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

What the Right Still Doesn't Get About the Media

(Photo: AP/Alan Diaz)
(Photo: AP/Alan Diaz) GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at a new conference in Florida on November 6. B en Carson now faces the intense scrutiny every front-running presidential candidate gets, and he doesn't like it one bit. Carson is now facing allegations that he has exaggerated, embellished, or even made up parts of his oft-told life story, not to mention extended discussion of his more outlandish statements. But to all this, Carson has a ready answer, one he knows will send conservative heads nodding in agreement: The liberal media is out to get me. In an unusually combative (for him) press conference on Friday, Carson charged the media not only with being unfair to him, but also of giving Barack Obama a free ride in 2008. "I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running," he said. "In fact, I remember just the opposite." This is a longstanding belief in conservative circles, but if you pay close attention you'll notice that...

Why the Media Are Digging Jeb Bush's Grave

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
AP Photo/Charles Krupa Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addresses a gathering during a campaign stop outside Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Thursday, October 29, 2015. W hy hasn't Jeb Bush started complaining about the liberal media yet? Maybe it's because he knows that at this critical moment for his campaign, it's important to look sunny and optimistic. But he'd have a much better case to make than his primary opponents, who are all whining about how CNBC was mean to them at their last debate. The coverage of Jeb's campaign right now is unremittingly negative, in ways that are, if understandable, not exactly fair. The Jeb Bush Deathwatch has begun, and it's going to be awfully difficult for him to get past it. Back in 1983, scholars Michael Robinson and Margaret Sheehan first wrote about "deathwatch coverage" in their book about the media's role in the 1980 presidential campaign, Over the Wire and on TV . "The...

Jeb Bush's Terrible Timing

(Photo: Las Vegas Sun via AP/Steve Marcus)
(Photo: Las Vegas Sun via AP/Steve Marcus) Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks in Las Vegas on October 21. I t's not easy being Jeb. Or it least it hasn't been easy this year, when the family scion finally made his run for the presidency, set everything in place to glide to the Republican nomination, and now finds himself spiraling downward toward an ignominious end to his campaign. It's far from over, of course—we're still three months away from the first votes being cast, and as Bush partisans will rush to tell you, eight years ago John McCain's campaign came back from near-death and he won the nomination. But unless something changes radically, the fizzling of Jeb! '16 will be the most remarkable presidential campaign failure since Ed Muskie blundered away the nomination everyone thought was his in 1972. No one should feel sorry for Jeb, a man who has enjoyed a lifetime of privileges afforded only to those lucky enough to be born into his particular family. But his...

Is Hillary Clinton Showing Actual Courage on Guns?

AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to a question during a town hall meeting Friday, October 16, 2015, in Keene, New Hampshire. F or a candidate known for caution, Hillary Clinton is doing something awfully bold right now: advocating for stronger gun laws, pushing to the forefront of the campaign agenda an issue that in recent years Democrats have been afraid to make too much noise about. And she's doing it by attacking the National Rifle Association, which I've been arguing for years is a paper tiger when it comes to elections—but a paper tiger everyone fears. On Friday, Clinton got asked a question about the large gun buyback program Australia instituted after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre , in which 35 people were murdered. In the wake of that event, the country not only bought back hundreds of thousands of guns, it also passed a series of tough gun control measures; Australia hasn't seen a mass shooting since. Clinton spoke about...

Ben Carson, American Gun Advocates, and the Fantasy of Individual Heroism

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik) GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 9. C hances are that you are not a hero. That is to say that you do your job and live your life, but seldom if ever are you called upon to do something extraordinary in a life-or-death moment, some spectacular act of bravery that calls upon otherworldy cunning and physical skill. Compared to a Hollywood action film, your life is rather mundane and ordinary. You don't begin your week on Monday knowing that by Friday you will have leaped from explosions, taken down ninja death squads, or battled supervillains. It's fun to indulge those fantasies from time to time—with enough money, time, and training, maybe I could be Batman!—but most of us are level-headed enough to realize that they are just fantasies. They certainly shouldn't be the source of judgments we make about our fellow human beings, let alone the basis for policymaking. But not everyone...

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