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

Old Media Colonizes New Media, or Maybe Vice-Versa.

Interesting announcement from The New York Times : The New York Times said Thursday that it would begin hosting the popular blog FiveThirtyEight and make its founder, Nate Silver , a regular contributor to the newspaper and the Sunday magazine. Mr. Silver, a statistical wizard, became a bonafide media star during the last presidential election season for his political projections based on dissections of polling data. He retains all rights to FiveThirtyEight and will continue to run it himself, but "under the banner and auspices of NYTimes.com," The Times said in a news release. The arrangement is similar to one The Times struck with the authors of the blog Freakonomics in 2007. What this -- along with developments like The Washington Post snagging Ezra Klein from us here at TAP -- shows is that in their efforts to navigate the evolving media world, at least some august publications are widening their horizons a bit, to embrace forms of content and voices that just a couple of years...

A Scandal Is Coming. Eventually.

A while back, the Obama administration tried to convince Joe Sestak not to run in the Democratic primary against Sen. Arlen Specter , suggesting that it might give him some sort of position on an unpaid commission. Republicans have been torn by the question of whether this rather mundane bit of political deal-making was just worse than Watergate, or might actually be one of history's greatest crimes. Jonathan Chait makes a good observation about this issue: I'm trying to come up with reasons why the press has taken this seriously. The best I can do is that President Obama has been in office for nearly a year and a half and we've yet to have even an appetizer-sized scandal. Therefore, everybody's jumping on the first one to come along. Look: Obama's going to be there for four or eight years. Eventually somebody in his administration will do something that's actually illegal, or at least unethical in a way that doesn't require redefining utterly normal political behavior as unethical...

No Disrespect.

Jon Stewart has a riff about how some people think that adding "No disrespect" to something they say can make even the most offensive statements acceptable. "Your mother's a whore -- no disrespect." That's essentially the position Newt Gingrich is taking. On the one hand, he has a new book out, which is all about how Barack Obama 's "secular-socialist machine" is a greater threat to America than Hitler or Stalin were. On the other hand, he still wants to remain a member of polite political society. So we get this ( from Think Progress ): Newt Gingrich sat down with the Des Moines Register editorial board this week to discuss his new book To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular Socialist Machine . Right at the start of the interview, a Register editor asked if Gingrich thinks “voters are stupid since they elected President Obama in 2008.” The former Speaker walked back the entire premise of his book. “The whole question of the scale of change has nothing to do with Obama,” he said...

More Non-Sucky Government Websites, Please.

The Sunlight Foundation just announced the winners of its Design for America contest, in which they asked designers to come up with innovative visualizations of government data, and things like redesigns of government websites. Not every one will change your life, but there are definitely some great ideas there. For instance, look at the proposal for a redesign of the IRS website by a design firm called A Good Company; then look at the big bag of nothing that is the actual IRS website . The difference shows just how useful, informative, and generally pleasing government websites could be, and how bad they often are. Here's a quick video that shows some of what the Sunlight Foundation's contest inspired: -- Paul Waldman

Defense and Deficit Hawkery.

When the House passed a defense authorization bill last week, the big news was that an amendment providing for the repeal of the ban on gays serving in the military was included. But there was something else notable about it too: the price tag. The bill came to $726 billion. In a break from the Bush years, it actually provides for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of declaring those to be "emergency" spending, as though we didn't see it coming. But here's what I'd like to know: Where are all those "fiscal conservatives" who said that it just cost too darn much to extend unemployment benefits? That we have to live within our means, and stop borrowing money? That the government needs fiscal discipline? That the deficit is a time bomb that will obliterate us all? Where were they? Nowhere. They're quite happy to borrow hundreds of billions to spend on defense, because they just happen to like spending money on defense. They don't find unemployment benefits, or health care, or...

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