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 Healthy Mandate Discussion.

In today's New York Times , Ross Douthat advises Republicans to "transform Obamacare from within. With the right changes ... it could become the kind of reform that conservatives claim to have been looking for all along." I'm guessing the chances of congressional Republicans moving from their current "Burn it down!" position to one of working constructively to devise effective policy solutions are virtually nil -- after all, doing so would mean accepting that the basic structure of reform is in place and isn't going anywhere. But this does suggest one area where Democrats might invite their counterparts to come up with a solution everyone can embrace: the individual mandate. Let's not forget that unlike many provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the mandate is a means, not an end. The end is getting everyone (or nearly everyone) into the system so you can insist that insurance companies insure everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, and at premiums that don't discriminate...

John Adams and the Affordable Care Act.

Here's something I'll bet you didn't know: The Founding Fathers supported government-mandated health care. Rick Ungar of Forbes unearthed this bit of history (via Greg Sargent ): In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen." The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance. Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its members were the drafters of the Constitution. And when the Bill came to the desk of President John Adams for signature, I think it’s safe to assume that the man in that chair had a pretty good grasp on what the framers had in mind. As a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, I say...Who cares? Don't get me wrong -- it's an interesting story, and it is indeed...

Mitt Romney, Common Man.

Remember back in 2008, when John McCain got in trouble for not being able to recall how many homes he owned? (The correct answer was seven, by the way.) This caught my eye from a Time magazine article on Mitt Romney : Meanwhile, Romney brought his skills as a turnaround artist to his own operation. In 2009 he sold two of his four multimillion-dollar homes, which had become political liabilities in this age of downsizing. At his 11-acre (4.5 hectare) estate in Wolfeboro, N.H., he continued to host brainstorming salons with political strategists, campaign donors and party insiders, discussing the state of the nation and trying to work out just what to do next. Well done, governor -- good to see you embracing the spirit of austerity. I almost feel bad for you, having to get by with merely two multimillion-dollar homes, the lakeside New Hampshire estate and the seaside La Jolla estate. And it couldn't have been easy to part with the 9,500-foot ski lodge in Deer Valley, especially since...

So Long, Health-Care Repeal.

Now that House Republicans have followed through on their promise to hold a meaningless vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, they'll be commencing a complex effort on health care, in which both the ACA's shortcomings and the GOP's alternative ideas will be presented to the public in high-profile events, so the American people can see the wisdom of Republican solutions. Right? Wrong. As we know, the political problem that repealing the ACA presents for Republicans is that people like the actual things the law does, and once you've gotten past the symbolic repeal vote, if you want to start dismantling it, you're going to be attacking just those things people like. So what are we going to see? A hearing here and there, some gamesmanship when the budget is written, but on the whole, the repeal effort from this point forward will look rather half-hearted. It's not just the political problem that repeal represents. Just as important in the absence of the "replace" part of "repeal and...

What Are the 2012 GOP Presidential Contenders Going to Say About Marriage Equality?

Daily Kos is going to be polling once a month on marriage equality, and the first installment doesn't show anything particularly surprising -- a third of the public supports same-sex marriage, a third supports civil unions, and a third doesn't support any legal recognition for gay couples. But this raises a question: Where are the 2012 Republican presidential contenders going to be on this issue? After all, the arc of public opinion is unmistakable, and almost every major politician has moved to the left in recent years, in one way or another. For a while, it's been Democrats (including Barack Obama ) who have felt awkward answering this question, torn between the principle of equality and their political fear of being punished. But since they'll be forced to articulate their positions on all kinds of things, folks like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee could be facing a dilemma. Let's take these numbers (which seem roughly in line with other polls). If you're going to say, "No legal...

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