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

Flurries Reported in Hell.

I was all ready to write a post noting the hypocrisy of conservatives who pilloried Barack Obama for sacking Stanley McChrystal for his insubordination, when those very same conservatives were fond of arguing that it was unconscionably anti-American for anyone, let alone a general, to criticize the commander in chief during a time of war, so long as that commander in chief was a Republican. But guess what happened? In looking around the right side of the web, I've seen some recycled criticism of Obama in general, but almost no one railing against the decision to give McChrystal the boot. There's even some actual praise . Take this post from National Review editor Rich Lowry , titled "Obama's Home Run": I'm not sure how Obama could have handled this any better. He was genuinely graceful about McChrystal and his explanation of why he had to go made perfect sense. He called for unity within his adminstration in pursuing the war and sounded quite stalwart about both the war and about the...

What Would Kissinger Do About Zombies?

A serious foreign-policy problem. (Flickr/ danhollisterduck ) A few months ago, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek column about how the zombie genre of movies, books, and video games is thriving, and how the genre reflects progressive values (that was the tongue-in-cheek part). It got more links than almost any column I've written. The lesson? People love zombies . If you're one of those people, you might want to check out this article from Foreign Policy magazine, in which Dan Drezner offers a primer on how advocates of different foreign-policy theories -- real politik, neo-conservatism, etc. -- would respond to a zombie apocalypse. "The specter of an uprising of reanimated corpses also poses a significant challenge to interpreters of international relations and the theories they use to understand the world," Drezner writes. "If the dead begin to rise from the grave and attack the living, what thinking would -- or should -- guide the human response? How would all those theories hold...

The Journalist and the General.

A few years ago, I was at a party at a conference and found myself chatting with a reporter for another liberal magazine. We talked for a while about politics and the media and then went on to other conversations. About a week later, something I said during that conversation ended up in a story she wrote. She quoted me accurately, and it wasn't anything particularly shocking, but I was still surprised and a little insulted that what I had assumed was just a friendly conversation was actually a secret interview, with her taking feverish mental notes. But she was playing well within the rules everyone who deals with the press understands: When there's a reporter in earshot, you should just assume that whatever you're saying is on the record and may be quoted. And that's particularly true if you invite the reporter to follow you around for a month while he prepares a profile of you for a major magazine, which is what Stanley McChrystal is relearning (I say relearning, because he...

Your Tax Dollars at Work, Air-Conditioning Edition.

(Pat Corkery/NREL) As nice as it would be if we find one magical new technology that will solve all our energy problems from now until forever (and who knows, we might), people who are serious about energy know that the solution to the energy problems that plague us -- global warming, oil spills, and so on -- will probably have to come from a variety of new approaches all working together. Better batteries to move the entire fleet to hybrid or all-electric cars, more efficient solar panels, more use of wind and tidal power -- we're going to need it all. Conservation may be the least sexy part of the equation -- or so you thought! Do the words "syrupy desiccants" get your heart pumping? Well, they ought to, because they could revolutionize that most spectacular of 20th-century inventions, air-conditioning. You've probably never heard of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, but the folks there seem to have created something pretty awesome. It's called the Desiccant-Enhanced...

A Bold New Plan!

Sigh. (Via Daily Kos ) One of the image problems religion has is that a lot of its biggest fans have a rather juvenile conception of God as a capricious and cruel being who needs to be begged to stop being so mean to us -- but can be persuaded to do so if we ask in the right way. After all, if we're praying to God to stop the oil spill, doesn't that mean God caused the oil spill in the first place? Or at least if he wanted to stop it, why didn't he do it right away, instead of befouling so much of his creation and ruining the livelihoods of so many people? And if this is all His Plan, who are we to ask him to change His Plan in the middle of things? Is he going to say, "It was my divine plan for this spill to continue for another month, but since you prayed ... oh, all right." These are questions one would hope a child would begin to ask in Sunday school. But throwing up our hands because "man's efforts have been futile," then asking God to step in and solve our problems is probably...

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