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 2012 Rogue's Gallery.

It's always hard to predict what's going to happen in a presidential race that's a year or two away -- back in 1991, when George H.W. Bush was riding high, somebody actually bet me $100 that no Democrat would beat him in the next year's election. But if you're a Republican today, there are two ways to look at 2012. One is that there's just no way the economy is going to be as bad two years from now as it is today, the president's approval ratings are pretty much exactly following the arc Ronald Reagan 's followed in his first term, Barack Obama is one hell of a campaigner, he'll have lots and lots of money, and maybe it would be best to wait until 2016. The other way to look at it is, hey, his approval ratings are low, Americans hate his socialist agenda, and history demands I run now. I happen to think that whoever's in category 1 has the right idea. But it looks like the field is beginning to form. And if I were Obama, I wouldn't exactly be frightened. Let's look at what we've got...

Don't Worry, That Buzzing Sound Is Just a Google Drone.

(Microdrones GmbH) One of the things that comes through in the growing body of behind-the-scenes reports on Google is that the company sometimes gets surprised when people question its attempts at world domination. After all, they seem to think, our intentions are good, so why should anyone be nervous? Our motto is "Don't be evil"! This is what happened when the company began its project to digitize every book ever written -- they hadn't anticipated that libraries and authors might be a little freaked out. I raise this because of news we get from Popular Science that Google is thinking about purchasing an army of drones, the better to prepare themselves for their inevitable war against the U.S. government. OK, not really. Nevertheless... There's no question that the future of warfare, espionage, and clandestine operations is moving rapidly toward reliance on drone aircraft. But should citizens grow restless when this technology moves into the private sector? A German drone maker...

The Benefits of One-World Government.

Quick question: How many cell-phone chargers are there in your home? If you're like most people these days, you've got a few surplus ones lying at the bottom of a drawer. You can't use them, because they only fit a phone you no longer have. But it somehow seems wrong to just toss them in a landfill. Wouldn't it make sense for every phone to use the same kind of charger? It could be that way, if only we lived under one-world government, which they almost do in Europe, as Ars Technica tells us : Cellphone battery dead? No problem: Just borrow a charger from a friend. Oh, wait — you can’t, because your friend doesn’t have the same phone as you, and his charger won’t work with your phone. That annoyance will end next year, for Europeans at least. Thanks to the efforts of the European Commission, most cellphones sold in Europe will have a one-size-fits-all charger starting in 2011. So far, 10 major cellphone makers, including Apple, Motorola, Samsung and Research In Motion, have signed on...

Democrats' Gay-Marriage Problem

The electorate is increasingly pro-marriage equality. Democrats should stop straddling the issue.

White House senior political adviser David Axelrod. (Flickr/Talk Radio News)
When Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger , the case challenging California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state, plenty of people predicted Democrats would feel a backlash this fall. After all, many believe the events of 2003 and 2004 -- when the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that gays be allowed to marry in the state, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples -- helped George W. Bush win re-election by mobilizing conservatives to vote for state bans on gay marriage. (Scholars who have studied the question have concluded that the issue probably had a small but real effect on the presidential election.) An alternative to the backlash narrative would say that, like immigration, same-sex marriage is an issue that is good for Republicans in the short term but better for Democrats in the long term. On immigration, it's a demographic fact that puts the Republicans in a...

Conservatives Feeling Blue About Gay Marriage

Ross Douthat 's job as a New York Times columnist, like that of his colleague David Brooks , is basically to be a conservative liberals will listen to. Douthat is famously conflicted about same-sex marriage; he's opposed to it, but he has trouble articulating exactly why in a way that doesn't come down to religious dogma. "I am not comfortable making arguments against gay marriage to my gay friends," he once told Mother Jones , "And if you're not comfortable making arguments against gay marriage to your gay friends, you shouldn't be comfortable making them to anybody, probably, so I don't tend to make them." But today he gives it his best shot , and it's one that's almost sad. He quite forthrightly details the weaknesses in the case most people make against marriage equality -- for instance, the false idea that marriage has "always" been between one man and one woman -- and concludes with this note of resignation: If this newer order completely vanquishes the older marital ideal, then...