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

Friday Music Break

For today's edition of Well-Meaning Pop Songs From the 70's That Make You Cringe, I could have gone with Elvis doing "In the Ghetto," but that would have been too easy. Instead, we've got Cher, with "Half Breed." This particular performance comes from the Sonny & Cher show, and allow me to suggest that the sensitivity the song displays toward people of mixed racial heritage is undermined just a smidge by the fact that they've got her sitting atop a horse in some kind of Indian-themed bikini, with—you guessed it—a headdress atop her head. Toss in a totem pole (which they do), and she's good to go:

The Race-Baiting Continues

(Still from video obtained by
I've been holding off on writing something about the bizarre spectacle of the Derrick Bell "exposé" that has consumed the nuttier corners of the right in the last couple of days, simply because it's so weird and pathetic that I wasn't sure exactly how to talk about it beyond simple ridicule. In case you missed it, here's the story, briefly: Just before he died, conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart said his web enterprises would soon release an explosive video that would transform the 2012 election by revealing Barack Obama's radical ties. The video turned out to be of something that was not only utterly unremarkable, but had been reported before. In 1991, when Obama was a student at Harvard Law School, the school was embroiled in a controversy over the under-representation of minorities on the faculty. Derrick Bell, the first black tenured professor at the school and a widely admired figure in legal circles, announced that he would take a leave until the school made efforts to...

"Repeal and Replace" Goes By the Wayside

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act.
Remember that whole "Repeal and Replace" thing Republicans were going to do about the Affordable Care Act? As Steve Benen tells us , turns out, not so much. Not only have congressional Republicans not bothered to come up with something to replace the ACA with, they're not even going to try the "repeal" part anymore either. Some conservative groups are outraged , since they appear to have been laboring under the impression that those congressional Republicans had a genuine, deeply felt hatred of the ACA and would try to kill it even if the politics didn't look so favorable for such a move. But Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell—perhaps the most practical, unsentimental politician in Washington—says no. Why? Because there's just no margin in it. The attempt would fail in both houses, and would only reinforce the idea that the GOP is nothing but a bunch of grumpy old men who care more about taking things away from people than about helping the country. So the Republican legislative...

The Top-Down Romney Campaign

Much of the coverage of the moment is about the problem Mitt Romney is having with Republican base voters, who seem to neither like nor trust him. Their hesitation doesn't seem to be enough to stop Romney from becoming their nominee, but it has, and will continue to have, a multitude of consequences for the Romney campaign. Today, the New York Times points to another one: the shockingly small amount of Romney's fundraising that has come from small donors. You might say, well, money is money, right? And Romney has raised a lot more than his opponents, so what does it matter? The answer is that it has a series of implications for the fall campaign, none of which bode well for him. Some of it is about the practical necessities of a campaign, but perhaps more importantly, it's about the spirit the campaign embodies. But before we get to that, let's look at the numbers: It may be harder to find a hundred people who'll give $25 than that one donor who'll give the legal maximum of $2,500,...

Let the VP Speculation Begin!

Romney's VP won't be nearly this interesting. (Therealbs2002)
Let's face it: never in our lifetimes will we see as disastrous/awesome a vice-presidential choice as John McCain made four years ago when he plucked Sarah Palin from the wilds of Wasilla and set her before the nation. Whoever Mitt Romney chooses to be his running mate, he (yeah, it's going to be a he) is not going to be anywhere near as interesting, maddening, or costly to the GOP ticket. Unlike McCain, Romney is not a gambler. We can be fairly sure that his choice will be vetted a lot more closely, and the ultimate pick will be, above all, safe. This is bad news for people like me who write about politics for a living. I'd go back and see how many words I've spilled over Sarah Palin in the last four years, but I'm afraid of what I'd find. I'm fairly certain I won't be anywhere near as inspired by the person Romney chooses. Will it be repellent white guy Rick Santorum ? No! Will it be boring white guy Rob Portman ? Maybe! Will it be some other boring white guy? Probably! And if...