By Tom Johnson | August 9, 2015 | 11:45 AM EDT

For close to a hundred and fifty years, the elephant has represented the Republican party, but The American Prospect’s Meyerson suggests that these days, a more fitting choice for the GOP’s symbol would be an extended middle finger.

In his analysis of Thursday’s prime-time presidential debate, Meyerson, who also writes a weekly column for The Washington Post, identified several of the candidates onstage in Cleveland as “Fuck-You Republicans.” He explained that some FYRs, such as Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, qualify by dint of ideology; others (Donald Trump, Chris Christie) make it in mostly through anger and abrasiveness.

By Tom Johnson | June 16, 2015 | 5:45 PM EDT

To lefty pundit Paul Waldman, journalists are like detectives, not activists. They relish discovering and exposing the secrets of politicians, but they don’t much care whether the pols are liberal or conservative, given that “ideological bias is among the[ir] least important” motives.

For example, regarding recent New York Times stories about Marco Rubio’s driving record and personal finances, Waldman claimed in a Sunday American Prospect column that “no one who thinks about the news media in a serious way could believe that articles like these are driven by an ideological bias. If that were the case, then the Times would be giving Hillary Clinton a free ride, and they've done anything but…That goes for the rest of the media as well; whatever you think about Hillary Clinton, she's hardly a favorite of political reporters.”

And, who knows, some might even make the case that the media are pro-Rubio. After all, commented Waldman, they’ve “done plenty to elevate [him] from an ordinary first-term senator into a legitimate presidential contender.”

By Tom Johnson | May 9, 2015 | 8:58 PM EDT

Edmund Burke wrote that “a state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.” To American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, “change” for conservatives means living to fight another day by conceding battle after battle to liberals.

“Much of the history of the United States,” wrote Waldman in a Friday post, “is a slow but inexorable movement in a progressive direction, as one issue after another is eventually settled in favor of the position liberals had been advocating, from slavery to women's suffrage to Jim Crow to the legalization of contraception to sex discrimination and up to gay rights today. You can find exceptions…but the fundamental trend in social relations moves in only one direction.”

Waldman stated that right-wing “rhetoric…is absolutely awash in nostalgia” but added that some conservatives seem to be making their peace with an America no longer ruled by older men of northern European ancestry.

By Tom Johnson | April 24, 2015 | 3:02 PM EDT

For liberals, the great mystery of the last few decades is how Republicans usually have won enough votes to control one or both houses of Congress even as the party moves increasingly to the right. As political-science profs Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson put it in their 5,500-word article in the spring issue of The American Prospect, “In a 50-50 nation, Republicans have learned how to have their extremist cake and eat it too.”

Hacker (of Yale) and Pierson (of UC Berkeley) contend that there are two major reasons why the GOP has been able to “mak[e] American politics ever more dysfunctional while largely avoiding accountability for its actions.” One is that our system of government, with its “dispersal of authority,” makes it hard for voters to see which party is causing the trouble. The other is that our “often-feckless news media” have routinely failed to enlighten the public that “Republicans are primarily responsible for polarization and deadlock” and that GOPers have engineered “an ongoing massive shift of…the ‘center’ of American politics…toward the anti-government fringe.”

By Tom Johnson | April 10, 2015 | 10:03 PM EDT

Vaccine skeptics have a well-deserved reputation for not caring about facts, but according to American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, many right-wing anti-taxers resemble anti-vaxxers in terms of their shaky grasp of reality.

“All the GOP presidential candidates are lining up to receive the wisdom of Arthur Laffer as they formulate their economic plans,” wrote Waldman in a Friday post. “This is the rough equivalent of doctors seeking to lead the American College of Pediatricians competing to see which one can win the favor of Jenny McCarthy…Laffer's theory has been as thoroughly disproven as phrenology or the notion that the stars are pinholes in the blanket Zeus laid across the sky.”

By Tom Johnson | April 10, 2015 | 1:19 PM EDT

In a Friday American Prospect piece (originally published on Wednesday in the Washington Post) WaPo columnist Harold Meyerson suggested that even though the South didn’t win the Civil War, its mean-spirited ideas, racial and otherwise, now drive the Republican party.

Meyerson asserted that today’s GOP “is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.”

By Tom Johnson | March 15, 2015 | 5:00 PM EDT

The American Prospect’s Waldman sympathizes with conservatives who are “unfairly accused of racism,” but says that overall he doesn’t feel too sorry for them given that right-wingers routinely condone actual bigotry from their leaders. Addressing his conservative readers, Waldman admits that sometimes “liberals are too quick to see racist intent in a comment that may be innocuous or at worst unintentionally provocative. But you make heroes out of people like [Rudy] Giuliani, [Rush] Limbaugh, and [Erick] Erickson…and when other people occasionally notice the caustic hairballs of bile they spit onto waiting microphones, the most you can say is, ‘Well, I wouldn't go that far.’ So you have nothing to complain about.”

By Tom Johnson | February 24, 2015 | 4:34 PM EST

Jonathan Chait, Paul Waldman, and Amanda Marcotte each discuss how the Wisconsin governor and probable presidential candidate has responded to recent questions about issues including evolution, Obama’s religious beliefs, and Obama’s patriotism, as well as how his answers might play with the “paranoid” Republican base that thinks, in Waldman’s words, that “Obama is The Other, an alien presence occupying an office he doesn't deserve.”

By Tom Johnson | February 18, 2015 | 1:11 AM EST

The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman argues that “anti-intellectualism has often been an effective way for Republicans to stir up class resentment while distracting from economic issues. It says to voters…[d]on't aim your disgruntlement at Wall Street, or corporations that don't pay taxes, or the people who want to keep wages low and make unions a memory. Point it in a different direction, at college professors and intellectuals (and Hollywood, while you're at it).”

By Tom Johnson | February 7, 2015 | 10:59 AM EST

The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman advocates that Obama skip next year’s National Prayer Breakfast and instead “hold his own inter-faith breakfast at the White House, one geared more toward understanding and less toward proclamations of the one true faith. Of course, conservatives would be apoplectic if he did that, saying that it just shows how he hates Jesus and hates America. Which is exactly what they say anyway. So why not?”

By Tom Johnson | December 28, 2014 | 1:14 PM EST

The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman claims that right-wingers’ “belief in tax cuts doesn't rest on the practical effects. That's an argument that's meant to appeal to everyone, since it concerns something (growth) that just about everyone thinks is good. But the real source of the conservative support for tax cuts is moral, not practical. They believe that taxes are inherently immoral.”

By Tom Johnson | December 17, 2014 | 11:57 AM EST

“What the average person is seeing right now,” declares the American Prospect’s Paul Waldman, “is an entire party mobilizing to defend the use of torture, whether they will call it by that name or not. And that looks to be having an effect on public opinion.”