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

Keep In Touch

Savvy politicos make sure their bosses know what the current price of items like milk and gas are, because every once in a while someone will deliver a little pop quiz to the candidate, and the last thing a politician wants is to appear "out of touch" with ordinary people, like the kind of guy who doesn't buy his own groceries. I've always thought those kind of quizzes are silly -- in my experience, ideology has a lot more to do with the priorities politicians have than how "in touch" they are. It's not like you're going to find too many Republicans saying, "I had no idea it was hard to make a living on $5 an hour -- from now on, I will support increasing the minimum wage!"

It's Not You; It's Me

As California's same-sex-marriage trial ends, the case against marriage equality is all about straight people.


In 2003, the Supreme Court, in the case of Lawrence v. Texas, declared that statutes outlawing sodomy were unconstitutional, because the moral judgment of a majority was not sufficient reason to deprive a minority of its fundamental rights. In a typically spirited dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the majority had "taken sides in the culture war" -- though of course, he, in opposition, was not taking sides but merely objectively assessing the Constitution.

Why Did the U.S. Get Robbed of a Win? Right-Wing Authoritarianism.

OK, I'm kidding - sort of. But bear with me. Before we get to the travesty of the Americans' match against Slovenia, let me explain what I mean.

At their cores, conservatism and liberalism have different approaches to bad behavior, whether we're talking about kids acting out or criminals making mayhem. The conservative perspective says that people are fundamentally sinful and fallen, and will get away with as much as they can. You need harsh penalties to keep them from straying, otherwise they'll run rampant. The liberal perspective says that people are fundamentally good, and while punishment is necessary for some actions, on the whole you do a better job with carrots than sticks.