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

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...

Miss a Vote? Then You Want the Troops to Die.

This is lovely : Florida Republican Kurt Kelly is slamming Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson , suggesting that his absence during a war-funding vote might mean the freshman lawmaker actually wants American troops to die. In a Friday appearance on Fox Business, Kelly ripped into Grayson for not attending a House vote earlier in the week to provide funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "He missed the vote. He took a walk on the vote to provide supplemental funding for our soldiers,” Kelly said in the interview, which Kelly’s campaign advertised on its YouTube page Monday. “He put our soldiers, our men and women in the military, in harm’s way and, in fact, maybe he wants them to die.” I know nothing about Kurt Kelly -- maybe he's ordinarily a great guy, and he just kind of lost his head there for a minute. But what interests me are the consequences, or lack thereof, for this kind of thing. Sure, it got Kelly into Politico , and Grayson and other Democrats will condemn it...

Our Kind of Conservatives.

In case you needed a reminder that things are different in America, check out this op-ed in the Independent , wherein British Prime Minister David Cameron -- the leader of the Conservative Party, remember -- writes of his commitment to gay rights: There's no single lever we can pull or even collection of measures that we can take to make that happen. The wall of prejudice is also chipped away by high-profile role models, by public celebrations, by a positive approach to diversity. That's why I am proud that there are now more openly gay MPs in the Conservative Party than any other party. It's why I wish the upcoming Pride events – today in Leeds, all week in Brighton and on Saturday in Liverpool – every success. And it's why I congratulate everyone on this list for doing their bit to inspire and change attitudes. This is a country where people can be proud of who they are – and quite right too. Try to imagine for a moment a Republican leader -- say, President Palin -- speaking of her...

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