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

GET YOUR HUNGER UNDER CONTROL.

GET YOUR HUNGER UNDER CONTROL. In today's Times , Maureen Dowd takes a predictably sneering look at Hillary Clinton 's Sopranos video (if you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it at her web site ). Fine -- nothing surprising there. But Dowd feels the need to throw this in: "And like Tony, Hillary is so power-hungry that she can justify any thuggish means to get the prize." Haven't we had enough of this? Dowd should be smart enough to know that she, like so many others, is applying a ridiculous double-standard to Clinton. How many times has she called Rudy Giuliani "power-hungry," or Mitt Romney , or John Edwards , or Barack Obama ? After all, they're all running for president. You have to have a pretty strong thirst for power to subject yourself to the marathon of begging, pandering, and humiliation that is a presidential campaign. Yet there's not supposed to be anything wrong with a man who is ambitious, while the same ambition in a woman is described as sinister, even pathological...

THE DIXIE BONUS. Ezra

THE DIXIE BONUS. Ezra notes below, " Edwards ' Southern accent and manners are critical in his ability to project a much more combative, sharp form of liberalism than the others are offering. What would sound like Marxism from the mouth of Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton sounds like good, old-fashioned, American populism from Edwards." From the standpoint of public perceptions, I don't disagree. And let's put aside Edwards' smooth-but-not-slick manner for a moment (to understand where smooth crosses over to slick, see Mike Huckabee ). My question is, why is it that Edwards' accent makes what he has to say more palatable? And why is Edwards at least partly right that he can go to places where Clinton, and to an extent Obama , can't? Part of this is that, to be frank, while people in Rhode Island or Oregon don't look on presidential candidates who come from regions other than their own with suspicion, lots of southerners seem to be reluctant to vote for people who don't share their drawl...

The Party of No Ideas

The quest for the GOP presidential nomination has been remarkable in its utter lack of substance, even by the low standards of political campaigns. What accounts for the vacuousness?

Two years ago, in a much-discussed cover article for The New Republic called "The Case Against New Ideas," Jonathan Chait argued that Democrats should resist the pleas of pundits to look for their political salvation in new plans and visions. But as the 2008 race gathers speed, it appears to be the Republicans who have abandoned ideas -- new or otherwise -- in a quest for the GOP nomination that has been remarkable in its utter lack of substance, even by the standards of contemporary campaigns. Think about it this way: Can you think of a single substantive proposal consisting of more than a sentence or two that any of the GOP candidates has made on the campaign trail? I'm not even talking about some lengthy policy paper or plan for overhauling a major sector of government. But any idea to do something, anything, differently than the Bush administration has? The closest one can come is the immigration bill that Congress is debating, of which John McCain is a co-sponsor. But one gets...

MARCHING LEFT.

MARCHING LEFT. Michael Kinsley notes something that has been apparent for some time: On no issue is history moving faster than on "gay rights"--an already antiquated term for full and equal participation and acceptance of gay men and women in American life. The work is not finished, of course, but what took black Americans more than a century, gays have accomplished in two or three decades (thanks in no small part to blacks, who designed the template for this kind of social revolution). We still argue about it, but the whole spectrum of debate has moved left. A right-wing thug like Tom DeLay or Newt Gingrich probably has more advanced views about homosexuals than dainty liberals of the past century like Adlai Stevenson or Hubert Humphrey . And whatever the actual views, public expressions of overt homophobia are now unacceptable from any national politician. Kinsley is right that the speed with which the debate on gay rights has shifted to the left is simply incredible. Think about...

Religion and the Threat Effect

Research shows that the more secularists there are living near evangelicals, the more politically conservative those evangelicals will be.

Let's say you're a progressive who isn't religious, and you aren't afraid to say so. You've long since cast off the beliefs your parents held, and you never find yourself in a house of worship unless someone you care about is getting married or getting buried. You move to a new town and find that, as in many places, most of your neighbors are churchgoing folk. When one of these neighbors asks you what church you and your family belong to, you say without hesitation, "We don't belong to a church – we're not believers." Before you know it, everyone on the block has heard about you and your brood of apostates. Just what effect are you and your family going to have on your neighbors? A new awakening, in which passionate but respectful discussion leads everyone to examine their own beliefs and find new shades of grey they didn't think about before? When election day rolls around, will your neighbors give more consideration to those Democrats you keep talking about? Maybe not. In an article...

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