Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. 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

The Republican Democrat

Pick your tired metaphor -- take-no-prisoners, brass knuckles, no-holds-barred, playing for keeps -- however you describe it, the Clinton campaign is not only going after Obama, they're doing so in awfully familiar ways.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in Las Vegas after Hillary Clinton was declared winner of the Nevada Democratic caucus. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
For the past few years, progressives have been saying that one of the most important things Democrats needed to do was to get tough. Republicans had been kicking sand in their faces too long, and the time had come to hit back just as hard. In my own contribution to this chorus, I started a chapter in my last book by quoting Sean Connery's character from The Untouchables : "They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way." But now the candidate who should be as familiar as anyone with "the Chicago way" -- given that he's actually from Chicago -- is on the receiving end of some less than polite politics, and more than a few progressives don't like what they're seeing. Barack Obama and his advisors did a lot of careful planning for this campaign, but there's one thing it doesn't seem they prepared for: Their main opponent, Hillary Clinton, is running like a Republican. And it appears to be working. Three...

FUDGING FACTS ON THE NEVADA CAUCUS

So yesterday Bill Clinton was asked by a reporter about the lawsuit filed by Clinton supporters in Nevada trying to squash the at-large caucus sites at which casino workers would be able to vote in Saturday's caucus, and he got all up in the dude's grille : Clinton, just inches from his face, fired back. ''There were teachers who filed the lawsuit. You have asked the question in an accusatory way, so I will ask you back,'' the former president said. ''Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give people who worked in the casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct?'' ''Did you know that? Their votes will be counted five times more powerfully, in terms of delegates to the state convention, compared to delegates to the national convention.'' Matthews noted the state party approved the set up. Clinton: ''What happened is nobody understood what happened ... they uncovered it. And now everybody's saying, ''Oh, they...

The Huckabee/Obama Challenge

Both candidates highlight generational divides in their respective parties and bring into question theories of political engagement that have guided the evangelical and civil-rights movements for decades.

There is little question that of the two electoral coalitions that dominate our politics, it is the Republican one whose internal disputes and fissures are the deepest and most threatening to its future prospects. And the forces represented by the Republican presidential candidates are currently pushing at each other, the fingers of blame ready to point once November rolls around. Nonetheless, there is an interesting parallel currently at play in how Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are being received by the key activists and leaders whom one might have expected to embrace them with the greatest vigor. Obama and Huckabee are viewed by the country's black leadership and evangelical leadership, respectively, with a degree of ambivalence and even suspicion that few would have predicted. There are plenty of important differences between the two worth discussing. But both candidacies highlight generational divides and bring into question theories of political engagement that have guided the...

SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS...

I can't imagine I'm the only one who finds the current back-and-forth between the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns on race utterly fascinating, from the standpoint of political strategy. Here you have one of the most explosive and emotion-laden issues in American life, two campaigns that at the moment seem to have almost identical chances of prevailing, a spate of upcoming primary contests, each taking place in a state in which this issue could play out in a unique fashion, and candidates whose histories and identities are tied up with race in complex ways. Add to that the fact that each move by one campaign is met by a counter-move by the other campaign that can upend whatever strategy the first campaign thought it would use. I picture each campaign's strategists standing before a gigantic chalkboard with an enormously complicated path analysis matrix containing hundreds of boxes, arrows, and coefficients, scratching their heads and wondering what to do next. I'm going to...

POLL? WHAT'S A POLL?

I have this crazy dream: one day, a politician will be asked about some poll result or other, and he or she will respond by saying something other than, "I don't pay any attention to polls." I realize that we tolerate lots of white lies from our politicians: "It's great to be here!" "Whatever problem is of most concern to you, that's my highest priority." "I don't worry about the politics, I'm just going to do what's right." But would it be so terrible for one of them to say, "Sure, I pay attention to polls. I don't let them influence what I think about issues, but I always want to know what the public thinks, and polls are one of a number of ways to learn. It's part of the job." But no, instead we get this absurd game, where they all pretend that, sure, their campaigns are spending millions of dollars polling, but they don't have any idea what the results are; they just couldn't care less. What a crock. This comes up because Hillary Clinton delivered the old standby on Sunday's Meet...

Pages