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

The Force Is Strong With Them.

When the Obama administration was deciding how to deal with the Elizabeth Warren question, they faced a lot of competing pressures. Progressives had become invested in Warren's appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that exists because it was Warren's idea in the first place. Banks and Republicans, on the other hand, don't much like Warren, so there would be a fight over her appointment. And the White House obviously wasn't sure it wanted to have that fight. You can argue with the conclusion it came to -- making Warren an "assistant to the president," so she can oversee the establishment of the agency, while putting off the question of who will ultimately lead it for another day. But what's so remarkable is that there was even any question about whether, politically speaking, they should pick this fight with the other side. Because it should have been a no-brainer. Here you have a brilliant, folksy, compelling, charismatic figure, whose nomination would be...

The Opposite of Humble.

When attendees at last week's Values Voter Summit made Indiana Congressman Mike Pence the winner of their presidential straw poll, he wanted everyone to hear one message: I, Mike Pence, am a man of great humility. Not only that, his wife is humble too. "Karen and I are humbled by the results of today's straw poll," he said in a statement . "However, my focus remains on winning a conservative majority in the U.S. House in November." Since when did we decide that when you want to say "flattered," what you should say is "humbled"? Shouldn't that be a compliment someone else pays you, instead of a compliment you pay yourself? Why did him winning that straw poll make his wife feel more lowly? And wouldn't it have made more sense to say he was "humbled" if he came in last place? It was a familiar note for Pence. "I'm very humbled anytime we're mentioned in that regard," he told CBN's David Brody in July when the issue of a presidential run was raised, perhaps not realizing that the royal "...

Happy Koufax Day.

(Flickr/ rbglasson ) Over at The Atlantic , Alan Siegel reminds us that it was 45 years ago today (by the Jewish calendar, anyway) that Sandy Koufax decided that he was not going to pitch on Yom Kippur. His decision still resonates, particularly since we continue to fight about who counts as a real American. This was at a time when being Jewish was decidedly not cool, in the way it sort of is today (the phrase "Judeo-Christian heritage," including Jews in the American canon, hadn't yet been invented). Koufax's quiet stand wasn't even particularly religious -- he didn't go on and on about the meaning of Yom Kippur or anything (he wasn't all that observant). He just said that as a Jew, it wouldn't be right for him to play on this day. And in doing so, he made a powerful statement, one that every Jewish kid learns about with awe. Koufax's story tells those Jewish kids something important about America: Here, you don't have to hide who you are. Even if you sometimes feel like an outsider...

Now They're Really in Trouble.

Yesterday, Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine unveiled the DNC's new website , logo, and slogan ("Change that matters"). I looked at the site and the logo, and my first reaction was, "This kind of sucks." See for yourself: I'm all for getting past the donkey, but that "D" in a circle almost looks like a placeholder for when they get a real logo later on. That serif font, furthermore, is used for titles throughout the site, and it just doesn't work here. It's not nearly as strong and confident as Gotham , the font that became so identified with Barack Obama (and which you can still see all over sites like this one ). Since I wasn't sure if my own instincts were correct on this, I got in touch with a friend who's a graphic designer, and this is what he had to say about the logo: It looks like they are trying to both embrace and distance themselves from the Obama O. The defining outline evokes the weight of Obama's mark, but the emptiness inside, and the hard D leaves me...

How Much of a Problem for the GOP Is the Tea Party?

Marc Ambinder makes a useful comparison between the Tea Partiers and the Netroots: The Tea Party movement has been very successful in finding and running candidates for Senate because of the political economy of scale. But the gap between the threshold level of acceptability between the party and its activist base is wider than the gap between Democrats and the Netroots ever was. Even as Harry Reid has had to herd cats at times, as many headaches as Democrats have developed from having to deal with an internal affairs force within the party, it will pale in comparison to what Republicans will face in power if they try to adhere to their current norms. The people who made things hard for the Democratic leadership are the centrists, who abandon them on tough votes and do a lot to undermine the messages they want to send (as some did on health care, and are doing right now by coming out in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy). But there's no real comparison with the...

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