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

Olympia's Choice.

Let's say you're a moderate New England Republican senator, and you're up for re-election in 2012. What looks to be your biggest political problem? Well, looking at what just happened to some of your colleagues, you've got a strong incentive to avoid, or if that's not possible, overcome, a primary challenge. That means doing stuff like this : She was once considered the most likely Republican to vote for health care reform. Now, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is joining scores of Republicans and conservatives in support of the Florida health care lawsuit's plaintiffs, challenging the Constitutionality of the law. Yesterday, she and 30 other Republicans signed an amicus brief in the case. You may remember the extraordinary amount of energy that Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Max Baucus put into courting Snowe during the health-care debate. She played footsie with them for months, always maintaining the idea -- which turned out to be fantasy -- that with the right combination of tweaks to...

Mitt's Mandate.

As you probably know by now, Republicans say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but when you start asking them about the ACA's provisions -- like a ban on exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or subsidies to small businesses -- they'll invariably say, "Well, we don't want to repeal that . Just the awful socialist parts. We'll put that back in once we 'repeal and replace.'" The thing they do want to repeal is the one unpopular provision, which is the individual mandate to carry insurance. Unfortunately, the whole thing doesn't work without the individual mandate, which brings everyone into the system. (This is particularly true of the ban on pre-existing conditions. Jettison the individual mandate but keep that ban, and every insurer in America would literally go out of business within a year or two.) How do we solve this problem? Matt Yglesias offers a way out, courtesy of Mitt Romney : Romney’s old idea of letting people "demonstrate that they can pay for their own...

Terrorism Conviction Supposedly Demonstrates Futility of Seeking Terrorism Convictions

Imagine that the government were prosecuting an alleged serial killer for a series of murders, and when the jury returned its verdict, it found him guilty of only one of the alleged crimes. Your response would probably be, well, it would have been better if they had enough evidence on the other crimes, but in the end, they got the guy, and the conviction will be enough to keep him in prison for life. So you'd probably be surprised if the headlines the next day read, "Serial Killer Acquitted of All But One Charge; Verdict Calls Into Question Government Strategy of Using Courts to Try Murderers." But that's what just happened with the case of Ahmed Ghailani , who was implicated in the 1998 Kenya embassy bombing. While the government hoped to convict him of the murders of everyone who died, the jury ended up returning a guilty verdict only on one conspiracy charge. This may have had something to do with the exclusion of evidence that was produced when Ghailani was tortured. Nevertheless...

The Candidate of Resentment.

This Sunday's New York Times Magazine contains a lengthy article on Sarah Palin 's nascent presidential campaign. The author, Robert Draper, managed to score an interview with Palin despite the fact that he is neither an employee of Fox News nor a conservative talk radio host, a remarkable achievement. Here's part of what she told him: "Yes, the organization would have to change," Palin said during an hourlong phone conversation. "I'd have to bring in more people — more people who are trustworthy," she clarified. Palin said that her experience as John McCain 's running mate was for the most part "amazing, wonderful, do it again in a heartbeat." But she added, "What Todd and I learned was that the view inside the bus was much better than underneath it, and we knew we got thrown under it by certain aides who weren’t principled" and that "the experience taught us, yes, to be on guard and be very discerning about who we can and can’t trust in the political arena." She went on: "I know...

Actual Good News on Health Coverage.

Here's some good news on the Affordable Care Act front, from The Wall Street Journal : The number of small businesses offering health insurance to workers is projected to increase sharply this year, recent data show, a shift that researchers attribute to a tax credit in the health law. Many small businesses, however, remain opposed to the law. Some small businesses are benefiting from portions of the law, which includes a tax credit beginning this year that covers as much as 35% of a company's insurance premiums. According to a report by Bernstein Research in New York, the percentage of employers with between three and nine workers and which are offering insurance has increased to 59% this year, up from 46% last year. The report relies on data from a September survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. A full tax credit is available to employers with 10 or fewer full-time workers and average annual wages of less than $25,000. The credit phases out gradually and has a cap at...

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