Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

THE TROUBLE WITH IMPEACHMENT.

THE TROUBLE WITH IMPEACHMENT. Everyone has made good points about the possibility of impeaching President Bush ; there are lots of worthy arguments on both sides. But there's one political factor to consider: much as their epic incompetence at running the government has discredited the very idea of government, making new government solutions substantially harder to get past a skeptical public, Republicans' impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 discredited the very idea of impeachment. Say the word now, and many people think of "a partisan effort to drag the country through a ridiculously disingenuous show trial, trumping up phony claims of 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' for no reason other than revenge on your political enemies." It almost doesn't matter anymore what the president does; anyone who proposes impeachment is going to be greeted by many people with nothing but eye-rolling. Given that, short of killing a man on national television for looking at him funny, the president...

YOU TALKIN' TO ME?

YOU TALKIN' TO ME? Via Matt Yglesias , we see a study reported in the Washington Post showing that Major League pitchers from the South are dishing out the chin music. "I found that pitchers from the South are not more likely in general to hit batters,” said the study's author, Thomas Timmerman , “but they are much more likely to hit batters after giving up a home run, or after a teammate has gotten hit the previous half-inning.” Timmerman speculates that the South's "honor culture" is to blame. At the risk of convincing yet more people that I have something against our brothers and sisters from Dixie - or more accurately, just our brothers - I refer you to this study from 1996. It involves some rather interesting experiments. From the abstract: Participants were University of Michigan students who grew up in the North or South. In 3 experiments, they were insulted by a confederate who bumped into the participant and called him an "asshole." Compared with northerners--who were...

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...

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