Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

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...

ON WILL.

ON WILL. Over the weekend, The New York Times published a story comparing the Vietnam experiences of John McCain and Chuck Hagel , purporting to analyze the connections between those experiences and their positions on Iraq today. The story did a reasonably good job making the connection with regard to Hagel: Mr. Hagel has described seeing a sniper take off the top of the head of a young captain crouching near him in a cemetery. A mine sheared off a fellow soldier at the hips. The execution of the war was baffling. �I saw strange things, as all our guys did,� Mr. Hagel said. �We would take a village, inflict casualties, hold it for a day or two. Then orders come down to get out. You wondered: What was the point?� But the Times made virtually no attempt to really get at what effect McCain�s Vietnam experiences might have had on his thinking, beyond offering some clich�d sound bites from his staff. So at the risk of engaging in bogus armchair psychoanalyzing, let me speculate a little...

SHOULD DEMS BOYCOTT FOX NEWS?

SHOULD DEMS BOYCOTT FOX NEWS? In today�s Los Angeles Times, the wise and measured Ron Brownstein is the latest to weigh in on the should-Democrats-go-on-Fox question (he doesn�t really take a position). There are reasonable arguments on both sides of this question -- you can argue that Democrats should fight everywhere they can, or you can argue that they wouldn�t go on Rush Limbaugh �s show, so why should they go on Fox -- but either way, there�s one common argument we can dispense with easily. As Brownstein says, �the network has a large audience, at least some of whom may be open to Democratic arguments.� But what are we really talking about here? People sometimes forget that cable news actually has a pretty small audience. For instance, the highest rated show on cable, �The O�Reilly Factor,� gets about 2.5 million viewers. That�s compared to around 4.5 million for �Meet the Press,� and around 10 million for each of the top-rated nightly news programs (currently NBC and ABC are...

DON'T BE EVIL?

DON'T BE EVIL? Today the New York Times tells us, under the happy headline, " Google Is Reviving Hopes For Ex-Furniture Makers ," that the internet behemoth is doing the good folks of Lenoir, North Carolina a solid by locating a server farm in their area, where a lot of jobs making furniture have moved overseas. Sounds great, right? Until we get to this: Since the deal in Lenoir (pronounced leh-NORE) was announced in February, city and county officials have found themselves on the defensive, criticized for the secrecy of the negotiations and the package of incentives, potentially worth $260 million, that Google will receive. At Google�s request, the state legislature passed a law exempting some high-tech businesses from paying sales tax on electricity � a tax the company says it would not pay in many other states. And as long as the server farm is operational, the city and county will forgive 100 percent of the company�s personal property taxes and 80 percent of its real estate taxes...

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