Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is editor-at-large of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

'Anything But Clinton' Redux

The Republican candidates have a dim, skimpy road map to governance and are attempting to compensate with Hillary-bashing.

My conservative brethren in the op-ed commentariat have made a disquieting discovery: The Republican candidates for president are saying nothing that addresses the economic anxieties of the American middle class. Both David Brooks and Michael Gerson, writing last Friday in the New York Times and The Post , respectively, expressed a mixture of amazement and horror at the disdain that the candidates display toward broadly centrist proposals to bolster Americans' economic security, and at the candidates' apparent indifference to their need to craft such proposals of their own. "The Democrats propose something" such as expanding health-care coverage for children or providing federal matching funds for 401(k) accounts for families of modest means, bemoaned Brooks, "and the Republicans have no alternative." Gerson grumbled that the candidates were taking gleeful potshots at the "baby bonds" notion -- providing newborns with small savings accounts -- that Hillary Clinton briefly floated,...

The Silenced Majority

If Democrats are going to win in 2008 they need to assure voters they intend to make a decisive break with the current policy on the Iraq War.

We are condemned, the smart guys tell us, to stay in Iraq. None of the three leading Democratic presidential candidates will pledge to remove all U.S. forces by 2013. In the think-tankocracy of Washington, defense intellectuals of both parties argue that pulling up stakes is not an option. "Some of the people mentioned as possible defense secretaries under a Democratic White House," the Post 's Thomas E. Ricks reported last month, "offer a vision of a U.S. presence in Iraq that does not differ markedly from that of the Bush administration." Even the fantastical idea floated by Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- that U.S. forces should settle into a permanent presence in Iraq as they have in South Korea -- seems to have won at least tacit acceptance among many defense deep thinkers. Everyone's on board except the American people, but what do they matter? When the Pew Research Center polled Americans in September, it found 54 percent support for bringing U.S. forces home immediately or...

Return of the Goldwater GOP

The Republicans who oppose the SCHIP expansion have a faith in laissez-faire ideology that cannot acknowledge the limits of what capitalism can, or even chooses to, do.

Just outside our nation's capital, in affluent Montgomery and Fairfax counties, they still build public schools when the number of school-age children rises above the number that the existing schools can accommodate. Beyond question, there are parents in Fairfax and Montgomery who could easily afford to send their kids to private schools but who send them nonetheless to the excellent public schools in their neighborhoods They thus increase government spending and withhold revenue from the private-school industry, but I've never heard anyone complain about that. A free public education is a right, or, if you prefer, an entitlement in America, because the nation long ago decided that an educated population is a national good. You might think that the same logic would apply to providing children with health care, that the gains to the nation from having a healthy population would outweigh those of bolstering private health insurance companies in the name of laissez-faire ideology...


With its portent of more Florida-like electoral chicanery, it had shaken my buddies in the liberal commentariat to their core: The proposed Republican-backed initiative to change the way California counts it electoral vote -- shifting from the winner-take-all method in place in 48 of the states to the one-congressional-district-one-vote method in place in Maine and Nebraska -- could have split the mega-state’s electoral vote in a way only a Republican could love. Instead of rewarding all of the Golden State’s 55 electoral votes to the victor (that is, to the Democratic nominee), the measure would have siphoned off 19 electoral votes -- roughly, the numerical equivalent of Ohio -- to the Republican, presuming he could carry the congressional districts that have Republican representatives. The initiative would go on the June primary ballot next year, when few Californians would bestir themselves to vote, and could just squeek through. And with that, the Republicans would...

The Rise of the Have-Nots

The American middle class has toppled into a world of temporary employment, jobs without benefits, and retirement without security.

Last week over lunch, a friend in his 30s prodded me to explain how my generation, the boomers, had botched so many things. While not exactly conceding that we had, I said that the one thing none of us had anticipated was that America would cease to be a land of broadly shared prosperity. To be born, as I was, in mid-century was to have come of age in a nation in which the level of prosperity continued to rise and the circle of prosperity continued to widen. This was the great given of our youth. If the boomers embraced such causes as civil and social rights and environmentalism, it was partly because the existence and distribution of prosperity seemed to be settled questions. Nor were we alone in making this mistake. Our parents may have gone through the Depression and could never fully believe, as boomers did, that the good times were here to stay. They remembered busts as well as booms. But the idea that the economy could revert to its pre-New Deal configuration (in which the rich...