Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. 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

Judging Politicians.

Today's New York Times featured a profile of Congressman Paul Ryan , in which the author, Matt Bai , dismissed questions about the substance of Ryan's vaunted budget road map, saying, "The more pertinent question is whether Mr. Ryan is the kind of guy who just wants to make a point — or whether his road map represents the starting point in what could be a serious negotiation about entitlements and spending." Paul Krugman , who has been extremely critical of Ryan's plan, gets frustrated : That's completely wrong-headed. My experience — very much based on Bush 2000 — is that a politician's policy proposals offer the best clue to what "kind of guy" he is. Back then, all the professional political reporters were hanging out with W and reporting what a swell guy he was, while I was looking at the flimflam in his tax and Social Security plans, and reaching the conclusion that he was a scammer. Who was right? This points to a couple of long-standing gripes I've had with political reporting...

Freedom Lives.

Ben Smit h wonders whether President Obama will see what a "teachable moment" the controversy over the Islamic center near Ground Zero is and weigh in with a characteristically sensitive and insightful speech or something. "He can understand the pain and anger of both sides, offer something that sounds like a synthesis but winds up roughly where Mike Bloomberg stands." Yeah, that'd be nice. But the thing about teachable moments is that people need to be willing to learn. This episode has reminded us (not that we needed a reminder) that Americans' commitment to American values is, on the whole, pretty thin. Generally speaking, lots and lots of us (including those who proclaim their patriotism most loudly) tend to support things like freedom of speech or freedom of religion only so long as the speech or religion in question is one they otherwise feel warmly toward. But there is one example in recent history of conservative Americans bravely standing up for the constitutional rights of...

Treat Us Better, You Dirty Hippies!

Barack Obama 's White House has plenty of problems these days, one of which is that they feel like they aren't getting enough love from the left. The people who should have their back, who should be touting their accomplishments, aren't -- in their view anyway -- doing enough to help. So press secretary Robert Gibbs apparently thinks the way to address this problem is to mock and insult them : The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity. During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough. "I hear these people saying he's like George Bush . Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy." The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the...

The 2012 Rogue's Gallery.

It's always hard to predict what's going to happen in a presidential race that's a year or two away -- back in 1991, when George H.W. Bush was riding high, somebody actually bet me $100 that no Democrat would beat him in the next year's election. But if you're a Republican today, there are two ways to look at 2012. One is that there's just no way the economy is going to be as bad two years from now as it is today, the president's approval ratings are pretty much exactly following the arc Ronald Reagan 's followed in his first term, Barack Obama is one hell of a campaigner, he'll have lots and lots of money, and maybe it would be best to wait until 2016. The other way to look at it is, hey, his approval ratings are low, Americans hate his socialist agenda, and history demands I run now. I happen to think that whoever's in category 1 has the right idea. But it looks like the field is beginning to form. And if I were Obama, I wouldn't exactly be frightened. Let's look at what we've got...

Don't Worry, That Buzzing Sound Is Just a Google Drone.

(Microdrones GmbH) One of the things that comes through in the growing body of behind-the-scenes reports on Google is that the company sometimes gets surprised when people question its attempts at world domination. After all, they seem to think, our intentions are good, so why should anyone be nervous? Our motto is "Don't be evil"! This is what happened when the company began its project to digitize every book ever written -- they hadn't anticipated that libraries and authors might be a little freaked out. I raise this because of news we get from Popular Science that Google is thinking about purchasing an army of drones, the better to prepare themselves for their inevitable war against the U.S. government. OK, not really. Nevertheless... There's no question that the future of warfare, espionage, and clandestine operations is moving rapidly toward reliance on drone aircraft. But should citizens grow restless when this technology moves into the private sector? A German drone maker...

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