Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. 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

Capitalists Are People.

What I mean by that headline is this: In Econ 101, you're taught that firms endeavor to maximize profits, coolly examining various options and always choosing what is best for the bottom line. But the truth is that companies, just like other organizations, are made up of people. And people often misunderstand things, ignore things, and act against their own interests when their personal beliefs and prejudices get in the way. Which brings us to this rather amazing Bloomberg article (via Kevin Drum ): Investors Show Obama No Respect in Poll as Profits Surge Investors around the world say President Barack Obama is bad for the bottom line, even though U.S. corporations are on track for the biggest earnings growth in 22 years and the stock market is headed for its best back-to- back annual gains since 2004. ... Investors are evenly split over their overall impression of the president, though 62 percent of those in the U.S. view him negatively. Worldwide, 63 percent of all respondents say...

The Tea Party and the 2012 Senate Races.

During the campaign, I predicted that the Tea Party would begin to fade away in 2011, as it got successfully co-opted by congressional Republicans, then divided by the 2012 Republican presidential primary (with its members split among the contenders). But now I'm starting to wonder. Any political movement is invigorated by its conflicts, and there will be some opportunities for the Tea Party to keep its anger train running. In fact, the best opportunity may be the 2012 Senate races. As this election showed, there are two things that can get you a primary challenge from the right: a general lack of fealty to conservative ideology, or even a moment's lapse in partisanship, say by co-sponsoring a bill with a Democrat. There are 10 Republican seats that will be up in 2012. Let's look at who they are: John Kyl (AZ): 2 John Barrasso (WY): 4 John Ensign (NV): 5 Roger Wicker (MS): 22 Orrin Hatch (UT): 24 Bob Corker (TN): 26 Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX): 28 Richard Lugar (IN): 34 Scott Brown (MA...

The Coming Health-Care-Reform Theater.

Republican apostate David Frum makes an interesting argument : By committing not to compromise with Democrats, Republicans have assured that all they'll be engaged in is theater, particularly when it comes to health-care reform. As an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Frum thinks it stinks: They'll schedule a vote to repeal the "cuts" in Medicare under health care reform. (Not really cuts -- restrictions on future growth.) They'll refuse to appropriate funds to implement aspects of health care reform. They'll call hearings to publicize problems with the law and complaints from those negatively affected. And at the end of two years, the law will still be there, more or less intact... But if there is no compromise, there can be no negotiations. And if there are no negotiations, there can be no fixes -- because every important fix requires the concurrence of the Senate and the president... As is, we're getting a bad trade: Republicans may gain political benefit, but Democrats get the...

Taking Rick Perry With a Grain of Salt.

As a big-state governor who just got re-elected, Rick Perry -- whom the great Molly Ivins used to call "Governor Goodhair" -- would seem to be a natural for a presidential run. And he's even taken the first step, "writing" a silly book outlining his ideas about how to make America awesome again (channeling the moment, his is called Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington ). And as he goes around promoting it, Perry is telling everyone that Washington is getting way too involved in our lives, down to telling us "how much salt we should put on our food." He repeats this over and over again, wherever he goes. You're probably wondering what the hell he's talking about. And this would seem to be a prime candidate for the question I'm always begging reporters to ask politicians when they start to throw around these kind of outlandish claims: "What are you talking about?" It's a simple question, but one that almost never gets asked. Fortunately, The Washington Post' s Dana Milbank...

Hostage Negotiations, the Madman Theory, and the Debt Ceiling.

The first real test of the new Republican House majority will be coming around February, when Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling to allow the Treasury to continue borrowing money to pay for all the things government does. Republicans are now figuring out what they want to demand in exchange for going along, and both sides are trying to determine just how this is going to play out politically. One thing we can anticipate is that Republicans will get very indignant when Democrats charge that this is a "hostage" situation. But it will be. The essence of a hostage situation is that the hostage taker says, "Give me what I want, or I will do terrible harm to this thing you care about." The threat is believable only if the hostage taker is thought to be willing to actually do that harm. Is it believable in this case? Well, in this case, the thing being held hostage is both the U.S economy and the world economy. The potential is that if the Republicans don't budge on not raising the...

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