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


Yesterday afternoon, Fox News brought on Newt Gingrich to discuss the school shooting in Cleveland, with predictable results. I don't have a link to the video or transcript, but Newt argued that the reason this happened is our depraved society, in which respect for authority has been eroded to the point where...well, I guess to the point where kids have so little respect for their teachers and parents that they'll try to kill their classmates, then commit suicide. If only this boy had been more afraid of getting grounded, this never would have happened. This is nothing new for Newt; you may recall that he blamed the Virginia Tech shooting and the Columbine massacre on liberalism, as well as what might have been his all-time high point, the Susan Smith case. In 1994, Smith put her two kids in her car, then pushed it into a lake. Just before that year's congressional election, the Associated Press reported the following: "I think the mother killing her two children in South Carolina...

The Dems' Big Business Opportunity

The momentum behind health care reform gives Democrats a good chance to prove that Republicans aren't always good for business.

Last Tuesday, a remarkable article appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal , able chronicler of the interests and habits of America's economic elite. " GOP Is Losing Grip On Core Business Vote ," it read, no doubt causing more than a few Republican strategists to spit out their morning coffee. "Some business leaders are drifting away from the party," according to the Journal , "because of the war in Iraq, the growing federal debt and a conservative social agenda they don't share." Well it's about time. It isn't as though the captains of industry just realized that the Republican coalition they've been supporting for its economic agenda happens to include people whose every waking hour is consumed with the thought that somewhere, two men are kissing. But their social conservative partners become harder to tolerate, apparently, when the party they all have supported puts together such a stunning record of incompetence. What the business elite doesn't seem to have realized...


Now that people are actually attacking Barack Obama for saying that he doesn't wear an American flag pin because it isn't all that meaningful, one wonders if this might be an opportunity for us to have a genuine discussion about different varieties of patriotism. This is a pretty clear conservative/progressive split. Conservatives are huge fans of symbolic patriotism -- flag lapel pins, flags on cars, full-throated singing of "God Bless the U.S.A." (aka "Proud to Be an American"), and so on -- public displays, in which one demonstrates to other people that one loves America. Progressives, on the other hand, tend to favor substantive patriotism, which involves doing things to make one's country better. After all, if progressives really hated America, why would they even want to change it in ways that would make it conform more with their values? That would mean, from their perspective, making it better, something you wouldn't do if you just hated the country. I hate the Yankees, so if...

The Myth of the Rational Iowa Voter

Do the supposedly wise and deliberative citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire take their responsibilities seriously? And if they don't, what does that say about the way we're choosing the next leader of the free world?

Iowans at a caucus meeting in Slater, Iowa during the 2004 presidential election. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
In the past week or so, lots of wise and serious commentators have started to say that Hillary Clinton's victory in the Democratic presidential primaries is all but inevitable. She is repeatedly described as having "solidified her lead" (see here , or here , or here ), not only because of her strength in national polls, but due to the fact that she now leads in New Hampshire by a healthy margin and is in a virtual three-way tie in Iowa. And after all, we know Iowa and New Hampshire voters aren't fickle like those in some other states. They're serious and studious, applying their down-home common sense and refusing to vote for anyone unless they look them in the eye and get a sense of the person behind the politician. It seems like just yesterday that the reporters and pundits who live for the quadrennial marathon of pandering and debasement that is the campaign for the White House were complaining that things were starting way too early. The first primary contests were over a year...


For a long time, people on both sides of the aisle have noted what a brilliant political strategist Newt Gingrich is. So one might have expected that when George Stephanopoulos asked him yesterday on "This Week" how Republicans can win the '08 election, he'd have some striking insights. Well... not so much. Here's what he said: STEPHANOPOULOS: Well if - but then if she has the best chance of getting the nomination, you're not running now, but how do you recommend that the Republican nominee takes on Senator Clinton ? GINGRICH: I think it's very simple. The left is fundamentally wrong from the standpoint of most Americans on issue after issue. Let me give you an example. A substantial plurality of Americans would abolish the capital gains tax. The Democrats would raise it. The substantial majority of Americans, like 70%, would actually provide a tax break for corporations that kept their corporate headquarters in the US the Democrats couldn't think of something like this. You go down a...