Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The Top-Down Romney Campaign

Much of the coverage of the moment is about the problem Mitt Romney is having with Republican base voters, who seem to neither like nor trust him. Their hesitation doesn't seem to be enough to stop Romney from becoming their nominee, but it has, and will continue to have, a multitude of consequences for the Romney campaign. Today, the New York Times points to another one: the shockingly small amount of Romney's fundraising that has come from small donors. You might say, well, money is money, right? And Romney has raised a lot more than his opponents, so what does it matter? The answer is that it has a series of implications for the fall campaign, none of which bode well for him. Some of it is about the practical necessities of a campaign, but perhaps more importantly, it's about the spirit the campaign embodies. But before we get to that, let's look at the numbers: It may be harder to find a hundred people who'll give $25 than that one donor who'll give the legal maximum of $2,500,...

Let the VP Speculation Begin!

Romney's VP won't be nearly this interesting. (Therealbs2002)
Let's face it: never in our lifetimes will we see as disastrous/awesome a vice-presidential choice as John McCain made four years ago when he plucked Sarah Palin from the wilds of Wasilla and set her before the nation. Whoever Mitt Romney chooses to be his running mate, he (yeah, it's going to be a he) is not going to be anywhere near as interesting, maddening, or costly to the GOP ticket. Unlike McCain, Romney is not a gambler. We can be fairly sure that his choice will be vetted a lot more closely, and the ultimate pick will be, above all, safe. This is bad news for people like me who write about politics for a living. I'd go back and see how many words I've spilled over Sarah Palin in the last four years, but I'm afraid of what I'd find. I'm fairly certain I won't be anywhere near as inspired by the person Romney chooses. Will it be repellent white guy Rick Santorum ? No! Will it be boring white guy Rob Portman ? Maybe! Will it be some other boring white guy? Probably! And if...

The Difference a Different Decider Makes

Two different guys.
Two different guys. As the bleating of the Republican war caucus gets louder and louder, it's beginning to sound a lot like 2002, when the Bush administration was treating us to daily news about the terrifying threat posed by Saddam Hussein's vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, ready to incinerate us all in weeks if we didn't launch a war. Some of the same people who made the case then are making the case now that we need to start bombing Iran. As you're watching them, it's hard not to shake your head and say, "Are these people insane? Do they actually believe that it's a good idea for America to start another war in the Middle East? My god, are we getting on this train to disaster again?!?" But before we all get too frustrated, it's important to remember one thing: now matter how loud people like Liz Cheney may shout (and somebody please remind me why anyone should give a crap what she thinks), no matter how much infantile chest-beating we get from the Republican candidates...

Romney's New Health Care Problem

When this campaign started a year or so ago, a lot of people said that whatever his virtues, Mitt Romney simply could not become the presidential nominee of the Republican party, for one reason above all others: health care. He had the misfortune of having passed a popular, successful plan to reform health insurance in Massachusetts, only to watch a nearly identical plan become, in the eyes of his party, the most abominable freedom-destroying monstrosity since the Alien and Sedition Acts. Many smart people thought there was just no way Romney could get past it. Yet here we are, in the wake of Super Tuesday, and Mitt has a healthy delegate lead. No one seriously believes that he isn't going to be the nominee. Throughout this race, health care has certainly been an irritant for him, the cause of many an unpersuasive explanation and absurd protestation. But it hasn't stopped his march to the nomination. The problem Mitt now has is that health care is about to go from being a primary...

His Heart Will Go On

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
In the past couple of weeks, I've probably heard a dozen different Republican operatives say utterly unconvincingly that a lengthy primary season is good for the party. Their nominee will emerge stronger! They get to talk about their issues! No one buys it, particularly since all the evidence (see, for instance, this poll ) suggests that the longer the primary goes, the less popular the Republican party in general and these particular Republicans in particular become. For a long time, Mitt Romney had hoped that Super Tuesday would put an end to all this, and he could stop spending his time pandering to his party's extremists and get on with the more serious business of pandering to independent voters. But after last night, Rick Santorum is going nowhere. And why should he? We can all agree that Santorum, possibly America's most unpleasant politician, will never, ever be president. Whether he knows that I can't say for sure, although I doubt it. But even if he did, is there a reason in...