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

Was George W. Bush a Real Conservative?

Remember this guy? Heh-heh-heh.
Conor Friedersdorf responds to a post I wrote, in which I noted that Ron Paul's attack on Rick Santorum basically amounts to assaulting Santorum for having been a Republican senator when George W. Bush was president, and today that means you're not a conservative: Just to be clear, having supported "Dubya" does in fact mean that you weren't a real conservative! His hubristic attempt to remake the political culture of foreign nations via military occupation was not conservative. His profligate spending habits were not conservative. His empowerment of the federal education bureaucracy at the expense of state and local control was not conservative. His approach to immigration reform—a guest-worker program—wasn't conservative either. Perhaps it would be easier to respect his departures from conservative orthodoxy if he'd been a good president. As it stands, he was unprincipled and a pragmatist's nightmare. If the conservative movement was more grounded in substance, and less concerned...

Romney's Out of Flops on Abortion

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
Lots of politicians, and quite a few presidential candidates, have changed their minds on abortion. This is partly because, in its broadest terms, it is a weighty, complex issue with a legitimate case to be made on both sides, even if one side has a stronger case (I'm not talking here about subsidiary issues like parental consent or the despicable laws requiring women to get ultrasounds or anything like that, just the basic question of whether abortion is right or wrong). It's also because in recent years, both parties have tolerated less and less deviation on the issue, particularly in anyone who wants to be their presidential nominee. There are still a few pro-life Democrats (like Harry Reid) and pro-choice Republicans (like Olympia Snowe), but the days when someone could hope to get on a national ticket without toeing the line on abortion are gone. So if you've been around a while, there's a chance you held one belief in your early years, but then moved to align with your party...

Quote of the Day

And on the eighth day, He endorsed a candidate.
"Those kinds of things tell me that God is on [Rick Santorum's] side and bringing him forward." — Arizona voter Bill Vogt, speaking to NPR about Santorum's good poll numbers in the state.

Smile For the Camera, Citizen

A taste of what's to come (Flickr/webjones)
The last few years have not been good to people who care deeply about privacy. Every few months, some new story comes to light about how corporations or government are gathering, sorting, and storing huge amounts of information about us. After a brief spate of interest, people generally go back to what they were doing before. "My iPhone is tracking my movements? Wow, that's creepy. But is Siri awesome, or what? I can't wait for the iPhone 5..." But what if the invasion of your privacy was a little more physical? Alexis Madrigal suggests that when drone aircraft start buzzing over our houses, we may finally get off our duffs and demand some limits to the spying: Drones, in my mind, make it clear how many of our feelings about privacy rest on the assumption that surveillance is time consuming or difficult. If someone smokes a joint in her backyard, she [is] making the (pretty good) calculation that a police officer is not watching. In our cars, we assume we can quickly send a text...

Mitt Romney's Wingman

Ron Paul's constant support for Mitt Romney has been one of this campaign's enduring mysteries. Paul has attacked every other candidate, often with vigor, but has never aimed his sites at Romney. And now he's taking on Rick Santorum directly, with his admaker's unusual (for political ads, anyway) style of hyper-kinetic, animation-based frenzy. Check it out: We'll get to the substance in a minute, but first, why is Paul doing this? I guess you could argue that if he helps Romney knock off Santorum, then it's just him and Romney. The hottest conspiracy theory is that Paul is actually working to secure a VP nod for his son, the spectacularly awful Rand Paul, and Dad carrying water for the probable nominee is the best way to do it. But nobody really knows what lurks in the heart of Paul. The attack on Santorum is actually pretty revealing. It all flies by pretty fast, but in there you have that Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling; "doubled the size of the Department of Education" (...