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

THE PROS VERSUS...

THE PROS VERSUS THE MOB. The other day, the missus and I were watching the Daily Show, and Lewis Black did a very funny rant about things like Conservapedia (created to counter Wikipedia's liberal bias), Fox's "Half Hour Comedy Hour" (created to counter the Daily Show's liberal bias) and Qube TV (created to counter YouTube's liberal bias), and how comically awful they are. "Explain something to me," she said afterward. "Conservatives are so good at campaigns and politics -- they craft effective messages, they make brilliant TV ads, and so on -- so why is it that when they try to do stuff like this, the results are so ridiculously lame?" It was an excellent question, and I think I know the answer. It's the Republican professionals who are really good at politics. They're smart, they're experienced, they're ruthless, and they usually don't let their views on how they'd like things to be distort their judgments about what will be politically effective. The conservative rank-and-file,...

COULTER v. EDWARDS.

COULTER v. EDWARDS. Yesterday's confrontation between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter ( which you can watch here ) showed once again just what a poisonous figure Coulter is. "I want to use the opportunity," Edwards said, "to ask her politely, stop the personal attacks." To this, Coulter responded, "Okay, the wife of a presidential candidate is calling in asking me to stop speaking." She then repeated this a number of times; when Edwards challenged her on her use of "the language of hate" (of which Coulter is one of America's foremost purveyors ), Coulter said sarcastically, "Okay, I'll stop writing books." What's notable here is the way Coulter sees personal attacks and the language of hate as the sum total of what she does. As she sees it, asking her not to attack people personally is not just tantamount to asking her not to write and speak, it is asking her not to write and speak. This is not the first time she has made this argument; in her book "Godless" she complains about 9/11...

Bush's Loyal Mess

The Bush years have shown us the downside of loyalty.

His loyal servant. (Photo by the Associated Press.)
A year and a half before the Bush era comes to its merciful end, cataloging its failures and pathologies has become not merely a cottage industry but a kind of mass mobilization, a task so vast that it requires the combined efforts of thousands of writers, talkers, thinkers, activists, and ordinary citizens. Every new look at the last six and a half years yields new insight into how government should not operate, another object lesson for future administrations. And one of those lessons of the Bush years is surely that potential disaster lurks behind what we had previously assumed to be a grand virtue: loyalty. In our daily lives, loyalty is a quality greatly prized. We admire those who are loyal to their spouses, their family, their friends, and their employers. We encourage others to be loyal to their school, their town, their state, and their country. We scorn the millionaire free agent casting off his old team for one with a fatter checkbook, and praise the ballplayer who spends a...

EZRALARK LEMON.

EZRALARK LEMON. For those who haven't seen it, you can watch Ezra delivering a first-class ass-whupping to Larry Kudlow and some anti- Michael Moore dude on TVEyes. But watching it, I couldn't help but question my own reaction. It seemed apparent that you have here a debate between 1) A blowhard wedded to his religious views about free markets, blissfully unmoored from evidence or consideration of counter-arguments; 2) An amateur plainly out of his depth, who knows virtually nothing about the topic being discussed; and 3) An appealing young man who -- and get a load of this -- actually knows what he's talking about . Every time Kudlow made an argument, Ezra told him why he was wrong in devastating fashion, marshaling facts and evidence that made clear why Kudlow was utterly deluded. He also displayed an admirable understanding of the medium in which he was operating, using concise summaries of his arguments and some clever debating tactics, as when he questioned the host (they never...

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...

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