Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Thune Fever -- Catch It!

To chime in with Jamelle 's post on John Thune below ... You may recall that it was The Weekly Standard that delivered Sarah Palin unto the rest of the country, after a stopover on the magazine's 2007 fundraising cruise in which the Alaska governor charmed the pants off the likes of William Kristol and Fred Barnes . As Jane Mayer documented , "Fred Barnes recalled being 'struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.' It didn’t escape his notice, too, that she was 'exceptionally pretty.'" He and Kristol, along with other conservative literati, came back from the north and began telling everyone they could about how terrific Palin was; Barnes wrote the first major article about her that July, and a year later, she was the GOP nominee for vice president. Now the horse the Standard wants to tell us about is South Dakota Sen. John Thune , who gets a profile featured...

People Making Choices.

Whenever a new controversy comes up over the content of textbooks in Texas, we're reminded that because the state is so large, the demands it makes on textbook publishers can set an agenda for the whole country. The latest controversy concerns some conservatives' belief that textbooks have been indoctrinating students with pro-Islamic propaganda. Sure, it's insane, but hey -- Texas is really big, so those publishers are going to have to do whatever the state school board wants. Right? But what if the textbook publishers just said, "You know what? We've had it with you nutballs." After all, these companies aren't run by robots; they're run by people, people who have free will. And people in the publishing industry presumably have, at least on some level, a belief that knowledge is a good thing, and ignorance is a bad thing. There's nothing to stop them from saying to Texas, "These are the books we're selling. If you want to buy them, that's great. If you don't, that's too bad, but we'...

Show Me the Money!

Via Kevin Drum , we learn that Sarah Palin doesn't give it away for nothing : The Republican National Committee is paying off some of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's sizable legal fees dating back to the 2008 presidential campaign in exchange for her help raising money for the financially strapped RNC during the campaign season, The Washington Times has learned. The Times obtained a copy of a check for $128,518.85 that was made out to Anchorage law firm Clapp, Peterson, Van Flein, Tiemessen & Thorsness, which Mrs. Palin hired after a string of ethics charges were lodged against her when she was Alaska's governor and the GOP's nominee for vice president.... "That was payment for services she was providing, including a couple speeches, a couple fundraising letters and a telephone call," Mr. Pullen said. "There was not a contract so far as I know. It was verbal." Former RNC Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf said he could not recall a similar arrangement for those helping the party build...

The Pledge to Whine at America

(Flickr/ bbaunach ) A quick note on the GOP's " Pledge to America ," which I'm sure we'll all have more to say about later. There isn't much that will surprise you -- they hate taxes and want to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- but I have to point out this line from the rather lengthy document, in their litany of complaints: An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many. Sigh. They just couldn't help themselves, could they? In order to have a genuine democratic debate, there are a few things we all need to agree on. One of them ought to be that a government isn't illegitimate just because it's made up of people who aren't from your party. Right now, Democrats control the government. But that doesn't mean they're "self-appointed." They didn't just walk to Washington and say, "We're in charge now, so try to stop us!" It wasn't a military coup. They got elected ...

Sharron Angle's Fundraising Genius

Via Taegan Goddard , the Las Vegas Sun gets a recording of Sharron Angle explaining her fundraising strategy at a house party: When I get a friendly press outlet -- not so much the guy that’s interviewing me -- it’s their audience that I’m trying to reach. So, if I can get on Rush Limbaugh , and I can say, “ Harry Reid needs $25 million. I need a million people to send twenty five dollars to SharronAngle.com.” The day I was able to say that [even], he made $236,000 dollars. That’s why it’s so important. Somebody … I’m going on Bill O’Reilly the 16th. They say, “Bill O’Reilly, you better watch out for that guy, he’s not necessarily a friendly” ... Doesn’t matter, his audience is friendly, and if I can get an opportunity to say that at least once on his show -- when I said it on Sean Hannity ’s television show we made $40,000 before we even got out of the studio in New York. It's not a bad strategy: go on friendly national outlets, and get people all over the country to contribute to...

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