Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Reading Obama's Mind.

Not to harp too much on Dinesh D'Souza 's incredible Forbes cover article about how all of Barack Obama 's presidency can be explained by the fact that his absent father injected him with an ideology of "Kenyan anti-colonialism" that to this day determines his every decision, but this bit of wingnuttery actually can be instructive for all of us as we think about the information and opinions we use to understand the political world on an ongoing basis. First, you should read what Adam has to say about D'Souza. Now that you're back, let's think about a passage like this one: It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position...

You Want Crazy? Newt Will Give You Crazy.

Successful political leaders know how to read the prevailing winds and rush to the front of the parade that is passing by. And few people do this with more seriousness than Newt Gingrich , who somehow manages to remain a key Republican figure despite having left the speakership of the House in disgrace after scandals both personal and professional. Today, the prevailing wind on the right is, well, crazy. The president is not simply wrong about this or that but is actually trying to destroy America. Our current conflicts are a sign of the End Times. If a Democratic agenda continues to be enacted, it will literally mean the end of freedom itself. And so on. So Newt isn't going to let anyone out-crazy him -- no siree. Yesterday, keying off an unhinged article by longtime "wingnut welfare" recipient Dinesh D'Souza , Gingrich told Dave Weigel and Robert Costa that Barack Obam a's dismantling of all that is right and true now has its explanation. D'Souza has discovered that Obama is not...

Can the White House Turn John Boehner Into a Villain?

Lots of people noticed that in his speech in Cleveland earlier this week, President Obama mentioned House Minority Leader John Boehner eight times. This may or may not mean that turning Boehner into a villain is a key part of the White House's strategy going into the fall elections. But if it is, can it be successful? You might think, well, Boehner's not the most charming guy in the world, but he's not as repellent as, say, Newt Gingrich . But let's look at the numbers. There haven't been many polls testing people's feelings about Boehner, but one from Gallup in April found 29 percent with a favorable view of him, 32 percent with an unfavorable view, and 39 percent with no opinion either way. Frankly, it's surprising that 61 percent of the public claims to have an opinion about him, but this is the kind of thing polls tend to overstate -- people want to seem informed, and it doesn't really cost anything for a respondent to say "favorable" or "unfavorable" to the interviewer, when in...

Where Your Phone Comes From.

Chances are you're reading this on a computer or smartphone made by an American company, like Dell or HP or Apple. And chances are also that the machine was actually constructed in China. That relationship came to broader attention recently when Foxconn, a Chinese company that puts together iPhones, Sony Playstations, and Dell computers, among other things, experienced a number of suicides, with its workers hurling themselves off buildings, purportedly out of despair at their low pay and shabby working conditions. As part of their response, Foxconn hired the global PR behemoth Burson-Marsteller to help clean up their image, and as part of that effort, the company opened its doors to Business Week . The result is a fascinating article giving a glimpse into one of the emblematic cogs in today's global economy. The company employs 920,000 people, and its chairman, Terry Guo , is the richest man in Taiwan. Here's a taste: To understand how diversified Foxconn's supply chain is, pry the...

The Power of the Image.

If you watch network news, you've had the experience of watching as Brian, Katie, or Diane says, "Some dramatic video tonight from somewhere or other. Just watch as this cow is swept away by floodwaters, caroms off a stop sign, does a double-twisting backflip, then lands on all four hooves on the roof of an Arby's. Local officials report the cow is a bit shaken, but doing OK. Just amazing." Of course, it isn't "news" by any journalistic standard, but if they've got good video, they're going to use it. If you watch local news, somewhere around 20 percent of each night's broadcast is devoted to that kind of thing (and who doesn't love waterskiing squirrels, anyway?). But this weekend, the networks were getting a little skittish about whether to use some dramatic video they thought they were going to get. I speak, of course, about the aborted Quran-burning event down in Florida. The Associated Press has announced that it won't be putting out any pictures of the actual burning: Mr. Kent’s...

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