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

When Do We Get to See Obama's Radicalism?

So this is the plan to dismantle capitalism? Excellent.
Last week I wrote a post mocking conservatives for their relentless search for the next secret videotape that will expose Barack Obama as a dangerous radical, the latest of which was the shocking revelation that as a law student, he supported his professor Derrick Bell's efforts to diversify the Harvard Law School faculty. Unsurprisingly, conservatives reacted by saying that I just didn't get it ( here 's a sample). It's worth saying a bit more about this phenomenon, because we surely haven't seen the last of it, both in the campaign and in Obama's second term, should he win one. The search for the radical associations in Obama's pre-political history began almost as soon as Obama's presidential candidacy began in 2007. Some conservatives (and that's an important qualifier; many conservatives understand that this stuff is nuts) have been positively obsessed with uncovering Obama's radical associations. They have also insisted that those associations are closer than anyone thinks. So...

Talk Radio Troubles

(Flickr/Jonathan Gill)
The controversy over Rush Limbaugh's venomous attacks on Sandra Fluke appears to have done what a dozen prior Limbaugh controversies could not: affect his bottom line. As John Avlon reports , advertisers are fleeing not only from Limbaugh, but from other hosts like him: Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on "programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity)." This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are "carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald's, Subway...

Friday Music Break

For today's edition of Well-Meaning Pop Songs From the 70's That Make You Cringe, I could have gone with Elvis doing "In the Ghetto," but that would have been too easy. Instead, we've got Cher, with "Half Breed." This particular performance comes from the Sonny & Cher show, and allow me to suggest that the sensitivity the song displays toward people of mixed racial heritage is undermined just a smidge by the fact that they've got her sitting atop a horse in some kind of Indian-themed bikini, with—you guessed it—a headdress atop her head. Toss in a totem pole (which they do), and she's good to go:

The Race-Baiting Continues

(Still from video obtained by Buzzfeed.com)
I've been holding off on writing something about the bizarre spectacle of the Derrick Bell "exposé" that has consumed the nuttier corners of the right in the last couple of days, simply because it's so weird and pathetic that I wasn't sure exactly how to talk about it beyond simple ridicule. In case you missed it, here's the story, briefly: Just before he died, conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart said his web enterprises would soon release an explosive video that would transform the 2012 election by revealing Barack Obama's radical ties. The video turned out to be of something that was not only utterly unremarkable, but had been reported before. In 1991, when Obama was a student at Harvard Law School, the school was embroiled in a controversy over the under-representation of minorities on the faculty. Derrick Bell, the first black tenured professor at the school and a widely admired figure in legal circles, announced that he would take a leave until the school made efforts to...

"Repeal and Replace" Goes By the Wayside

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act.
Remember that whole "Repeal and Replace" thing Republicans were going to do about the Affordable Care Act? As Steve Benen tells us , turns out, not so much. Not only have congressional Republicans not bothered to come up with something to replace the ACA with, they're not even going to try the "repeal" part anymore either. Some conservative groups are outraged , since they appear to have been laboring under the impression that those congressional Republicans had a genuine, deeply felt hatred of the ACA and would try to kill it even if the politics didn't look so favorable for such a move. But Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell—perhaps the most practical, unsentimental politician in Washington—says no. Why? Because there's just no margin in it. The attempt would fail in both houses, and would only reinforce the idea that the GOP is nothing but a bunch of grumpy old men who care more about taking things away from people than about helping the country. So the Republican legislative...

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