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

Desperate for High-Speed Internet

Back in February, Google announced that it was going to provide ultra-high-speed broadband -- 1 gigabyte per second downloads, or about 20 times as fast as what your typical broadband subscriber gets today -- to a couple of lucky communities in the United States. This would be accomplished by as-yet-undeveloped technology, and the pipes would be open to multiple Internet-service providers, providing competition of a kind that has become virtually nonexistent. What happened next was kind of remarkable. By the time the deadline came on Friday, over 1,100 cities and towns applied to be one of the fortunate few. The map above shows where they are -- the smaller dots are municipalities that applied, and the larger dots are places where over 1,000 people wrote in support of their town. You've got every region of the country represented. Some of them went a little crazy, coming up with stunts like jumping into shark tanks to get Google's attention. Members of Congress even got involved --...

Playing the Long Game

Obama realizes that transformative presidents look past day-to-day disasters.

(White House/Pete Souza)
On March 4, 2008, Hillary Clinton won surprise victories in primary elections in Texas and Ohio. At first, it seemed to be a momentous shift of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, making Barack Obama's victory seem not so inevitable after all, as some had believed it to be since he won the Iowa caucus two months before. But it quickly became apparent that Clinton's popular-vote wins were almost meaningless. In the contests that took place that day, Obama had actually garnered more delegates than Clinton. His march to the nomination continued unabated. By executing a carefully planned strategy of delegate accumulation and worrying less about the campaign's daily ups and downs, Obama bested a more seasoned rival to become the Democratic candidate. That ability -- to see the entire contour of a lengthy political battle -- may be the most important factor in Obama's success. It got him to the White House, and it enabled him to achieve the most meaningful piece of social...

What's With All the Hating on Congressional Staff?

One of the oddest things we've seen in recent weeks is the way Republicans have taken to lashing out at congressional staff. First you had Newt Gingrich arguing that health-care reform couldn't be done right because it was in the hands of staffers "who have never had a real job, who spent their entire life being arrogant to visitors from back home, who end up thinking they know a lot because they stay up until 3 o'clock working on a word processor, and who write legislation as though they have some contact with reality." Then you had John Boehner imploring his banker friends, "Don't let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves" by fighting against financial reform. Now you've got Rep. Devin Nunes , who apparently is pledging the congressional fraternity Beta Tau Nutball ( Michele Bachmann , Rush Chair), complaining that Democrats are employing "staff thugs" who do things like monitor votes. It makes you wonder what the people who work for these...

Would Things Have Been Different If Hillary Clinton Had Won?

Remember during the 2008 primary campaign how Obama supporters argued that one reason not to elect Hillary Clinton was that she would unite Republicans against her? And that since they hated her so much, they'd wage a scorched-earth campaign against everything she tried to do, miring the country in years of bitter and angry conflict, full of insane and venomous charges that would force the administration to defend itself against the conspiracy theories of an increasingly unhinged opposition? And that they'd work their supporters up into such a lather of hatred that we might see a repeat of the early 1990s, with the rise of right-wing anti-government populism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing? Good thing we dodged that one. I bring this up not as a criticism of Obama ’s ceaseless efforts to reach across the aisle and treat Republicans like grown-ups who might have an interest in governing. But this outcome shows that some time ago, conservatives stopped believing that any...

The Difference Between Ideology and Partisanship

The blogosphere has been abuzz with the strange case of David Frum , who just got canned from his cozy sinecure at the American Enterprise Institute, probably the second-most-important think tank on the right (after the Heritage Foundation). Frum has an excellent conservative pedigree. He was a speechwriter for George W. Bush , among other things, and he remains extremely conservative today. However, over the last year or so he has been making a name for himself as a reasonable conservative, one willing to call out the Republican Party when he thinks it's making a mistake. And that, apparently, is the problem. The last straw for AEI was apparently this post on Frum's blog, where he said, "Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s," and went on to lay the blame at the all-or-nothing strategy employed by the GOP leadership. Frum's crime was not an ideological one but a partisan one. Apparently, not only is it forbidden to...

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