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 DOWD MANIFESTO.

THE DOWD MANIFESTO. John Edwards , you're on notice: Maureen Dowd has proclaimed her intention to do everything in her power to destroy your candidacy. No one should be surprised that Dowd would be all over the story of Edwards's $400 haircuts. After all, she is the least substantive of columnists, the most eager to grab on to some sartorial or personal grooming tidbit about a candidate and present it as not just a symbol of some larger deficiency of character, but as the very essence of the man or woman in question, the reason we should all sneer at the candidate in disgust. And there's nothing Dowd loves more than calling politicians sissies. So this was how her Saturday column (available here to snooty elitist Times Select subscribers) began: Whether or not the country is ready to elect a woman president or a black president, it's definitely not ready for a metrosexual in chief. So Dowd will make it her personal mission to ensure that everyone within reach of her keyboard will be...

Blowing Off the War

You might have had this experience at one time or another: Armed with an opinion you may not have thought much about, you find yourself arguing with someone who disagrees with you on a topic of current events. As the debate proceeds, you begin to understand that you're actually wrong. The arguments you make to support your position grow thinner and less germane, shot down easily by your adversary, to the point where you know you've lost. You look anxiously around at those who are listening, wondering if their opinion of you will be forever diminished. What to do? Surrender, and lose face by admitting you don't really know what you're talking about? Soldier on, and risk looking more and more foolish? Neither option is particularly appealing. And what if the topic in question is one on which you have practically staked you entire career -- one whose outcome threatens not only the health of your political party but your entire ideological worldview? What would you do then? As it happens...

THE CLOVEN-HOOFED ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

THE CLOVEN-HOOFED ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. Count on Fox News to ask the tough questions : Was Cho Seung-Hui schizophrenic � psychotic � manic-depressive? Or were the shooting deaths of 32 people, including Cho himself, at Virginia Tech University part of the ongoing struggle between God and Satan � good against evil � lightness and darkness? Could Cho have been possessed by the Devil? Could that explain the massacre at Virginia Tech? Dr. Richard Roberts , president of Oral Roberts University, shouts an unequivocal �Yes!� �Based on what I�ve seen in the news," Roberts said in an interview, "there�s no doubt that this act was Satanic in origin." Well that explains it. Meanwhile, there are some people out there even more despicable than the Derb . Neal Boortz , whose syndicated radio show is heard on hundreds of stations, said on Tuesday, �How the hell do 25 students allow themselves to be lined up against the wall in a classroom and picked off one by one? How does that happen, when they...

CHARACTER.

CHARACTER. Anyone wondering what John Edwards thinks about religion -- his own, and the country�s -- would do well to read this long interview he did with Beliefnet . As a non-believer myself (and yes, more of us should be willing to say so publicly -- kudos to Harold for doing so recently ), I found a good deal there to make me comfortable with Edwards. Despite his professions of a powerful faith, he declines to say that America is a Christian nation, and comes out against organized prayer in schools and posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings, two distressingly popular items on the Christian right agenda. Amongst all the recent discussion of how much voters should consider candidates� personal lives, there is something else to note. In the interview, Edwards says that after their son Wade was killed in a car accident in 1996, �my faith came roaring back and has stayed with me since that time.� I have no idea if I�m representative, but as a parent, I can tell you that the...

ASK THE REPUBLICANS.

ASK THE REPUBLICANS. So now John Edwards, Barack Obama , and Hillary Clinton have all been asked, with varying results, whether they agree with Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace �s assertion that homosexuality is �immoral.� Much ink has been spilled on their answers. But I haven�t seen that the leading Republican candidates for president have been asked the question, and I�d be interested to hear the results. Mitt Romney would probably give a full-throated �You betcha!� -- fervor of the converted, you know. McCain , I�m guessing, would hem and haw in a pathetic and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to signal to the conservatives that he�s on their team without sounding intolerant. But what about Rudy ? The guy who dresses up in drag, has plenty of gay friends, and used to march in the annual gay pride parade in New York? He�s obviously not going to say homosexuality is immoral. But if he dodges, it ought to be just as big news as it was for Hillary. This is hardly the only uncomfortable...

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