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

John Adams and the Affordable Care Act.

Here's something I'll bet you didn't know: The Founding Fathers supported government-mandated health care. Rick Ungar of Forbes unearthed this bit of history (via Greg Sargent ): In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen." The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance. Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its members were the drafters of the Constitution. And when the Bill came to the desk of President John Adams for signature, I think it’s safe to assume that the man in that chair had a pretty good grasp on what the framers had in mind. As a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, I say...Who cares? Don't get me wrong -- it's an interesting story, and it is indeed...

Mitt Romney, Common Man.

Remember back in 2008, when John McCain got in trouble for not being able to recall how many homes he owned? (The correct answer was seven, by the way.) This caught my eye from a Time magazine article on Mitt Romney : Meanwhile, Romney brought his skills as a turnaround artist to his own operation. In 2009 he sold two of his four multimillion-dollar homes, which had become political liabilities in this age of downsizing. At his 11-acre (4.5 hectare) estate in Wolfeboro, N.H., he continued to host brainstorming salons with political strategists, campaign donors and party insiders, discussing the state of the nation and trying to work out just what to do next. Well done, governor -- good to see you embracing the spirit of austerity. I almost feel bad for you, having to get by with merely two multimillion-dollar homes, the lakeside New Hampshire estate and the seaside La Jolla estate. And it couldn't have been easy to part with the 9,500-foot ski lodge in Deer Valley, especially since...

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...

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