the moral imperatives of this moment -- ending the involvement of U.S. forces in the Iraq War, providing the American people with secure and universal health care, even ratcheting back the unchecked executive power that Bush and his vice president have substituted for our system of checks and balances -- I conclude, sadly, that an attempt to impeach Bush will make these...

Barry Bonds: Less Ruthian Than Faustian

Bonds' decision to use steroids, if that was his decision, was deeply wrong. But his sins are distinctly sins of our time.

The home-run king was on a steady regimen of performance-altering illegal substances. No, not Barry Bonds, who whacked No. 756 Tuesday night in San Francisco. I'm talking here about Babe Ruth, whose years of home-run production coincided almost precisely with the years that Prohibition was in effect, during which the liquid portion of his diet consisted chiefly of beer, gin, scotch, rye and bourbon. So should the Babe's record rate an asterisk, too? Seven hundred fourteen homers, a record possibly affected by a steady diet of what in lesser mortals would have been performance-depressing drugs of incontestable illegality. But for the wear and tear on his stomach lining, and the years he spent pitching rather than playing every day, and the fact that he played when seasons were 154 games, not the 162 they've consisted of since the '60s, he would have hit more. That, of course, is not the reason a de facto asterisk will cling to Bonds's home-run record. Bonds's prodigious late-career...

The Speaker in Charge

Iraq, emissions, and impeachment remain thorny and potentially divisive issues. But for now, with several important Democratic bills about to pass both houses of Congress, Nancy Pelosi is a happy warrior.

This is one of those odd weeks when Congress may actually work. Both houses are likely to pass Democratic bills to expand SCHIP, the children's health coverage program. Yesterday, the House enacted lobbying reform, and the Senate may follow suit tomorrow. Also yesterday, the House passed a bill restoring the right of victims of pay discrimination to sue their employers. In short, it's one of those weeks when Nancy Pelosi has no doubts about the wisdom of her decision to become speaker of the House. "What's it like?" she asked herself, beaming, at the conclusion of a breakfast meeting with roughly 20 liberal journalists yesterday morning. "It's fabulous! Absolutely fabulous!" It can't always be thus. Her biggest frustration, of course, is Congress's inability to end the war in Iraq, which she terms "a huge moral catastrophe for the country." It is the public's biggest frustration as well, she says, and the main reason that popular support for Congress has plummeted. In September, Iraq...

Outsourcing in the Dark

A new Congressional inquiry into outsourcing may shed some light on how well the federal government monitors the performance of its contractors.

You don't trifle with Robin Smith when it comes to keeping America safe. Smith is a former airman first class who won a Sharpshooter badge and was one of 125 women selected by the Air Force for a test combat training program. She comes from a family that was almost a stranger to civilian life; until her brother retired from service in the mid-'90s, she says, "there was a member of my family on active military duty for over 100 consecutive years." Smith is black; her forebears joined up in the days of the Buffalo Soldiers. Since she left the service, Smith has worked for several private security contractors, which is how she came to be stationed at the Department of Homeland Security headquarters here in Washington, in the employ of Wackenhut Services, the company that provides security at a multitude of nuclear, defense and other highly sensitive federal facilities. For a time she was stationed in the building where Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff worked, and she saw him...