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

NOW THAT'S SOME FAMILY VALUES.

NOW THAT'S SOME FAMILY VALUES. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has interviewed the prostitute Senator David Vitter used to frequent back in Louisiana. But the article contains this puzzling passage: Yow, contacted through relatives, called The Times-Picayune Wednesday night and said Vitter was a regular customer of hers, but said the two did not have a romantic relationship. She claimed to have severed ties with him after she found out he was married. So they weren't dating, he was just a customer. But when she found out he was married, she told him not to come around anymore. I realize they have a long and honorable tradition of prostitution in New Orleans, but do the working girls down there have some stringent code of ethics that demands different standards than their counterparts everywhere else in the world? They don't service married Johns? Isn't that a significant portion of their business? What's going on here? You may now return to your regularly scheduled wonky policy...

OBAMA AND RACE, PART 2,354.

OBAMA AND RACE, PART 2,354. In Salon today, Michael Scherer has an article, cleverly titled " Hillary Is From Mars, Obama Is From Venus ," arguing that Barack Obama is the girl candidate -- touchy-feely, empathetic, cranking up the Indigo Girls; while Hillary Clinton is the boy candidate -- direct, strong, presumably pumping up the Metallica in between Celine Dion tunes. Obama and Clinton "are fighting for undecided female voters who are attracted by Obama's feminine appeal, but still drawn to the macho performance of the only woman to ever have a real shot at the Oval Office," Scherer writes. "May the best woman win." In recent days I've written a lot about the question of gender roles and the campaign ( here , here , and here ). So this certainly grabbed my attention. And it made me wonder: does the fact that Barack Obama is black insulate him from attacks on his masculinity? The topic of Obama's race is already the most intricately examined cultural factor of this election, far...

GOP Candidates Cross the Line in the Culture War

Despite their carefully cultivated images, Romney and Thompson have recently found themselves on the wrong side of conservatives' view of sex.

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a presidential candidates forum co-sponsored by Iowa Christian Alliance on Saturday, June 30, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
In the past week, two of the leading GOP candidates for president found themselves in hot water with the Republican base over their connections to what we might call the other team in the culture war. Both Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson were left to explain (in Romney's case) or deny (in Thompson's) that their obeisance to the "traditional family" -- and all the necessary beliefs that go along with it -- is anything less than complete and abject. For neither the first time nor the last, it all comes down to sex. Romney's problem is about what goes on in hotel rooms when the blinds are closed. The former Massachusetts governor served on the board of the Marriott hotel chain from 1992 to 2001 (the Romney family and the Marriott family are extremely close; Romney's first name is Willard, after J. Willard Marriott, the company founder). As at most large hotel chains, guests at Marriott can sample from a variety of adult offerings on their televisions, whether their preference is for...

THE TROUBLE WITH IMPEACHMENT.

THE TROUBLE WITH IMPEACHMENT. Everyone has made good points about the possibility of impeaching President Bush ; there are lots of worthy arguments on both sides. But there's one political factor to consider: much as their epic incompetence at running the government has discredited the very idea of government, making new government solutions substantially harder to get past a skeptical public, Republicans' impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 discredited the very idea of impeachment. Say the word now, and many people think of "a partisan effort to drag the country through a ridiculously disingenuous show trial, trumping up phony claims of 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' for no reason other than revenge on your political enemies." It almost doesn't matter anymore what the president does; anyone who proposes impeachment is going to be greeted by many people with nothing but eye-rolling. Given that, short of killing a man on national television for looking at him funny, the president...

YOU TALKIN' TO ME?

YOU TALKIN' TO ME? Via Matt Yglesias , we see a study reported in the Washington Post showing that Major League pitchers from the South are dishing out the chin music. "I found that pitchers from the South are not more likely in general to hit batters,” said the study's author, Thomas Timmerman , “but they are much more likely to hit batters after giving up a home run, or after a teammate has gotten hit the previous half-inning.” Timmerman speculates that the South's "honor culture" is to blame. At the risk of convincing yet more people that I have something against our brothers and sisters from Dixie - or more accurately, just our brothers - I refer you to this study from 1996. It involves some rather interesting experiments. From the abstract: Participants were University of Michigan students who grew up in the North or South. In 3 experiments, they were insulted by a confederate who bumped into the participant and called him an "asshole." Compared with northerners--who were...

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