Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Going Out With Class.

In his farewell address to the Senate today, Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah did something rather unusual for a Republican these days: He talked about his opponents as though they are not crazed socialists, or America-hating foreigners, but as though they are reasonable, well-intentioned people with whom he happens to disagree on most things. His address was pretty remarkable in a lot of ways, not least because he talked proudly about how his father, who was also a senator, cast a vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act, even though most conservatives at the time found it an encroachment of government on individual liberty. But here's the key part. This is a partisan talking, but one who isn't full of hate: The Democrats are the party of government. Going back to their roots with Franklin Roosevelt , they come to the conclusion that if there is a problem, government should solve that problem. The Republicans are the party of free markets, and they come to the conclusion that if there is a...

And You Think Your Cell-Phone Bill Is High.

Something caught my eye in this piece at TPM about how the military is looking at equipping soldiers with smartphones: The Army first needs to find a way to build its own portable, secure 3G network in places like Afghanistan. That means, according to Fuiza, shrinking normally 100-foot cell phone towers into small units with portable antennas that can be affixed to trucks or backpacks. It also would require that the Army create not only its own apps, but also its own app "store" -- and a way to screen apps for viruses and other security threats. And, it definitely means finding a phone that's tough enough to endure battle conditions. The Army is currently testing phones, according to spokeswoman Annie Gammell. Yesterday, in fact, soldiers at Fort Bliss in Texas were testing a phone and system built by Monax, a division of Lockheed Martin that's trying to get into the tactical 3G market. The Army is also looking at phones your average consumer would be familiar with, like the iPhone or...

Sober Republicans to Guide Policy in Next Congress.

One of the things I've always found most curious about the "war on terror" is how obsessed so many Republicans are with al-Qaeda's psychology. During the Bush administration we were regularly told that insufficient stalwartness on the part of Democrats would "embolden" the terrorists, as though their boldness was really an issue. George W. Bush showed a great concern for demonstrating to terrorists that we were strong and resolute. Understanding their psychology is certainly worthwhile, but the people most interested in it seem to have the most cartoonish ideas about what motivates our enemies. Over at Mother Jones , Siddartha Mananta tells us about Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon , soon to be chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and his interesting views about war: A proponent of that conservative '80s-era maxim "peace through power" and an advocate of detaining terror suspects indefinitely without charge or trial, McKeon recently offered a preview of his committee leadership at...

Obama and the Left.

Watching Barack Obama 's press conference yesterday, it's obvious he's genuinely frustrated that he doesn't get more credit from progressives for accomplishing things progressives ought to cheer about. But there's an easy way he can get more credit from the base: Try not to insult them so much . When you reach a compromise, make a case for it that 1) is based in progressive values, and 2) doesn't immediately segue into bitching at progressives for not being happier about it. I suppose it's possible that he thinks there's strategic value in showing everybody he's willing to beat up on his supporters by calling them "sanctimonious" and complaining that they don't give him credit for anything. But it's hard to see how he'll get all that much benefit for that, since most people in the country's broad middle will barely notice it. He did, however, go a long way toward alienating progressives. Here's the thing: Telling people they're being ridiculous is just not an effective way of...

Does Obama Need an Office of Strategery?

When the first round of Bush tax cuts was passed in 2001, Republicans used the reconciliation process, which, among other things, meant that the cuts would expire in 10 years. At the time, this was generally viewed as not that much of a big deal for them, since nobody wants to raise taxes; the prevailing assumption was that they would end up being extended no matter who was president or who was in charge of Congress come 2011. And it looks like that was a correct assumption. But last week, former Bush communications director Dan Bartlett characterized it as a "trap," since not only would the cuts be extended, but it would end up pulling Democrats into a debate in which they would be pilloried as tax-raising tax-raisers. Whether they really planned it that way, it sort of happened, but sort of not -- as nearly every poll showed, the Democrats' position (keep the cuts for the middle class, but dump the cuts for the rich) was enormously popular. But, being Democrats, they ended up caving...

Pages