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

A Modest Proposal: No Pundit Day

On Sunday, The Washington Post asked various famous people for suggestions of "things we should toss." The results were somewhat interesting, particularly one: Donna Brazile , one of the country's best-known pundits, suggested that we ought to get rid of pundits . Just try to imagine it for a moment: no more Pat Buchanan s, no more James Carville s, no more "Democratic strategists" and "Republican strategists" filling your ears with mindless speculation and ridiculous talking points. Is it impossible? Not really, but it would be very hard. Media outlets, particularly television ones, rely on pundits mostly for practical reasons. If you need to fill up 24 hours a day with chatter, pundits are a reliable and easily accessed resource. They live in Washington, so the network doesn't have to pay to use a remote studio to talk to them. They make it their business to be available on a moment's notice. Their opinions are predictable and they know how to deliver sound bites, so producers know...

The Changed Face of Immigration.

There are a lot of interesting things in this new report from the Brookings Institution called "The State of Metropolitan America," and there was one striking graphic I wanted to share. We all know that the face of immigration has changed in recent years, but compare the origin of today's immigrants to those from 1970, which doesn't seem like all that long ago: In 1970, Europeans still made up 60 percent of all immigrants; now their proportion is down to 13 percent. And it isn't just Mexicans who have increased their share of the immigrant population, it's also Asians, Africans, and, well, pretty much everyone but Europeans (and Canadians -- their share is down as well). Among the many effects of these changing patterns is that if you're a white person, most immigrants used to look like you, but now they don't, which could certainly heighten the perception that you're country is being "taken" from you, and you want it back. -- Paul Waldman

One More Shot at Mark Penn.

A few days ago, erstwhile Clinton poll guru Mark Penn wrote a hilarious op-ed in The Washington Post , suggesting that "Cleggmania" in Britain showed that America was ready for a third party, hopefully helmed by some kind of Bloomberg -esque billionaire who could hire Mark Penn. You'll notice that Cleggmania wasn't so maniacal when Brits went to the polls yesterday. Jonathan Chait and Ed Kilgore gave Penn the required evisceration, but today I came across this interesting passage from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin 's Game Change . The scene takes place right after Barack Obama has sealed the 2008 Democratic nomination by securing the required number of delegates: Clinton polled the table as to whether Obama could win in November. "Yes," [Tina] Flournoy said. With your help, he can win." Everyone but Penn and [Cheryl] Mills agreed. So right after the guy has run the most extraordinary primary campaign in history, raised record amounts of money, shown himself to be the best orator...

The Problem With the "Ideas Factory."

A number of people have done a Nelson Muntz "Ha-ha!" at House Minority Whip Eric Cantor 's announcement that his "ideas factory," called the National Council for a New America, is shutting down one year after its launch, after doing not much of anything. But you've got to have some sympathy for him. The organization's goal of developing "innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country" is not easy. After all, Republicans pretty much know what they want to do: cut taxes; cut some kinds of government spending, like on social services, but increase others, like on defense; keep gay people from destroying the American family with their sordid schemes like "marriage" and "commitment"; and cut taxes. And did I mention cutting taxes? If you're going to come up with innovative twists on those ideas, it's going to require a lot of time, energy, and money. And Cantor already has a day job to worry about. Ideas are hard; new ideas are harder still; and new ideas...

Makin' Their Way, the Only Way They Know How

You can argue that supposedly important cultural divisions like "Red America vs. Blue America" are not really rending our nation asunder. But one thing has always been clear: While it may not be easy to get a precise measure of who hates whom more, there is a significant difference in who's doing the complaining. Here's what I mean: Folks in the "heartland" are convinced that when coastal elitists get together at their swanky Upper West Side soirées, there is much talk of the provincialism of the rubes in flyover country. And maybe there is. Southerners are sure (and have been sure since about, oh, 1750) that Northerners think they're a bunch of inbred hicks wearing overalls with no shirts. And maybe they do. But here's what you almost never see: Politicians from the North or the coasts, their voices dripping with contempt, telling their constituents that people who live in a different area of the country are worthy of scorn. In 2004, George W. Bush routinely mocked Massachusetts, the...

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