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


NICE COUNTRY YOU'VE GOT HERE. IT'D BE A SHAME IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO IT. Via Greg Sargent , we get the latest sample of Rudy Giuliani 's singular charm: Answering questions at a town-hall meeting, Giuliani was asked why he should expect loyalty from GOP voters when his children aren't backing him. "I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America," Giuliani said calmly and quietly. "The best thing I can say is kind of, 'leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone.'" Is it just me, or does that sound like a thinly-veiled threat? If I were that voter, I'd invest in an alarm system for my house. Eight years ago, we were told that what was really important to voters was which candidate they'd rather share a beer with. The thing about Giuliani is that, simply put, the guy's a jerk. Not even his own supporters, I suspect, would seriously disagree with this point. In New York, he got elected because he...

GOP Candidates Alienate Latino Voters

Republicans, who just a few short years ago were trying to court Latino voters, will come to regret the anti- immigration one-upmanship they've exhibited in the primary campaign.

"The spotlight is on Iowa," said the Spanish-language radio ad for a Republican presidential candidate, "and for the first time it's shining on the Latino community." Though Latinos made up only a sliver of the Iowa population (and a microscopic portion of those who would be voting in the Republican caucus), the candidate was sending a signal to the country as a whole. He wanted Latino votes, and he wanted everyone to know it. That candidate, you will be unsurprised to learn, is not one of those running for the GOP nomination in 2008. It was George W. Bush, who aired those spots as part of his first primary campaign ad buy in the fall of 1999. Bush and his advisors didn't forget about the importance of the Latino vote once they took office. In January 2001, Karl Rove told reporters that increasing the GOP share of the Latino vote was "our mission and our goal," one that would "require all of us in every way and every day working to get that done." If they could succeed, one vital...


CONSERVATIVES AND THE COMMON MAN. Today's New York Times op-ed page features not one but two precious examples of the Republican fetish I call Blue-Collar Heartland Chic, the eternal desire of GOP blue-bloods to convince us that they and their party are down-home folks, Middle Americans, reg'lar fellas and gals who love nothing more than opening a can of Bud and munching on some pork rinds while NASCAR plays on the television and Toby Keith croons from the kitchen radio. First, we have David Frum , who in his Karl Rove retrospective drops this absurd line: The Democrats are the party of the top and bottom of American society; the Republicans do best in the great American middle, which is losing ground. Um, no. The Republicans do not "do best in the great American middle," and the Democrats are not the party of the top in American society. The Republicans do best at the country clubs and corporate board rooms. It may be an old story, but it's still true. The middle is contested, but "...


A STORY ABOUT CONSERVATISM. If you've been watching the coverage of the mine disaster in Utah, you may have noticed the nearly complete absence of any discussion of the larger issues involved here. I'm still waiting for reporters to ask the administration and its representatives why they have done so much to undermine mine safety during their term in office. As this 2006 report from the Democrats on the House Education and Workforce Committee makes clear, the administration's record of malfeasance on mine safety is long and ignominious: cuts after cuts in staff and budgets, regulations going unenforced, one mining company executive or lobbyist after another appointed to "oversee" their former employers and clients. In case you were wondering, the current head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration is one Richard Stickler . You will be shocked to learn that Stickler is not exactly a crusader for the rights of miners. His bio page on the agency's web site says that he is a "third-...

The Failure of Antigovernment Conservatism

Issues like children's health insurance and maintaining our infrastructure offer progressives a golden opportunity to say that sometimes government is not the problem, it's the solution.

President Bush tours the collapsed bridge site in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Star Tribune, Joey McLeister, Pool)
Visiting the site of the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Saturday, President Bush used the opportunity to get in a standard-issue Republican dig on government -- you know, the entity in charge of things like making sure bridges are safe. "There's a lot of paperwork involved with government," he said, promising to "cut through that paperwork, and to see if we can't get this bridge rebuilt in a way that not only expedites the flow of traffic, but in a way that can stand the test of time." But don't expect too much. "I make no promises on the timetable," the president then said, bringing down the mood a bit. He did, though, go on to say that the tragedy might lead to something positive. A pledge from his administration to push for greater investment in infrastructure, perhaps? Or a promise to repair crumbling roads, bridges, and utilities? Fat chance. "Out of these tragedies can come a better life," he said. "And I, having visited with the people here, believe that not only are they...