Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Who's the Real Sectarian?

Most agree that mending Iraq's fundamental divisions was beyond Nouri al-Maliki's reach from the start. It's Bush, not Maliki, who has been a sectarian by choice.

Nobody loves Nouri al-Maliki. In his own country, the Iraqi prime minister heads a government of, by and for fractious Shiites, against which enraged Sunnis, among others, have taken up arms. In our country, which sustains him in power, both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans call for his ouster. A National Intelligence Estimate finds his administration utterly incapable of settling the differences that are pulling his nation apart. The bill of particulars against Maliki is long and convincing, but it all boils down to this: The prime minister has done nothing to reconcile Iraq's warring populations and, to the contrary, seems either content or resigned to heading a government that consolidates the Shiite ascendancy in Iraq. His ministries are controlled by sectarian Shiites. Sunnis fear the government's police force, dread going to the government's hospitals and have given up on the government's ever picking up the garbage in their neighborhoods or providing any of the...

A Dickens of a President

The Bush administration's most recent rule change limits the ability of states to offer health coverage to uninsured children.

We should, I suppose, credit Lynne Cheney's love of the classics, or perhaps William Bennett's tireless efforts to instruct us in the great moral tales. Whatever the reason, it is clear that the Bush administration, in its campaign to prevent the states from providing health insurance to children in families of modest means, has paid careful heed to the following passage (which I abbreviate for reasons of space) from Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist . In it, the plucky young hero has been chosen by the other boys to ask the managers of the poorhouse in which they're locked up to increase their daily servings of gruel, lest they starve. He rose from the table; and, advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: "Please, sir, I want some more." "What!" said the master. "Please, sir," replied Oliver, "I want some more." The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked for the beadle. The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr...

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...

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