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

God Is My Campaign Strategist.

Not to pile on or anything, but I just had to pull out this quote from a TPM story about our new friend Christine O'Donnell : "During the primary, I heard the audible voice of God," she said. "He said, 'Credibility.' It wasn't a thought in my head. I thought it meant I was going to win. But after the primary, I got credibility." I realize that criticizing someone's religious beliefs gets one into dangerous territory, but crazy is crazy. There are lots of people who believe that whatever thought that pops into their head has been injected by God with his heavenly hypodermic needle, that if you're wavering between ordering the tuna melt or the chicken salad, and then you just get a feeling you're in the mood for tuna, it's because God put that tuna feeling on your heart, and the tuna is a vitally important part of his divine plan for you. That may be inane, but it's at least open to interpretation. Who's to say what the tuna feeling really means? In this case, however, O'Donnell isn't...

Christine O'Donnell: The Rational Conservative's Candidate

The battle within the Republican Party over Christine O'Donnell , erstwhile anti-masturbation activist and newly minted GOP candidate for Senate in Delaware, appears on the surface to be between party insiders who are pragmatic and reasonable, and Tea Party outsiders who are idealistic to the point of stupidity. After all, they just threw over a guaranteed pickup of a Senate seat in favor of a candidate almost sure to lose. But seen another way, pushing candidates like O'Donnell is perfectly rational -- it's just a matter of how far down the road you want to look. Sure, O'Donnell will probably lose. But at least one or two of her fellow teabagging nutballs who also beat establishment candidates in GOP primaries -- like Rand Paul in Kentucky or Sharron Angle i n Nevada -- will probably win. Then they'll be United States senators, with all the attendant ability to garner attention for their views. And before you know it, we'll be having serious debates about the Kenyan socialist...

Innovations in Newsvertising.

If you watch local morning "news" shows -- I'm not judging here, but just so you know, doing so puts your very soul in mortal danger -- you may have seen various "consumer advocate" types come on and tell you about some awesome new products out there. But guess what? As James Rainey of the L.A. Times tells us (via Romanesko ), they're probably getting paid by the companies that make the products they're telling you about. It's a little infomercial dropped into your "news" program: With summer ending, local television news stations recently rolled out their back-to-school features. In 10 big cities, that meant an appearance by a young mother and "toy expert" named Elizabeth Werner. Werner whipped through pitches for seven toys in just a few minutes. Perky and positive-plus, Werner seemed to wow morning news people in towns like Detroit, Atlanta and Phoenix. They oohed and aahed as they smelled Play-Doh, poked at mechanical bugs and strummed an electronic guitar she brought to the...

More on the Republican Agenda, or Lack Thereof

To add something to what Jamelle said below about the National Journal poll showing that the GOP issue agenda isn't particularly popular, it's not much of a surprise. The Democrats usually have the advantage on issues; as I've been writing for some time , that's why, roughly speaking, Democrats run campaigns with the slogan "Please read my 10-point plan," and Republicans usually run with the slogan, "I love God and America, unlike my hippie terrorist opponent." Barack Obama was the first Democrat in a while to understand that a national campaign had to be built not on a checklist of issues but on identity. But when the National Journal says this, it's missing the point: "The results suggest Republicans could struggle to pass legislation advancing many of the smaller-government themes that have dominated their campaigns in the midterm elections, even if the party wins control of one or both houses of Congress in November." The Republicans actually don't have much of an agenda, and they...

Now I Understand the Future of News.

Been wondering about whether you completely understand the nature of the competition between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ? This video from Next Media, the Taiwanese company behind that computer animation of Tiger Woods fighting with his wife that swept the Internet a few months ago, should clear it up. Or maybe not: My favorite part has to be the dance-off, which may or may not be a homage to the Jets and the Sharks in "West Side Story." Before you start ridiculing Next Media for their bizarre editorial choices, surrealistic visual metaphors, nonexistent commitment to accuracy, and crude animations, check out this article from Wired magazine on the company, which explains the magnitude of what they accomplish: [Company cheif Jimmy] Lai didn't know much about animation, but he knew a lot about assembly lines—he made his first fortune in the garment industry. After two years of trial and error, experimenting with various technologies and seeing exactly how many...

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