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

The Class War Turns

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center released a report showing that the American public now perceives the conflict between the rich and poor as more prevalent and intense than conflicts between black and whites or conflicts between immigrants and the native-born. The number seeing those class conflicts has jumped 19 points since 2009, and amazingly, even 55 percent of Republicans think there are strong conflicts between rich and poor. For the GOP, about to nominate a guy who earned a couple of hundred million dollars as what one of his opponents calls a "vulture capitalist," this is disconcerting news. First, a graph: It's no surprise that the Republican establishment is freaking out a bit over the new attacks on Mitt Romney's career in private equity, particularly this remarkable video from a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich. They've worked very hard for the last couple of decades to construct and reinforce a narrative that redirects class resentment—encourages it, actually, so long...

GOP Continues Crusade for Corporate Liberty

In this first presidential campaign since Citizens United , I wonder if any advocates of that decision—a group that would include pretty much the entire GOP—would say that as a result, we have better, more democratic campaigns. Is there anyone willing to stand up and say that superPACs are a healthy thing? Well, it appears the Republican party is now saying we should just give up the charade and let corporations buy candidates directly already : The century-old ban on corporate donations to federal political campaigns should be junked as unconstitutional, the Republican National Committee argued in a legal brief filed Tuesday that could lead to new attacks on the GOP as beholden to corporate money. The GOP brief filed with a federal appeals court contends that the ban which became law back in 1908 violates the First Amendment in light of recent Supreme Court rulings, including the 2010 Citizens United decision which allowed unlimited donations to independent-expenditure groups. On a...

No, Mitt Romney Did Not Reveal His True Essence

I wish I could come up with a pithy name for the particular type of faux-scandal that erupted yesterday over Mitt Romney saying "I like being able to fire people", the "That inartful thing our opponent said actually reveals his innermost being" ridiculousness. When you put it that way, it shows just how absurd it is. Just what is it that Mitt Romney's opponents are now trying to persuade us to believe? That what we knew about Romney before yesterday was incomplete, but with this latest statement, the mask slipped and Romney showed his true self. And now we know! Before, we thought he was just a standard-issue corporate raider of the kind conservatives lionize, but it turns out that he actually enjoys causing human misery by throwing people out of work. Egad! This is the most tiresome, and simultaneously most common, kind of campaign dust-up. I can promise you, this won't be the last time this year we'll hear lots of arguments about just how awful and revealing some offhand comment...

Expect Expectations Coverage to Be Expectedly Silly

Campaign reporting isn't easy. It has to be done quickly - filing stories every day, or in some cases multiple times a day, around repetitive and artificial events at which not much happens. Today, Mitt Romney went to a diner in Nashua, where he repeated the same talking points he delivered to people in a diner in Portsmouth yesterday, where he delivered the same talking points he delivered to people in a diner in Manchester the day before ... It's awfully difficult to come up with a "take" on the nonsense of campaigning that will be remotely interesting to your audience. Confronted with this problem, reporters do what they can to create conflict and suspense. At times, they're like kids in a schoolyard, yelling, "Fight, fight, fight!" to two other kids staring each other down. Governor, the Speaker says you're a liar, would you respond? C'mon! Give me something! When the most important outcome of an upcoming event like tomorrow's New Hampshire primary seems all but assured—nobody...

Policies Somewhat Different From Those I Favor Will Kill Us All

I'm sure I'm not alone in finding Rick Santorum a uniquely repellent figure among contemporary Republicans, someone who combines standard-issue objectionable positions on things like economics with a level of reactionary venom on social issues that is becoming unusual even in his own party. With some Republicans, you get the feeling that they'll parrot the party line on the danger of gay marriage, but they really don't mean it. Santorum, on the other hand, really, really dislikes gay people (although he claims he has gay friends, but I'll believe that when we meet one). And he doesn't just want to make it impossible for women to have access to abortions, he actually thinks birth control is morally wrong and states ought to be allowed to ban its use. Coming as he does from the fringe, Santorum is prone to the offhand use of apocalyptic language, to wit : Am I going to go after Mitt Romney on Romneycare? You bet I will, because it was the basis for Obamacare. Why? Because it’s top-down...

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