Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The GOP Primary Is a Mess. Can Anyone Unite This Party?

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik) The Republican presidential candidates stand on stage before the first GOP primary debate in Cleveland on August 6. J eb Bush is starting to remind me of someone. Tall guy, former governor, worshipped his politician dad? That's right, I'm talking about Mitt Romney. It isn't just the part about their fathers, or the fact that like Romney, Bush is the representative of the "establishment" and doesn't get a lot of love from the Tea Party base, or even that he seems to share Romney's propensity for reinforcing his most glaring electoral weaknesses. (Jeb spent much of the last week explaining how the Iraq War was actually a tremendous success and we just need to bring back the Bush Doctrine, which is a great way to win over the many voters pining for a rerun of George W.'s term in office.) It's also that Bush's only path to his party's nomination may be to duplicate what Romney did successfully in 2012: use his money (and dogged persistence) to hang around while...

The Party Strikes Back—Or Tries to, Anyway

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik) Donald Trump speaks during the Fox News Republican presidential debate in Cleveland on August 6, as Jeb Bush watches. " It amazes me that other networks seem to treat me so much better than @FoxNews," Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday. "I brought them the biggest ratings in history, & I get zip!" Trump may not quite understand why Fox might be tough on him, but it's for the same reason that the Republican Party's leaders, conservative activists, and his primary opponents are trying to find ways to undermine him. The idea of him winning the presidential nomination—or even just staying in the race for an extended period of time—is horrifying for them. And every couple of weeks, Trump does or says something outrageous and they say to themselves, "OK, now this time we've really got him." So when Trump mixed it up a little with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly at the first debate last Thursday, then followed it up by seeming to imply that Kelly asked him tough...

Why the Koch Brothers Are Heroes In Their Own Minds

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan David Koch, Executive Vice President of Koch Industries, Inc., attends The Economic Club of New York, Monday, December 10, 2012. W hen Charles E. Wilson appeared before a Senate committee in January 1953 as President Eisenhower's nominee to become Secretary of Defense, he was asked whether his large holdings of stock in General Motors, where he had been president and chief executive, might cause some conflict of interest. " I cannot conceive of one," he replied, "because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country." While Wilson is often misquoted as saying that what's good for GM is good for America, a quote often used as a symbol of corporate arrogance, his intent seemed at least somewhat more benign. But however you interpret it, Wilson was almost certainly sincere in believing that when you get right down to it, the...

Why Donald Trump Matters

(Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall)
(Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall) In Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Saturday, Trump said to his supporters, "I'm very good with contracts. Don't you want that?" T he political press is struggling over how exactly to report on Donald Trump. On one hand, we absolutely love covering him—Trump's intoxicating combination of boorishness, ignorance, tactlessness, and overconfidence, all wrapped up in a gold-plated package, is utterly irresistible as copy. On the other hand, we feel a little guilty about it, as though we know it's bad for us and bad for the public. Which is what produces the endless assurances that, despite his rather remarkable strength in the polls, you should rest assured that he is not going to be his party's nominee. You see that judgment made about other candidates all the time, but seldom repeated so often and almost never for someone who is leading in all the primary polls. And while it might be true, we've now moved beyond the point where we don't have to take Trump seriously. It'...

The GOP Finally Finds the Courage to Attack Donald Trump

AP Photo/Danny Johnston
AP Photo/Danny Johnston Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Party of Arkansas Reagan Rockefeller dinner in Hot Springs, Arkarsas, Friday, July 17, 2015. T he GOP may finally have found the means to rid itself of that meddlesome real estate tycoon. And it's fitting—and really, should have been predictable—that what is uniting Republicans against Donald Trump is his own big mouth. It's one thing to call Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers—that caused some agita, but not enough to rid Trump's GOP opponents of their visceral fear of alienating his supporters. But insulting John McCain's war record? That's something everyone can agree on, and thus gives the other candidates just the excuse they've been waiting for to bring out the knives for Trump. On the off chance you haven't heard, on Saturday, Trump said some interesting things about McCain, with whom he has had a little East Coast/Southwest beef of late. The setting was the Family Leadership...