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

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...

YOUR JONAH GOLDBERG HOWLER OF THE DAY.

I know, it's too easy to go after Jonah Goldberg for all the ridiculousness that is his book Liberal Fascism But this, from his interview with Salon , is just too funny: Alex Koppelman : You write, "[Liberalism] is definitely totalitarian -- or 'holistic,' if you prefer -- in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists." Couldn't that just as easily be said of the American right? You've got, certainly, conservatives judging entertainment from political perspectives; I remember discussion on [National Review group blog] the Corner of the 2006 Steelers-Seahawks Super Bowl through a political lens. There were "Freedom Fries" and boycotts of French food and wine. And, I mean, your wife worked for [former Attorney General] John Ashcroft, so you...

Why Conservatives' Crush on Obama Is Doomed

The heart of conservative affection for Barack Obama is that he "never brings race into it," by which they mean that he doesn't make them feel guilty about race. Don't count on the affection continuing forever.

Many different kinds of people listen to Barack Obama and get a little weak in the knees. Young people are enraptured by him, political independents are attracted to him, African-Americans are proud of him, progressives are inspired by him. But the praise is also coming from one corner one would least expect: conservatives. David Brooks, house conservative of the New York Times op-ed page, practically wept with joy at Obama's Iowa victory. "You'd have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by this," he wrote the next day. "Whatever their political affiliations, Americans are going to feel good about the Obama victory … Obama is changing the tone of American liberalism, and maybe American politics, too." Rick Brookheiser of the National Review -- yes, that National Review -- wrote on the night of the caucus, "One of our great national sins is being obliterated, as the years pass, by the virtues of our national system. I don't agree with Obama and I don't particularly like him, but...

KEEP HOPE ALIVE?

If it weren’t for the fact that Barack Obama ’s campaign is reluctant to run any negative ads, they would be blanketing the airwaves with one of the key moments from Saturday night’s debate: First, you can just feel the frustration coming off Hillary Clinton . It wasn’t supposed to be this way. She was supposed to have the nomination the way Al Gore did in 2000 -- some limited opposition, easily beaten back. But this youngster, four years removed from being a state senator, comes along, raises as much money as her, runs a brilliant campaign, and beats her in Iowa. One almost expects her to look at Obama and say, “Who the hell do you think you are?” But when she says at the end, “We don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered,” she’s making Obama’s supporters more fervent and driving more people to his cause. To actually say that we shouldn’t have too much hope is about as bleak an argument as one could make. It frames the question as, “Should we...

THE TRIUMPH OF NARRATIVE?

As observant Prospect/TAPPED readers know, I've written a lot about the importance of narrative in presidential campaigns, and I can't help but see Barack Obama 's win in Iowa as evidence of the key role storytelling plays. It has been clear for a long time that Obama had the most carefully constructed and coherent story to his campaign. To put it simply, if you cast a vote for Obama, you know what that vote says about your beliefs about the country, your beliefs about him, and your beliefs about yourself. With the possible exception of Edwards, none of the candidates on either side has a story nearly as clear. And this may be Hillary Clinton 's key problem -- the problem she had in Iowa, and the problem she'll have moving forward. Just what is a vote for her supposed to mean? What kind of a proclamation am I making if I vote for her? For all the Clinton campaign's skill and experience, they never answered this fundamental question. And now it appears that John McCain could well end...

Pages