Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Billy, Do You Like Movies About Gladiators?

Today's New York Times has a long op-ed by retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak arguing for keeping the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy in place, and it's an interesting document. McPeak isn't some Republican war-monger -- he opposed the Iraq War and endorsed Barack Obama during the 2008 primaries. But his argument here shows how hollow the defenses of DADT are growing. McPeak makes a lot of detailed and not particularly persuasive points about how many gay people have been tossed from the armed services (essentially arguing that it's really not that big a deal in terms of money spent and talent lost), then addresses the comparison to Harry Truman 's decision to integrate the armed forces in a way I haven't seen before. "No doubt Truman’s action was a landmark in the civil rights struggle," McPeak writes. "However, the order was not actually sufficient inducement for the armed forces to do the right thing." He goes on to explain that the Army and Navy slow-walked...

Sympathy for the Mittster.

I almost feel bad for Mitt Romney . He's obviously a smart guy, and when he was governor of Massachusetts he was pretty much the technocratic kind of governor the voters expected -- not pushing conservative social issues too far, creating a health-care reform that's a lot like what the Obama plan ended up looking like. But since he wants to be president, he has to get past a Republican primary electorate that really doesn't care about smarts and technocratic skill. Identity politics is king in the GOP, and Mitt just doesn't have an identity he can hang his hat on. As someone without any evident sense of self, he'll put on whatever identity he thinks will work. He changed positions on things like abortion and immigration, and there have been few political spectacles more absurd than his speech at the 2008 convention, when this Harvard-trained, son-of-a-former-governor-and-corporate-CEO, centimillionaire Massachusetts resident whipped up the crowd with his alleged scorn for the "Eastern...

Rove Returns, As Dishonest As Ever.

Karl Rove 's memoir will be coming out soon, and apparently, there's something he's genuinely contrite about: "The former White House political adviser blames himself for not pushing back against claims that President George W. Bush had taken the country to war under false pretenses, calling it one of the worst mistakes he made during the Bush presidency." Yes indeed, if there's one thing Rove and the Bush administration failed to do, it's criticize their opponents for not supporting the president's war policy. But before this bit of Bizarro World fantasy worms its way into anyone's mind, let's take a moment to review some things Bush and Cheney told us in the run-up to the war, specifically on the question of Iraq's allegedly terrifying arsenal of weapons: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. ... We now know that Saddam has...

The GOP's Foolish Optimism on Health Care.

As folks are noting , congressional Republicans are now engaging in a round of what we on the Interwebs call "concern trolling" on the health-care issue -- offering friendly "advice" to their opponents, counseling them to do the opposite of what they actually ought to do. In this case, Republicans are telling Democrats that if they pass health-care reform, it'll be really bad for them in the November elections. Obviously, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell don't have Democrats' best interests at heart, and are at least in part trying to spook them into hesitation. No one who knows anything about politics could actually be dumb enough to believe that at this point, it would be better for Democrats to walk away from health-care reform than to pass a bill and gain the legislative victory. Nevertheless, I think that Republicans do feel that even though losing on health care would be disastrous for Democrats, passing the bill will also be bad for Democrats. They may think they can make some...

Our Changing Relationship to the News.

The Pew Internet & American Life project just released its latest survey on media use, and the results show both the transformation and stasis in our media diets. The big headline seems to be that "The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day." Sixty-one percent of Americans get news online in a typical day, but only 50 percent read their local newspaper, while 17 percent read a national paper like the New York Times or USA Today (Pew didn't say how many of the 50 percent are also in the 17 percent, but presumably it's enough to bring the total below 61 percent). Clearly, people are getting news from more places than ever before (46 percent said they got news from four to six sources in a typical day). But there's also some not-so-great news. The most popular news source for Americans remains local television news, just as it has been for decades. Fully 78 percent of Americans watch local news on a typical day, according to this...

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