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


SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN! Since no one else here at TAPPED has discussed the fact that in Iraq we are now arming Sunni militias if they agree to help us fight al-Qaeda, I'll go ahead and say it: Given our highly nuanced understanding of all the individuals and groups competing for advantage in Iraq; and given the relatively uncomplicated ethnic, political, and security situation there; and given this administration's excellent track record on predicting the outcome of events; and given how small the possibility is that a move like this might have unintended consequences... Why the heck not? After all, what could possibly go wrong? On the other hand, CNN just told me that we're not giving them our really top-of-the-line weaponry, just run-of-the-mill guns and stuff. So that should ease your worries. -- Paul Waldman


A DEFICIT OF UNDERSTANDING. The Boston Globe has an article today detailing just how either disingenuous or frighteningly clueless (or some of both) the Republican candidates are on the subject of Iraq and terrorism: In defending the Iraq war, leading Republican presidential contenders are increasingly echoing words and phrases used by President Bush in the run-up to the war that reinforce the misleading impression that Iraq was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In the May 15 Republican debate in South Carolina, Senator John McCain of Arizona suggested that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would "follow us home" from Iraq -- a comment some viewers may have taken to mean that bin Laden was in Iraq, which he is not. Former New York mayor Rudolph Guiliani asserted, in response to a question about Iraq, that "these people want to follow us here and they have followed us here. Fort Dix happened a week ago. " However, none of the six people arrested for allegedly plotting to...


EDWARDS HATIN', PART II. Ezra 's post below about parts of the DC establishment having it in for John Edwards is very interesting, and the second element to this is the very similar feelings that seem to be evident among the press corps. I can remember a conversation I had with one prominent old-line liberal columnist about Edwards back in 2003, when he explained that the general sentiment among the cognoscenti, one he obviously shared, was that Edwards was just too big for his britches. That feeling doesn't seem to have gone away. I don't think it's an accident that the guy with the populist campaign is the one getting pummeled relentlessly over every little thing that could possibly indicate he isn't a real reg'lar guy. I did a Nexis search on "John Edwards and haircut" for the last month and got 488 hits. Reporters are obviously finding any excuse they can to throw that into every story, the little dig meant to undermine whatever argument Edwards is making at a particular moment...


DEFENDING MY HONOR. The old saying goes that one should never get in a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel. One might say the same about a man whose radio show is carried on 600 stations. But this will not stand : Limbaugh then attacked Media Matters Senior Fellow Paul Waldman, who appeared on the Today and Scarborough segments: "The hack is presented as an expert. The Media Matters guy is an all-knowing expert. Nobody's ever heard of him; he's never accomplished anything. He's just a hack working for a front group for the Democrat [ sic ] Party , and they know this, yet they continue to do this." He asserted: "They know, Dan Abrams knows, and so does everybody else at NBC and CNN, that Media Matters is a [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY], George Soros, DNC front group." As noted repeatedly , Media Matters -- which is not affiliated with any political party or candidate -- has never received funding from Soros, either directly or indirectly. Limbaugh also falsely claimed that...


PROPS TO THE P.O. As you may have heard, the post office has raised the rate for sending a first-class letter to 41 cents. This might be an opportune time to spend a moment thinking about our mail service. For a lot of people, the post office is the symbol of inefficient government bureaucracy, the butt of jokes and scorn. When conservatives were fighting the Clinton health care plan in 1993, they used to say it would "combine the efficiency of the post office with the compassion of the IRS." Har, har! But let's step back and consider the service the post office actually performs. Let's say you live in New York, and you want to send a note to your Aunt Millie in California. You can take your letter and drop it in a box on the corner -- or if that's not quite convenient enough for you, you can just leave it jutting out of your door. The post office will pick it up there at your house, transport it 3,000 miles, and personally hand it to Aunt Millie, all within the space of a few days...