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 Impossibility of Having an Intelligent Conversation About Government, Part 4,592

We're spending a lot of time these days talking about the proper size of government, an eternal debate in American politics. You've probably gotten frustrated recently when you see Tea Partiers talking about how they feel terribly oppressed by the tyranny of things like the stimulus bill. "What the hell are they talking about?" you ask yourself. The idea that the federal government funding things like highway projects is pretty much the same thing as the Stasi bugging your house and carting your uncle off to jail for making a joke about a local apparatchik seems like something no sane person could believe. So where do they get these ideas? Well, one place they get them is from our nation's lawmakers. Think Progress gives us this rather amazing video , featuring Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia: BROUN: I tell ya, we’ve got some new problems in Washington. Big problems. Just today, Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said people in America are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. They...

Zoom Zoom.

(Flickr/ Ivan Walsh ) Amtrak recently released a plan to create a "Next-Gen" high speed rail line on the eastern seaboard. For $117 billion and 25 years of construction (new tracks and tunnels, among other things, would be needed), we could get trains moving 220 miles per hour. And we should -- it would create more economic benefits than the cost, for starters. But just as a reminder of how absurdly behind the United States is in this area, China just tested their newest high-speed train, which goes 258 miles per hour. Not 25 years from now, but now. -- Paul Waldman

Kittens Resting Easy Tonight.

This bundle of cuteness has just been saved by the U.S. Senate. (Flickr/ Stijn Vogels ) Back in April, the Supreme Court struck down a law banning depictions of animal cruelty on the grounds that the statute was overbroad (I wrote a column about it) . The law was meant to crack down on "crush videos" - in which women in high heels are seen stepping on small animals, like our friend pictured above - but the Court worried that the law could be used against things like hunting videos (and the case in question actually involved videos of dogfights). If you thought your representatives in Washington would take that kind of thing lying down, you couldn't be more wrong. Following on a House action from July, the Senate just passed a measure making it illegal to make or distribute crush videos - with appropriate exemptions for videos portraying hunting, fishing, trapping, and other wholesome activities. Not only that, they did it unanimously. Maybe Barack Obama has changed the partisan...

People Like Me, Or Not.

We can all shake our heads and laugh at the likes of Sharron Angle , crusader against big government, who just happens to get her health insurance, and her husband's pension, through the government (he was a government employee). Is it hypocritical? Sure. But there's something a little more subtle going on. Take a look at this interesting conversation Rolling Stone 's Matt Taibbi had with some participants at a Tea Party rally: "I'm anti-spending and anti-government," crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. "The welfare state is out of control." "OK," I say. "And what do you do for a living?" "Me?" he says proudly. "Oh, I'm a property appraiser. Have been my whole life." I frown. "Are either of you on Medicare?" Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me! "Let me get this straight," I say to David. "You've been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor , and your wife...

The Latest Victimization Whine.

During the 1990s, when we spent a lot of time debating campaign finance reform, conservatives argued that restrictions on how much someone could give to a candidate or spend on an election were a violation of free speech. The answer to the problem, they often said, was disclosure. Let a corporation spend as much as it wants on campaigns, as long as we know who's spending what; that will take care of the "appearance of corruption" problem. This argument was unpersuasive then, but even so, now that the Roberts Court has unleashed corporate money with the Citizens United decision, they've changed their tune. Now they're fervently opposed to disclosure of campaign spending. Why? Their rationale now is that we must maintain anonymity to protect against liberal bullies, whether activists or the government. Apparently, they're afraid that patriotic American "persons" like, say, oil and tobacco companies, might find themselves not only the victims of boycotts and nasty e-mails, but they might...