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 Trouble With Iowa

I long ago went on record as a critic of the early election contests in Iowa and particularly New Hampshire, which produce all kinds of distortions in our national politics (take, for instance, the persistence of ethanol subsidies). But there's one I forgot to mention: the inordinate influence given to politicians who would otherwise be regarded as nutballs, simply because they happen to come from an early state. Case in point: an article in today's Politico, "Steve King Not Ready to Crown a 2012er," about how King, an Iowa congressman, has yet to make his much sought-after endorsement. You may not know King, but he is without question one of Congress' most ridiculous characters. He's the kind of guy who goes into an auditorium of schoolchildren and asks them where they stand on abortion. The kind of guy who, after a deranged terrorist flew a plane into an IRS building, killing a US government employee, responded by saying the incident was "sad," but the guy basically was right to...

The GOP's New Latino Friend, Or Maybe Not

For some time now, everyone has assumed that whoever the Republican nominee for president turns out to be, Florida senator Marco Rubio will be that person's choice for vice president. Rubio is young, handsome, charismatic, articulate, good at raising money (he pulled in $21 million for his Senate race last year), and as an added bonus, he's Latino in a party dominated by old, boring white guys. But is the bloom coming off Rubio's rose? In the last week there's been some controversy over the story of Rubio's parents; briefly, he's always referred to them as "exiles" from Cuba and stated before that they fled the Castro regime, but it now turns out that they left Cuba a few years before the revolution. In Florida's Cuban community, this matters, because being an exile or the child of exiles gives you extra status. But as the Washington Post reports today, "Democrats had already questioned whether a Cuban American who has voiced conservative views on immigration and opposed the historic...

The Impermanent Majority

President Bush, left, puts his arm around White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove as they appear before reporters during a news conference announcing Rove's resignation, Monday, Aug. 13, 2007, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
After George W. Bush was elected in 2000, his advisers and allies set about solidifying their control of Congress. In short order, the phrase "permanent Republican majority" started to get bandied about ( here is a reference to it in a Time magazine article from April 2001). That idea partly concerned efforts by Bush and Karl Rove to expand the Republican base to include groups like Latinos, but mostly referred to the House of Representatives. With the right mix of money, targeted legislation, and clever redistricting (the cocktail that landed Tom DeLay in jail), Republicans could make their grip on the House all but impossible to break. For a while, it seemed to be working. Republicans gained seats in 2002, then Bush won re-election in 2004, and a spate of books arrived explaining how Republicans were redrawing the American political map for a generation to come (see here , here , and here ). But it turned out to be anything but permanent. Democrats won back both houses of Congress...

Rick Perry Revives Zombie Tax Lie

Aaaaarrrrrrgh! Family farms! Aaaaarrrrrrgh!
Let's be honest: the tax plan Rick Perry unveiled the other day is a bushel of bamboozlement inside a cartload of crap. That may not surprise anyone, but I have to point out Perry's embrace of an old zombie lie that should have been shot in the head with a crossbow (have I been watching too much Walking Dead ?) a long time ago. Says Perry's web site: In the case of family business owners and farmers, the [estate] tax often exceeds the ability of the family to pay. These heirs are consequently forced to sell off part, if not all, of their enterprise in order to pay the tax. Eliminating the death tax is necessary to protect family businesses, farms and jobs. No, no, no. I realize that it's a lot more appealing to say you want to eliminate the tax to help struggling family farmers than to say you want to eliminate it so Paris Hilton won't have to pay taxes, unlike people who work for a living. But the family farm myth has been debunked again and again. As a report from the Center on...

A Tale of Three Profiles

In the last few days, both the New York Times and the Washington Post have done long articles profiling Mitt Romney. What do they teach us? Well, let me give you what ink-stained wretches call the "nut graf" from each piece. Here's the Times : This time, he has shed much of the operational and psychological baggage that weighed down, and ultimately doomed, his maiden campaign. Gone are the extensive debate rehearsals, the bickering consultants, the corporate dress code and the urge to explain everything. That may explain why, for all his ups and downs, Mr. Romney’s public presentation and debate appearances have been far more consistent this time. And here's the Post : Ever since he stepped onto the national stage, Romney has been criticized as being unable to connect with voters — partly because of past positions out of step with many in his party and partly because of what some say is a wooden, detached personality. Although he has sharpened his campaign operation and mostly aced a...

Pages