Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The Scourge of the Second Space.

One of the benefits of blogging is that those of us who have a deep-seated need to force our opinions on other people have a ready forum to do so, and not merely on matters of national import. This includes inveighing against our own pet peeves. For instance, a few months ago I scolded America for the profligate use of the phrase "I could care less," when what people mean when they say that is precisely the opposite, "I couldn't care less." And today, I have to applaud Slate's Farhad Manjoo for taking on the use of two spaces after a period: Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It's one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men's shirt buttons on the right and women's on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The...

Compromise for Thee, But Not for Me.

It's often said that a liberal is someone so reasonable he won't take his own side in an argument. At a time when we hear a lot about "the extremes on both sides," Gallup has some interesting poll results to show (via Jon Chait ): I've circled the key parts. You'll note that those who describe themselves as very liberal are no different from those who describe themselves as liberal or even moderate; they overwhelmingly favor compromise over sticking to your beliefs even if little gets done. It's the "very conservative" folks who are the outliers. The same is true if you divide the data by liberal/moderate Democrats and conservative/moderate Republicans. It's possible that conservatives view "getting things done" in Washington primarily as government action, while inaction is perfectly fine with them, since they're opposed to much of what government does. But one thing this does demonstrate is that for all the talk of the intransigent liberals willing, for instance, to reject health-...

T-Paw's Dilemma.

During the 2008 campaign, Mike Huckabee used to describe himself this way: "I'm a conservative, but I'm not angry about it." That wouldn't be an inaccurate description of Tim Pawlenty , the former Minnesota governor now ramping up his presidential campaign. The problem is that the conservative base is angry, and winning the Republican nomination may require channeling and playing to that anger. The potential candidates who are angrier -- Sarah Palin , Newt Gingrich -- have enormous liabilities that almost certainly prevent them from winning the general election, while the less angry candidates, like Pawlenty and Mitt Romney , are going to have a harder time tuning in to the the Republican Party zeitgeist. Last night, Pawlenty was interviewed by Jon Stewart , and the interview shows his problem. Stewart spent almost the entire interview pressing Pawlenty on the idea, so common among Republicans these days, that pretty much everything Barack Obama does constitutes "tyranny" (or at least...

You Stay Classy, Sarah Palin.

Yesterday, I, along with plenty of others, noted how poorly Sarah Palin was handling the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and the criticism she (Palin) has received in the aftermath. She had an opportunity to act presidential, to reach out to those who don't already agree with her, to rise above her usual pettiness. But the thinnest-skinned American politician since Richard Nixon just couldn't do it. And now she has released this rather incredible video. It's an attempt to look presidential -- there's the flag-draped setting, the more formal, less conversational rhetoric. But it's almost as though she just can't resist taking jabs at her opponents. As always, Palin wants you to know that she's the real victim here, beset by meanies who won't leave her alone. Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo . How hard would it have been for her to say that politics ought to be passionate, but all of us sometimes say things we later regret, and we should...

Why Sarah Palin Won't Be President.

One of the criticisms progressives often make of Barack Obama is that he spends far too much time trying to make his opponents like him and not enough time worrying about what his supporters think of him. Sarah Palin , on the other hand, has the opposite problem: She spends all her time speaking to those who are already within her bubble of support, and no time thinking about how she can persuade those who aren't already on her side. Her reaction to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting has cast this tendency in stark relief. She had an opportunity to step outside of her normal way of doing things and could have actually begun to change the way people thought about her. Instead, she was true to form: defensive, snide, consumed by real and imagined slights. Her latest statement was an e-mail to Glenn Beck for him to read on the air: "I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and...

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