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

Take That, Hippie!

The latest high-profile entry into our Washington media universe, Tucker Carlson 's Daily Caller , launched yesterday. With millions of dollars in venture capital, a staff numbered at 21 (a huge number for an online start-up), and plenty of publicity, the site hopes to be a conservative combination of the Huffington Post and Politico. Out of the box, there are certainly things you could criticize, like the pedestrian design ("Hey, what if we use a lot of bold, blocky capital letters, and everything will be red and blue? No one’s seen that before!"). But there is one thing that really stands out. Carlson has promised that the Daily Caller will do lots of original reporting on Congress and the executive branch, to which we should all say, more power to them. Ideologically motivated or not, we can never get too much reporting. Looking around the site, though, the reporting isn't yet much in evidence. What is evident is a lot of stuff seemingly designed to irritate liberals. Start with...

Yippee Ki-yay to You, Mr. Ailes.

Over the weekend, Fox News chief Roger Ailes was profiled in the New York Times , and some people have mocked Ailes' contention that he might be a terrorist target: As powerful as he is within the News Corporation, Mr. Ailes remains a spectral presence outside the Fox News offices. National security had long been a preoccupation of Fox News, and it was clear in the interview that the 9/11 attacks had a profound effect on Mr. Ailes. They convinced him that he and his network could be terrorist targets. On the day of the attacks, Mr. Ailes asked his chief engineer the minimum number of workers needed to keep the channel on the air. The answer: 42. "I am one of them," he said. "I've got a bad leg, I'm a little overweight, so I can't run fast, but I will fight. "We had 3,000 dead people a couple miles from here. I knew that any communications company could be a target." His movements now are shadowed by a phalanx of corporate-provided security. He travels to and from work in a miniature...

Can Obama Stop the War on Science?

For eight years, Republicans politicized science or ignored it. Now, Obama is trying to reverse the damage.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu looks at prototype magnets for the National Synchrotron Light Source II. (Flickr/Brookhaven National Laboratory)
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama warmed the hearts of progressives when he promised to change "the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology." And when he got into office, he took a number of steps that demonstrated his sincerity. He abolished George W. Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research and announced that he was "directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making." His Department of Energy -- run by Nobel-winning physicist Steven Chu -- is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on exploring innovative new energy sources under its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy ( ARPA-E ), modeled on the Defense Department's DARPA. Obama also increased spending for the National Science Foundation. And he just announced a $250 million public-...

It's Her Story, and She's Sticking To It.

Is it too early to start speculating about the 2012 GOP presidential primaries? Of course not! The race promises to be a chaotic free-for-all of backbiting and recrimination, flip-flops and opportunistic conversions, feigned outrage and vicious attacks over meaningless non-issues. Throw in the fact that the force within the party with the most energy right now – the teabaggers – are not exactly known for their restraint, and it should be a hoot. I've long held that if Sarah Palin runs, her campaign will surely be the most entertaining train wreck to hit American politics in decades. But when I read Nate Silver ’s case that her chances of winning the nomination are actually pretty good, I was reminded of something fundamental that Palin has going for her. Way back in 2007, I wrote a two - part piece on the importance of narrative to a presidential candidacy. I argued that no one on the Republican side was really telling a story about why they were running, while on the Democratic side...

Jesus Fan Club, Alabama Chapter.

Back in early 2007, Mitt Romney faced questions about his religion, and he and his campaign did some pushback, asserting that he was facing a double-standard. He felt he was being asked to be a spokesperson for Mormonism, while other candidates with different religions weren't being asked to do the same. At the time, I wrote a column for the Boston Globe , arguing that if candidates were going to go around saying that nothing is more important to them than their faith (which so many of them do), then we have the right to start asking them specific questions about what they believe. You can't say, "This is the foundation of all that I am, but don't ask me about it." Yet any time those kinds of questions are asked, people find it an inappropriate intrusion into what ought to be a private matter. I was reminded of this when I heard about this amusing dust-up (via Andrew Sullivan ) in the Alabama GOP gubernatorial primary. You see, among Alabama Republicans, it seems the question isn't...

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