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

Apparently, Montgomery Burns Is An Accurate Representation of His Class

Caution - jerks inside. (Flickr/StevenM_61)
Over the weekend, the Boston Globe had a piece examining some interesting research showing that the rich really are different from you and me—they're worse: Rich people have a harder time connecting with others, showing less empathy to the extent of dehumanizing those who are different from them. They are less charitable and generous. They are less likely to help someone in trouble. And they are more likely to defend an unfair status quo. If you think you'd behave differently in their place, meanwhile, you're probably wrong: These aren't just inherited traits, but developed ones. Money, in other words, changes who you are. And it turns out that similar effects happen when people gain power as when they gain money. Of course, these kind of effects aren't going to be visible in every wealthy person—some of them are just as nice as could be. But if these studies are right then these unattractive traits are more visible in those that have more money. As you may have noticed, candidates...

New Blog to Transform American Politics, Say Observers

(Flickr/Cherry Crimson)
Beginning today, I'll be one of the Voices featured here on, which means that all my writing going forward will be collected in this space (although my posts on the campaign will still appear in Vox Pop as well). Those of you familiar with the work I've done here at TAP over the last five years will know what to expect: lots of politics, lots of discussion of the way politics is transmitted through the media, a bit of policy wonkery, and a few side orders of culture, technology, and whatever else catches my eye. There will be occasional interviews with people who know more than I do about an important issue or have something interesting to say, and multimedia presentations of various sorts. My hope is that it will all add up to package that is informed and takes policy seriously, but remains lively; addresses the events of each day but brings a perspective that is relevant for more than a moment; and is driven by progressive values without being predictable or consumed...

Pat Buchanan is Not a First Amendment Martyr

Last week, MSNBC announced that it was dropping Pat Buchanan from its stable of "contributors," a position which consists of being paid to come on the air and give one's opinions, something the network has no shortage of people to do for free. The network didn't hide the fact that it had finally decided that Buchanan's views (which we'll get to in a moment) were just too extreme and distasteful for them, so they decided to disassociate themselves from him. Buchanan responded with a post titled " Blacklisted, But Not Beaten ," in which he rails against those who done him in: "I know these blacklisters. They operate behind closed doors, with phone calls, mailed threats, and off-the-record meetings. They work in the dark because, as Al Smith said, nothing un-American can live in the sunlight." To which one's initial response is, pity the poor oppressed Buchanan, left only with a hundred other forums in which to pass on his ideas! But does he have a point? Andrew Sullivan thinks so ,...

What Real Class Warfare Looks Like

So it looks as though Republicans are going to cave on the extension of the payroll tax cut, pretty much the only tax cut they don't like, seeing as it doesn't do much for the wealthy. But on their way to that capitulation, they made sure they could exact a price : drug testing of people applying for unemployment compensation! After all, we need to send these people a message. The bill, which looks like it will pass soon, now includes a provision that allows states to drug test anyone applying for unemployment compensation if they're looking for a job in an industry where testing occurs, which is pretty much any industry there is. So it isn't enough that you might get tested before you can get a job, you'll now have to get tested before you even start looking. The rationale Republicans offer isn't that there's some kind of epidemic of drug abuse among the unemployed. It's just if you're going to get a government benefit, paid for by the taxpayers, then you should have to prove you...

The Right-Wing Media Non-Conspiracy

Today's (actually, yesterday's) important article about the media comes from The American Prospect 's friend Ben Adler, in the Columbia Journalism Review . It's a nuanced exploration of the dynamics within the conservative media and how they affect Republican politicians. Here's an excerpt: While there are undeniable heavyweights, like Limbaugh, in the conservative media machine, this swift discipline doesn’t happen as the result of a top-down directive. It is more accurate to think of the conservative media ecosystem as a giant circular feedback loop. Conservative talk radio's rise in the late 1980s and early 1990s begat the creation of Fox News in 1996. Conservative blogs in turn arose in the last decade. Bloggers and their commenter communities listen to talk radio and watch Fox News, while Fox and radio hosts read conservative blogs, websites, and newspapers such as The Washington Times and New York Post . Thus conservatives in print, online, and on-air create and promote each...