Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Term Limits for Columnists?

Brendan Nyhan asks whether we shouldn't have term limits for columnists, which is what most of us probably think about columnists we don't care for. Do people still read Richard Cohen and say, "That really gives me a new perspective on things"? Or maybe the question is, "Do people still read Richard Cohen?" Thing is, they probably do. Even at a time when it isn't exactly difficult to find opinions, having a column in a big newspaper still makes you a big deal. Despite the decline of newspapers, there's been little decline in the influence of the likes of Tom Friedman or Charles Krauthammer (I explored this a year ago in an article for the print magazine). But the question of whether we really need opinion columnists at all is worth asking. As a practitioner of this particular craft, I'd like to think that my column profoundly shapes the worldviews of thousands of people who are not actually my mother, but it's hard to know for sure. I have been surprised, however, by the fact that I'...

A Feature, Not a Bug!

To follow up on what Jamelle says below, I think it would be an excellent idea for Barack Obama to start praising conservatives, precisely because it would alienate them from their fellows. There's little point in giving a shout-out to those who are actually working with him in good faith. When they inevitably get purged from the movement for winning the praise of a man that many conservatives believe is intentionally trying to destroy America, the right will merely get a bit more conservative, continuing a trend it's been on for some time. But what if Obama sowed confusion and suspicion among his opponents by praising not the moderates but some of their most stalwart members? He could do it, furthermore, with the subtle insinuation that the target has been working with him all along. "I want to give a special mention to Jim DeMint , who has been really helpful -- oh wait, I've said too much." The results could be dramatic. I'm kidding, of course (sort of). But it's true not just that...

White House Cowardice on Health Care.

We've heard a lot in the last few days about how Democrats have developed a "bring it on" attitude toward Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They think the debate will allow them to talk about the popular things the law actually does and force Republicans on to the defensive when they charge (accurately) that if they want to repeal the ACA, it means they want to keep open the "donut hole" in Medicare prescription drug coverage (the ACA closes it), allow insurance companies to discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition, and so on. Sounds good! But then today we see this : U.S. Alters Rule on Paying for End-of-Life Planning WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday. The move is an abrupt shift, coming just days after the new policy took...

The (So Far) Scandal-Free Administration.

Rep. Darrell Issa , who as chair of the House Oversight Committee will be chief inquisitor in the new congress, has gotten some attention from his remark that Barack Obama is "one of the most corrupt presidents of modern times." And what kind of corruption has this corruption-hunter uncovered? Kickbacks to supporters? Shady contract deals? Suitcases full of cash from foreign dictators? Well, not really. "When you hand out $1 trillion in TARP just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus, that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect," Issa explained. So the "corruption" is that the government has spent money on things Issa didn't think it should have spent money on, and also enacted policies with which he disagrees. As idiotic as that assertion may be, it actually raises something interesting: the Obama administration, in its first two years anyway, has been extraordinarily...

That's How We Do It on the Street, Lunch Meat!

If we've learned anything in the last couple of years, it's that the costs of political looniness are limited and localized. The Republican Party has galloped to the right, with some of its most visible spokespeople being ... well, let's just say not a group of wise and reasonable statesmen. Yet they certainly didn't suffer much for it at the polls in November. Yes, some of their craziest candidates lost, but the extremism of people like Sharron Angle did little to impede the GOP wave. And at the moment, the party seems to be casting about for new ways to find those within its ranks insufficiently doctrinaire. The contenders to chair the RNC had to sit down yesterday for a debate, in which they were asked questions about just how much they deplore the prospect of gay people being allowed to marry, and what their favorite book is. Call me crazy, but if I were a Republican, my concern about prospective RNC chairs wouldn't be what their favorite books are or even what they believe in...

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