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

So Long, Health-Care Repeal.

Now that House Republicans have followed through on their promise to hold a meaningless vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, they'll be commencing a complex effort on health care, in which both the ACA's shortcomings and the GOP's alternative ideas will be presented to the public in high-profile events, so the American people can see the wisdom of Republican solutions. Right? Wrong. As we know, the political problem that repealing the ACA presents for Republicans is that people like the actual things the law does, and once you've gotten past the symbolic repeal vote, if you want to start dismantling it, you're going to be attacking just those things people like. So what are we going to see? A hearing here and there, some gamesmanship when the budget is written, but on the whole, the repeal effort from this point forward will look rather half-hearted. It's not just the political problem that repeal represents. Just as important in the absence of the "replace" part of "repeal and...

What Are the 2012 GOP Presidential Contenders Going to Say About Marriage Equality?

Daily Kos is going to be polling once a month on marriage equality, and the first installment doesn't show anything particularly surprising -- a third of the public supports same-sex marriage, a third supports civil unions, and a third doesn't support any legal recognition for gay couples. But this raises a question: Where are the 2012 Republican presidential contenders going to be on this issue? After all, the arc of public opinion is unmistakable, and almost every major politician has moved to the left in recent years, in one way or another. For a while, it's been Democrats (including Barack Obama ) who have felt awkward answering this question, torn between the principle of equality and their political fear of being punished. But since they'll be forced to articulate their positions on all kinds of things, folks like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee could be facing a dilemma. Let's take these numbers (which seem roughly in line with other polls). If you're going to say, "No legal...

Obama on the Rebound.

Remember when Barack Obama was headed for inevitable defeat in 2012, after the American public soundly rejected his leftist ways? Well, maybe not so much. Here's the latest on his approval ratings (I've filtered out results from Rasmussen, which are reliably unreliable): So what happened? Well, the overwhelming majority of the country was pleased with his response to the Arizona shooting, and also the economy is looking slightly less terrible than it was. The latest poll from The Washington Post and ABC News, for instance, has his approval at 54 percent, higher than it has been in a long time. And as Taegan Goddard observes , at this point in Ronald Reagan 's first term, his approval was at 37 percent. Does that mean Obama's headed for a cakewalk in 2012? Of course not. Poll results are fun (for some of us, anyway), but we have a tendency to over-interpret them. I'm sure that right now there are conservatives who look at this uptick and say to themselves, "That doesn't mean anything...

The White House on Health-Care Offense.

As the House prepares to vote on the "Repeal the Puppy-Strangling Job-Vivisecting O-Commie-Care Act," or whatever they're now calling it, the White House and its allies actually seem to have their act together when it comes to fighting this war for public opinion. The latest is an analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services on just how many people have pre-existing conditions, and thus will be protected from denials of health insurance when the Affordable Care Act goes fully into effect in 2014: According to a new analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition. Up to one in five non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition – 25 million individuals – is uninsured. Under the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, these Americans cannot be denied coverage, be charged significantly higher premiums, be subjected to an extended waiting period, or have...

Expressions of Faith

Public discussion of religion can build walls at the same time it tries to bring them down.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at a memorial service in Tucson, Ariz.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In his speech last week at the memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Tucson, Barack Obama implored Americans "to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together." It was a welcome message. In the days since, we've had conversations about whether we're cultivating that empathy, whether we're being respectful toward each other, and how we avoid reverting to our prior state of vituperation and acrimony. One has to be awfully optimistic to think that will happen, but we can nevertheless seize this brief moment of comity to contemplate some issues that may have lain silent for some time. As I watched Obama's speech, I was struck by how religious it was, with quotations from the Old Testament and numerous mentions of God and heaven. Before we proceed, let me be clear: It was neither surprising nor inappropriate for the setting and the...

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