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

Straight Judges to Recuse Selves From Prop. 8 Appeal?

One of the arguments conservatives have made in their criticism of the Prop. 8 decision ( see here , for instance) is that, according to some reports, trial judge Vaughn Walker himself is gay, which obviously means he can't be impartial in this matter. But this has uncovered a problem that could lead to a serous legal stalemate. As opponents of marriage equality often say, letting gay people get married will undermine traditional marriage. How, exactly, they aren't quite sure, but they're sure it will. Which means that straight judges have as much of an interest in this case as gay judges -- after all, it's their marriages that are at stake too. One of the subsidiary arguments is that marriage is for the purpose of procreation. So how could staunch procreator Antonin Scalia (who has nine children) possibly be impartial? He obviously has to recuse himself when the case reaches the high court, as do most of the other justices, who have been engaged in opposite-sex marital conduct at one...

Our Better Natures, Or Not.

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he said, in ways both explicit and implicit, that we could transcend what divided us -- our racial, religious, geographic, or political differences -- and unite in a common national purpose. This rubbed some people the wrong way. Some found it naïve, some even found it cynical. But whatever else you might say about all that happy talk, even conservatives would have to admit that it appealed to our better natures. We'd all like to believe that even if it doesn't happen very often, we should aspire to find our commonalities, allow our diversity to make us a stronger country, and treat each other with respect even when we disagree. Don’t we believe that? Just something to think about, as the people who like to call themselves "the party of Lincoln" undertake as their latest cause the repeal of the 14th Amendment, so that we might deny citizenship to children born in America based on the immigration status of their parents. This happens while...

Future of Marriage Now Up to One Guy

As you've no doubt heard, yesterday a federal judge struck down California's Proposition 8, which outlawed marriages between same-sex couples. This is the first step in a process that will ultimately lead to Anthony Kennedy deciding whether gay people can get married. This decision wasn't a surprise to anyone who followed the trial -- the side defending Prop. 8 put on a pathetic case, calling only two (not particularly compelling) witnesses and making arguments they seemed to have no idea how to defend when those arguments were cross-examined. Their biggest problem was that in order to justify constraining the rights of gay people, they had to explain the harm done to straight people's marriages when gay people are allowed to marry. And they just couldn't do it. This ended up being the factual basis on which the decision rested. And all their talk about how important and wonderful marriage is only reinforced the fact that denying it to gay people was a serious harm done to them, one...

There's Socialists in Them Thar Bike Lanes.

Most progressives are feeling uneasy about this fall's elections, the results of which will probably be somewhere between "that could have been worse" and "Oh. My. God." I'm willing to bet that many of the nutball Tea Party candidates who have emerged will end up proving too extreme even for an angry electorate (and some of them have already lost primaries). But some of them are going to win. And when you hear what they actually believe, it's pretty frightening. Witness this story about Colorado governor candidate Dan Maes (via Think Progress ). Cue the crazy: Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper 's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community." "This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial. Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's...

Missing George W. Bush, Again.

As I (and plenty of other people) have said a million times, conservatives who fancy themselves tough-talkin' terror fighters do a great deal of service to al-Qaeda when they do things like oppose an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan. They validate all the arguments al-Qaeda makes, particularly the one that says that America is engaged in a clash of civilizations with Islam, and that Americans think all Muslims are their enemies. Whether out of stupidity or cynicism, people like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich who are leading this charge are telling Muslims all over the world that Osama bin Laden is right about America. Yesterday, Kevin Drum was making this point, and said, "For once, I really do miss George Bush . The damage he did to the American cause in the Muslim world is incalculable, but at least he never countenanced this kind of lunatic bigotry." Matt Yglesias responded , "George W Bush isn’t dead. He's alive and well. If he wanted to stand alongside Mayor Bloomberg...

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