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

Taking, Not Placing, Responsibility

We're beginning to take a long overdue look at the state of our political debate. But that examination needs to be honest.

Members of Congress and staff observe a moment of silence for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other shooting victims. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In the wake of Saturday's tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, we're beginning to take a long overdue look at the state of our political debate. But that examination needs to be honest.

What If We Just Ignored the Westboro Baptist Church?

A number of blogs have linked today to the predictably despicable reaction of the Westboro Baptist Church, the "God Hates Fags" people, to the Arizona shooting. They're a particularly hateful group of maniacs, and it's tempting to point out their actions so people understand that that sort of thing exists within our country. But they're a tiny group that has no supporters anywhere, at least none willing to stand up and join them. They have a First Amendment right to say whatever they want -- indeed, they're a walking instruction in the price we pay for having freedom of speech -- and they're also very good at attracting attention. So what if we all agreed we were just going to ignore them?

On Debating Our Debate.

As we debate what kind of rhetoric is and isn't objectionable, it would help if we could make some specific distinctions and keep some important things in mind. To that end:

GOP Still All-Or-Nothing on Health Care.

You may recall that longtime conservative advocate and former Bush II speechwriter David Frum was excommunicated from the conservative movement after he suggested that implacably opposing the Affordable Care Act was strategically misguided (he argued that the GOP would have been better served by negotiating to make the bill more conservative). Frum landed on his feet, and now has some more advice for his fellow conservatives on health care.

Fix the DMV, Raise Trust in Government.

Every day, we interact with government in multiple ways, most of which are invisible. Because of that, we don't give it much credit. I'll bet you've never driven to the supermarket, gotten out of your car, and said, "Wow -- it would have taken me a heck of a lot longer to get here if there wasn't a paved road to drive on. Thanks, government!" Or settled into bed at the end of the day and said, "I sure am glad none of my kids was poisoned by tainted meat today. Thanks, government!"