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

WHY NOT GO ALL THE WAY?

WHY NOT GO ALL THE WAY? Barack Obama is getting some flak from his opponents for coming out in favor of some mild alterations in the Cuba embargo. So my question is, why not go all the way and advocate ending the embargo completely? But we can't annoy those Cuban-American voters, can we? Gotta prove we're tough on Castro ! The collective cowardice from both parties on this issue is truly stunning. If there was ever a policy that we can all agree has been a complete failure, it's this one. Anyone who thinks that after 45 years, if we just hold out a little longer we'll crush Fidel's will, has to be insane. And the only voters who care so much about this that they'll vote against anyone who opposes the embargo are aging Cuban exiles who are utterly devoted to the Republican Party anyway. Here's a golden opportunity for Obama to show that new thinking he keeps telling us about. What if he said this: "After 45 years, we know the embargo is not working. My opponents are too afraid of...

TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND!

TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND! Today's successful landing of the space shuttle reminded me of something I've been wanting to point out. If you're like most people, your memory of the great space race goes something like this: 1957: Soviets launch Sputnik. Americans get serious about education. 1961: JFK takes office, pledges to put a man on the moon in ten years. 1969: Neil Armstrong steps on the moon. Hooray! We win! The only trouble is, that wasn't the whole story. In fact, for all the extraordinary achievement of our space program, except for the Big Enchilada of getting a man to the moon first, the Soviets pretty much kicked our asses at every other step along the way. Not only did they get the first satellite up, they had the first living being in space ( Laika the dog, who sadly did not return to gambol in the Siberian snow), the first man in space, the first woman in space, the first person to orbit the earth, the first man-made object to orbit the sun, the first man-made object on...

The Utter Uselessness of the Petraeus Report

If you think the White House-penned report on Iraq will be anything other than a validation of "the surge" and the Bush administration's larger strategy, you haven't been paying attention.

President Bush meets with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the incoming Commander of Multi-National Force, on Jan. 26, 2007 in the Oval Office of the White House. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Just a few weeks from now, the most eagerly anticipated premier of the year will finally be here, complete with fierce disagreement among the critics and relentless hype by the producers, cameras furiously clicking when the starring players emerge in public. That premier is the report coming in mid-September from U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and, more importantly, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of American forces there. If you're expecting a surprise ending, you shouldn't hold your breath. But it isn't just the report itself that is utterly predictable. The script for what will come afterward is a sure thing, too. Unfortunately for President Bush, the public is approaching Petraeus's report with a healthy degree of skepticism. A CNN poll last week asked respondents this question: "As you may know, in September the top U.S. commander in Iraq will report to the President and Congress about how the war is going. Do you trust him to report what's really going on in Iraq without...

LIFTING THE VEIL.

LIFTING THE VEIL. Lots of people are talking today about whether Karl Rove is attacking Hillary Clinton in order to boost Clinton's chances to become the Democratic nominee, on the assumption that she is the most beatable candidate. What's unusual about this is that some in the press (see the Los Angeles Times ) are trying to discern Rove's motives by contemplating the idea that he might be attempting to get them to write a particular story, as opposed to just taking his words at face value. Back when Rove was considered a political genius, the press was much more likely to examine his words for their inherent wisdom and brilliance. Consider July 4, 2003, when during an appearance at an Independence Day parade, Rove made a big show, in front of reporters, of letting it be known that Howard Dean was the candidate Republicans saw as the weakest in the general election. Here's how the Washington Post reported it: Rove Spends the Fourth Rousing Support for Dean By Juliet Eilperin July 5,...

NICE COUNTRY YOU'VE GOT HERE. IT'D BE A SHAME IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO IT.

NICE COUNTRY YOU'VE GOT HERE. IT'D BE A SHAME IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO IT. Via Greg Sargent , we get the latest sample of Rudy Giuliani 's singular charm: Answering questions at a town-hall meeting, Giuliani was asked why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when his children aren't backing him. "I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America," Giuliani said calmly and quietly. "The best thing I can say is kind of, 'leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone.'" Is it just me, or does that sound like a thinly-veiled threat? If I were that voter, I'd invest in an alarm system for my house. Eight years ago, we were told that what was really important to voters was which candidate they'd rather share a beer with. The thing about Giuliani is that, simply put, the guy's a jerk. Not even his own supporters, I suspect, would seriously disagree with this point. In New York, he got elected because he...

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