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

Is That a Submarine In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

(Flickr/ Alan Light ) I used to go to a YMCA, where in the locker room, about two-thirds of the men would stroll from their locker to the showers, or just meander about the place chatting, without bothering to put on a towel. And this wasn't a bunch of hunky 20-somethings looking for dates -- I'd say the average age was around 55. I always suspected they were getting a secret little homoerotic thrill from parading in front of each other with their junk out. I couldn't help but think of that when I read this article in today's New York Times about unease among current and former personnel to the fact that the Navy will now be allowing women to serve on submarines. This resistance is neither surprising nor particularly troubling -- the guys who are feeling uncomfortable will get over it, just as their compatriots on surface ships did. But this particular passage was amusing: John Mason , a retired senior chief petty officer who served aboard four submarines and two surface ships from...

Deeply Serious Budget Gimmickry.

Via Steve Benen , we see that congressional Republicans have initiated a not-at-all gimmicky initiative called " YouCut ," in which you can vote online for which programs you'd like to cut; Republicans will introduce an actual piece of legislation to cut whichever program wins. Sounds great! Except for one thing. You can't tell them you want to cut, say, defense spending, or farm subsidies, or anything else that Republicans like spending lots of taxpayer dollars on. You have to choose between the following: the presidential election fund, paying federal workers for time spent on union activities, an obscure HUD program that gives grants for a few grad students to study housing, a little corner of welfare spending, and some Community Development Block Grants. My favorite is the HUD program. According to the website, "At approximately $200,000 in grants per year, terminating this program would save $1 million over five years." Wow! With a federal budget this year of $3.7 trillion, that'...

Kathleen Parker Says You Are Not Mainstream.

Are you a "mainstream" American? Probably not, according to The Washington Post 's Kathleen Parker . In a column today criticizing President Obama 's pick of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court, Parker writes that Kagan just isn't mainstream enough: Certainly New York City dwellers would argue that they struggle with ordinary concerns, just in a more dense environment. But New York, like other urban areas, tends to be more liberal than the vast rest of the country. More than half the country also happens to be Protestant, yet with Kagan, the court will feature three Jews, six Catholics and nary a Protestant. Fewer than one-fourth of Americans are Catholic, and 1.7 percent are Jewish. One does not have to be from a rural Georgia backwater ( Clarence Thomas ), or the child of recently arrived immigrants ( Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito ), to qualify as a justice, though it might help in claiming identity with ordinary people. One could even argue that it matters only that one regard the...

Maryland Is for Lovers.

According to a new poll from The Washington Post , folks in Maryland are warming to gay marriage: Maryland residents are shifting toward a more positive opinion of same-sex marriage, with registered voters now narrowly supporting a law to allow it, a Washington Post poll has found. A clear majority of people responding to the poll -- 55 percent -- also say that if gays get married in another state, those unions should be considered legal in Maryland; 38 percent say the state should not recognize them. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) in February told state agencies to begin granting married same-sex couples from elsewhere the same rights as Maryland's heterosexual couples. The poll, conducted May 3-6, finds that 46 percent overall favor legal same-sex marriage, 44 percent oppose it, and 10 percent have no opinion. Among registered voters, 48 percent are in favor and 43 percent are opposed. The opinion Gansler issued, which has been supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley ,...

The Cost of Iraq.

The Center for American Progress has tallied up the costs of the war in Iraq ( read the report here ), and according to their calculations, we've spent $748 billion, with up to $717 more coming in veterans' benefits. I thought it might be useful to compare this to our previous wars, so using data from this Congressional Research Service report , and adjusting the CAP figures to 2008 dollars to make it all comparable, I made this graph: Quite something -- Iraq will end up costing us more than any war except World War II. But what about casualties, you might be asking? It's been a while since we were all aware of the running tally of the number of men and women who have died in Iraq. But here are the numbers (data from here ): Of course, that doesn't count Iraqi casualties, which CAP says number at least 9,451 from the Iraqi Security Forces, and between 96,037 and 104,754 civilians. -- Paul Waldman