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

SWARTHMOROFASCIST COMES CLEAN.

I feel obligated to chime in on this, since as far as I know, I'm the only TAPPED contributor who attended the sinister kiln in which Swarthmorofascism is fired. Although it's been a few years now since I graduated, back in my day (the late 1980s), the place was a hotbed of compulsive studying and Quaker-bred politeness. Like all good fascists, we championed the campaign of Swarthmore grad and noted radical Michael Dukakis , who was legendary for having written the lengthiest seminar paper in school history. His loss was greeted with much wailing and rending of garments. But in truth, most of the students were too neurotic about their studies to join up with the brownshirts. The emblematic moment for me came at a showing of Star Wars . When Obi-Wan asks Luke to come with him to help fight the Empire, Luke responds, "I can't get involved! I have too much work to do!" The assembled students rose from their seats and cheered. While I was there, the school paper did a long article on what...

ENHANCED BULLS***T TECHNIQUES.

As we go around and around on waterboarding yet again, I couldn't help noticing that I cannot recall a single instance in which I've seen a journalist simply refer to waterboarding and similar methods of interrogation as "torture." Yet they use terms like "enhanced interrogation techniques" over and over. The Republicans certainly won the language battle on this one. This is not complicated. Everyone all over the world agrees on what constitutes torture. Torture is the intentional infliction of physical or mental suffering in order to obtain information or confessions. Not hard to understand. Yet Republicans have successfully lured the entire journalistic community into their moral sewer, where there is some degree of suffering (defined not by how awful it is, but by whether it's fast or slow, and whether it leaves visible scars) that marks the line between torture and not-torture. If I rip your fingernails out - torture! If I tie you in a "stress position" designed to gradually...

The Plutocrats v. The Theocrats

As the primaries (finally) approach, it is increasingly apparent that the real GOP battle is between the business wing and the social conservative wing of the party. Is the real showdown going to be over the future of the GOP?

After months of tedium and mindless chest-thumping, the race for the Republican presidential nomination finally got interesting over the last couple of weeks. And the way it did so highlights the fundamental rift threatening the future of the GOP: the divide between the party's corporate/anti-tax wing, which includes the people who write the checks, and its social conservative wing, which includes the people who get bodies to the polls. It's the plutocrats versus the theocrats, and at the moment it's hard to tell who's going to win. Try to imagine the combination of pain and dread now covering the Mitt Romney campaign like a wet wool blanket. After all the work, after all the enthusiastic pandering, after outspending his opponents by millions, after the months in which he was the only candidate airing ads in Iowa, his support there turned out to be a mile wide and an inch deep. At the first opportunity, the social conservatives whose feet he had kissed with such commitment wandered...

GOD IS MY CO-PILOT, AND MY IOWA FIELD DIRECTOR.

Via Mother Jones , we see that Mike Huckabee is claiming in about as explicit a way as he can that God has engineered his recent rise in the polls: Isn't that a tad presumptuous? Or is Huckabee just saying that God is giving him a temporary bump in the polls, only to send his campaign crashing down later, in order to demonstrate to His earthly subjects the danger of hubris and the importance of early fundraising? According to MoJo, Huckabee later tried to backtrack a little bit, saying all he meant was that "when people pray, things happen." I for one want to know much more about Huckabee's views on intercessory prayer as it relates to the duties of the president. If a hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast, will he be asking Americans to ask God to send the hurricane away and instructing FEMA to prepare an emergency response, or only the former? I'm kidding (a little), but if Huckabee wants to run for president as God's anointed candidate - which he plainly does - than he absolutely...

NOW WE'RE GETTING SOMEWHERE.

After the last Republican debate, the press was giddy with talk of negativity. Smackdown! The claws come out! GOP candidates duke it out! You would have thought Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney doffed their shirts and engaged in a good old-fashioned bare-knuckle brawl, with teeth flying and blood dripping from swollen fists. But in truth, it was nothing more than a little mild-mannered back-and-forth about their respective records on immigration (and the citizenship status of the people mowing Romney's lawn). It was nothing - these are Republicans we're talking about. This is the party of Willie Horton , of Karl Rove spreading rumors that his client's opponent was a pedophile, of allies of George W. Bush telling South Carolinians that John McCain fathered an illegitimate black baby, of the Swift Boat Veterans. They haven't even begun to get mean. Which is why it's surprising it took so long to get to things like this (via TPM ). To which I say, bring it on! Let's watch these guys tear...

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