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

Hey You Non-White Kids, Get Off of My Lawn.

I've often noted that the changing geographic distribution of immigrants has a lot to do with the "I want my country back!" sentiment that has become so visible in recent months. At one time, if you lived in a suburb or a small town, you were unlikely to encounter people speaking a language other than English very often, if at all. Now that people all over the country see immigrants in their communities, many feel as though something has been taken from them. But William Frey of the Brookings Institution (via Andrew Sullivan ) points us to a fascinating piece of data that brings more depth to this picture. The ferment in Arizona, he explains, might have something to do with the fact that "the state’s swift Hispanic growth has been concentrated in young adults and children, creating a 'cultural generation gap' with largely white baby boomers and older populations, the same demographic that predominates in the recent Tea Party protests." Arizona has the largest gap of any state between...

Grumbling in the White House Press Corps

President Obama with reporters in happier times (White House/Pete Souza) Politico has an interesting piece up about displeasure within the White House press corps, which feels that it has been mistreated by the administration's press operation. Some of the complaints aren't particularly meaningful (Favoritism toward The New York Times , which sets the agenda for the whole media world? Shocking!). Others, however, are more troubling -- like the assertion that the White House retaliates against reporters who write things it doesn't like, with angry calls and e-mails and the occasional call to the reporter's editor. That's the kind of thing reporters rightly condemned George W. Bush 's White House for (see this ahead-of-its-time Prospect article by Nicholas Confessore ). It's also something that matters a lot more to the public than whether the president is spending enough of his time schmoozing with reporters (which makes them feel important and gives them more quotes for their stories...

Today In Church-State News.

Item No. 1 : The Supreme Court ruled that a cross erected on federal land in the Mojave Desert to honor war dead from World War I can stay. Item No. 2 : Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell , fresh from his Confederate History Month debacle, sought to reach out to people not like him by reversing a policy instructing state police chaplains to offer only nonsectarian prayers at department-sponsored events. Now, the chaplains will be able to talk all they want about Jesus at these official events, making clear to everyone just who the state believes is the one true god. What ties these two pieces of news together is the common belief among those not just in the numerical majority, but also in a position of dominance, that forcing everybody to live by rules and customs that privilege your particular perspective is just the natural thing to do. When the Court heard the Mojave cross case, justice Antonin Scalia was amazed that anyone could think a cross was particularly Christian -- he felt it just...

Palin 2016!

Over at the Atlantic , Josh Green and Andrew Sullivan are having something of a feud, complete with not-so-restrained insults, about the question of whether Sarah Palin will run for president in 2012 -- Josh says no , Andrew says yes . There are reasonable cases to be made on each side, but I'm in leaning Josh's direction. I'll admit that I find Palin to be a fascinating political figure, not least because of the fact that someone of such modest intelligence, experience, and overall political gifts can nonetheless manage to, well, make so many people fascinated with her. Let's put aside for the moment the terrifying implications of a Palin presidency. Could she actually do it? To answer, you have to look first at what it would take to succeed at it. Running a successful presidential campaign is incredibly difficult, and dozens of smart, talented, motivated people have tried to do it and failed miserably. You need a combination of political dexterity, judgment, knowledge, and vision...

Ukrainian C-SPAN Is Much Livelier Than Ours.

We live, it is said, in an era of angry political polarization. Yet if you watch congressional floor debates on C-SPAN, you can't help but be struck by the elaborate rituals of politeness: "I yield to the gentlelady from Michigan," "Would the chair entertain a motion?", "My good friend from Texas seems to have his head up his ass." OK, the latter wouldn't happen -- because if it did, the offending party would have his words "taken down," which is a stern rebuke in which the remarks are stricken from the record. In other places, they aren't so restrained. In Taiwan, for example, legislators routinely engage in fistfights, at least if our American news broadcasts are to be believed (they can't resist a good Taiwanese legislature fistfight). Great Britain has the spirited tradition of "question time," in which the prime minister comes to the House of Commons to engage in a fast-moving back-and-forth with the opposition, most of whom are of the opinion, which they are happy to share, that...

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