Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The Private Option

The Affordable Care Act won't feel like a government program. That could be a problem for Democrats.

Residents of the Culpepper Garden Assisted Living Center attend a 2006 news conference about Medicare. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

When Congress was debating health care reform in 1993, conservative strategist Bill Kristol wrote a now-famous memo counseling Republicans that they must prevent the passage of reform, lest it "relegitimize middle-class dependence for 'security' on government spending and regulation … revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests … [and] strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government." The problem Kristol foresaw -- and today's Republicans saw with Barack Obama's health care reform -- was not merely that America

Politics v. Governing.

One of the common sentiments I'm seeing around today is, "Enjoy this last gasp of success, Democrats, because your life is about to get hellish." Which is true, in a way. But we should remember that the next two years will be uncomfortable politically, but far less so substantively. Yes, it's possible that Republicans could shut down the government, which will have some very bad effects. And they might be able to force cuts in vital programs, which would be bad. But I'll believe those things when I see them. More likely is that the bulk of their efforts will be on things that will embarrass President Obama and make it more difficult for him to win re-election.

The Culture War Ain't What It Used to Be.

Jonathan Bernstein makes an excellent point about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell:

[T]his issue will now promptly go away, entirely. Oh, we'll have a bit of reporting on implementation, but seriously: does anyone think that Republicans are going to run in 2012 on re-instating DADT? Or, even less plausibly, on re-instating the ban that DADT replaced? Forget it. It's possible to believe that a DADT vote could be used in a GOP primary down the road, but it's utterly implausible to believe that the policy would ever be revived, no matter what happens in the 2012 (or any future cycle) elections.

Theater in the Least Deliberative Body.

As the lame-duck session of Congress nears its end, there are a few big agenda items looming. The House has to approve the tax compromise, and the Senate has the new START treaty with Russia and the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays from serving honestly. Members of the Senate are now beating their breasts about whether there's "enough time" to do both. This is despite the fact that it has already been established that both the treaty and DADT repeal have enough votes to pass.

A Racial Map of Your Neighborhood.

Matt Ygesias pointed to The New York Times' extraordinary interactive block-by-block census map, and I have to second his judgment of its awesomeness. You should really take a look at your city to see what it looks like. You can go anywhere in America. Since Matt made a point about D.C., I'll give you a picture of a place I used to live, Philadelphia: