Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

The Family Values Sham

As conservatives tell the tale, the decline of the American family, the rise in divorce rates, and the number of children born out of wedlock all can be traced to the pernicious influence of one decade in American history: the '60s. The conservatives are right that one decade, at least in its metaphoric significance, can encapsulate the causes for the family's decline. But they've misidentified the decade. It's not the permissive '60s. It's the Reagan '80s. In Saturday's Washington Post , reporter Blaine Harden took a hard look at the erosion of what we have long taken to be the model American family -- married couples with children -- and discovered that while this decline hasn't really afflicted college-educated professionals, it is the curse of the working class. The percentage of households that are married couples with children has hit an all-time low (at least, the lowest since the Census Bureau started measuring such things): 23.7 percent. That's about half the level that...


CAN THE AFL-CIO COUNT VOTES, OR WHAT? Speaking to the AFL-CIO's longtime communications honcho Denise Mitchell on Tuesday, I asked her how many votes she thought the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which was coming up for a vote in the House two days hence, would get. "I dunno," she said. "How about 241?" This afternoon, EFCA passed with 241 votes. When Denise Mitchell says she doesn't know, do not proceed to a wager. --Harold Meyerson

Can Free Trade Be a Fair Deal?

Within the past year, an important new debate has taken shape, though it's not likely to be the focus of any forthcoming presidential debates as such. It is likely, however, to distinguish liberal from centrist thinking for decades to come. The debate begins at the familiar flash point of trade -- more particularly, with the realization of business elites and their political champions that the nation's free-trade policies have become threatened by growing public anxiety over our economic future. While corporate profits soar, individual wages stagnate, held at least partly in check by the brave new fact of offshoring -- that millions of Americans' jobs can be performed at a fraction of the cost in developing nations near and far. November's elections, in which voters sent to Congress a freshman class composed almost entirely of free-trade skeptics, rang alarm bells on both Wall Street and K Street. In reaction not just to November but to reams of economic data showing that the U.S...

A New Hampshire Ghost

A specter was haunting Hillary Clinton as she campaigned in New Hampshire this weekend: the specter of Ed Muskie. As the ancient or merely studious among us will recall, the Democratic senator from Maine, who'd been Hubert Humphrey's running mate in 1968, entered his party's presidential contest in 1972 as the front-runner. His prospects were dashed in the New Hampshire snows, however. As popular memory has it, an indignant Muskie started crying while refuting a silly attack on him (though whether he was genuinely upset or merely sniffling during a frigid outdoor news conference was never authoritatively resolved). Muskie's more serious problem, however, was the Vietnam War, which he opposed. His opposition, though, had none of the fervor or long-term consistency of another Democratic senator and presidential aspirant, George McGovern. By 1972, seven years had elapsed since the United States had sent ground forces to Vietnam, and Richard Nixon, through his invasion of Cambodia and...

The Big Three

"Why are we here?" John Edwards asked the members of the Democratic National Committee last Friday -- meaning: What animates us? What is the banner we ask Americans to take up? And, by morning's end, the Democrats had heard three different answers from their party's presidential front-runners. Edwards and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had distinct perspectives on Iraq, but their other differences were, if anything, more revealing. Edwards depicted, in a rising crescendo of emotion, the human cost of manmade disasters: the hotel housekeeper picketing for health coverage; the 8-year-old going to bed hungry; the mother of a soldier in Iraq answering her door to news of her son's death; the orphaned 5-year-old in the Sudanese desert. One of America's best trial lawyers was pleading for the victims of cruel and idiotic policies, offering policies of his own to save the innocents. Where Edwards personified problems, Obama abstracted them. In the forthcoming election, he said, "...