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

The Trump Doctrine Emerges, and It's as Bad as We Thought

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP)
(Photo: Sipa USA via AP) Environmental activists protest Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, outside Trump Tower in Chicago on June 2, 2017. D onald Trump possesses a remarkable ability to appall us by doing exactly what he said he would when he ran for president. True, he has abandoned some promises and flip-flopped here and there, but mostly on the stuff that everyone knew was bogus from the start, unless you were possessed of an epic naïveté. (Oh dear, he's not really going to "drain the swamp" and stick it to Wall Street? I'm shocked.) Nevertheless, with each new decision, initiative, and reaction, the Trump presidency turns out to be as bad as we thought—or worse. The most alarming thing is that he is exactly who he seemed to be. This week's reality-TV-style announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement showed Trump at his most Trumpian, commandeering the media's attention for a lurid and self-congratulatory display of...

Trump's Big Mouth Got Him Elected President. Now It's His Undoing.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster People in the audience hold up signs as President Donald Trump speaks at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania., Saturday, April, 29, 2017. N o one ever accused Donald Trump of being a silver-tongued devil. While some politicians can beguile you with their eloquence and turn you around with their persuasive logic, Trump relies on simple declarative statements blurped out using his alarmingly limited vocabulary. Yet Trump's presidency is being undone by his big mouth. Just look at the blizzard of problems he has created for himself in the last week or two. He fired FBI Director James Comey, which might have been controversial but not catastrophic, had he not told NBC's Lester Holt that he did so with Russia on his mind ("When I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should'...

Trump's Loyalty Crisis

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office of the White House. " I just feel that loyalty is a very, very important part of life, not only of business but of life," said Donald Trump last year. He has been quoted saying similar things for years, and his underlings have learned to echo him. "This campaign, above all other things, is about loyalty," said Corey Lewandowski last April, when he was managing Trump's campaign. Two months later, Lewandowski was fired. The truth is that Trump demands loyalty from everyone but gives it to no one. As he prowls the darkened hallways of the White House at night, alone with his thoughts, his wife and young son 200 miles away, the staff having retired for the night, it wouldn't be surprising if Trump is becoming increasingly convinced that no one is loyal to him and there's no one he can trust. Almost no one, anyway. He has a small number of aides whose loyalty can't possibly be questioned, starting with Jared and Ivanka and...

Why Selling the Public on the AHCA Will Not Be Easy

Cheriss May/Sipa via AP Images
Cheriss May/Sipa via AP Images House Speaker Paul Ryan shakes hands with President Donald Trump upon the passage of legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden of the White House. O ne of the foundational principles of Donald Trump's business career, one that he transferred over to politics, is to always act like you're winning whether you actually are or not. So it was that he and House Republicans gathered in the Rose Garden on Thursday to stage a giddy celebration of the passage of a bill through the House that most (if not all) of the assembled legislators hadn't read, that the Congressional Budget Office hadn't scored, that was dead on arrival in the Senate (where Republicans will start over to write a new bill), and that every sensible observer agreed was practically a political suicide pact. You have to give them some credit for successfully passing this malignant tumor of a bill through the House; given his record as a legislative leader, I doubted Paul...

Why Liberals Are So Worked Up About Barack Obama Giving a Paid Speech to Wall Street

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast Former President Barack Obama hosts a conversation on civic engagement and community organizing, Monday, April 24, 2017, at the University of Chicago. I n a decision that launched a thousand Hot Takes, former President Barack Obama has accepted a $400,000 fee to give a speech at a health-care conference sponsored by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Given the intensity of the reaction from liberals (sample headline: " Obama's $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in "), you'd almost think Obama had begun lobbying for the repeal of Dodd-Frank, or maybe gone on a seal-clubbing expedition. While he had some defenders, the dominant sentiment from his supporters seemed to be either disappointment or anger. I'm not going to make an argument for why Obama should or shouldn't give paid speeches, and to whom (though I will say that by today's standards, $400,000 is pretty modest—it'll cost you a lot more to get Kim...

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