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 Impermanent Majority

President Bush, left, puts his arm around White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove as they appear before reporters during a news conference announcing Rove's resignation, Monday, Aug. 13, 2007, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
After George W. Bush was elected in 2000, his advisers and allies set about solidifying their control of Congress. In short order, the phrase "permanent Republican majority" started to get bandied about ( here is a reference to it in a Time magazine article from April 2001). That idea partly concerned efforts by Bush and Karl Rove to expand the Republican base to include groups like Latinos, but mostly referred to the House of Representatives. With the right mix of money, targeted legislation, and clever redistricting (the cocktail that landed Tom DeLay in jail), Republicans could make their grip on the House all but impossible to break. For a while, it seemed to be working. Republicans gained seats in 2002, then Bush won re-election in 2004, and a spate of books arrived explaining how Republicans were redrawing the American political map for a generation to come (see here , here , and here ). But it turned out to be anything but permanent. Democrats won back both houses of Congress...

Rick Perry Revives Zombie Tax Lie

Aaaaarrrrrrgh! Family farms! Aaaaarrrrrrgh!
Let's be honest: the tax plan Rick Perry unveiled the other day is a bushel of bamboozlement inside a cartload of crap. That may not surprise anyone, but I have to point out Perry's embrace of an old zombie lie that should have been shot in the head with a crossbow (have I been watching too much Walking Dead ?) a long time ago. Says Perry's web site: In the case of family business owners and farmers, the [estate] tax often exceeds the ability of the family to pay. These heirs are consequently forced to sell off part, if not all, of their enterprise in order to pay the tax. Eliminating the death tax is necessary to protect family businesses, farms and jobs. No, no, no. I realize that it's a lot more appealing to say you want to eliminate the tax to help struggling family farmers than to say you want to eliminate it so Paris Hilton won't have to pay taxes, unlike people who work for a living. But the family farm myth has been debunked again and again. As a report from the Center on...

A Tale of Three Profiles

In the last few days, both the New York Times and the Washington Post have done long articles profiling Mitt Romney. What do they teach us? Well, let me give you what ink-stained wretches call the "nut graf" from each piece. Here's the Times : This time, he has shed much of the operational and psychological baggage that weighed down, and ultimately doomed, his maiden campaign. Gone are the extensive debate rehearsals, the bickering consultants, the corporate dress code and the urge to explain everything. That may explain why, for all his ups and downs, Mr. Romney’s public presentation and debate appearances have been far more consistent this time. And here's the Post : Ever since he stepped onto the national stage, Romney has been criticized as being unable to connect with voters — partly because of past positions out of step with many in his party and partly because of what some say is a wooden, detached personality. Although he has sharpened his campaign operation and mostly aced a...

Herman Cain Is Even Crazier Than You Thought

A few months ago, I undertook a dangerous mission for the magazine, one that could well have resulted in some post-traumatic stress. It involved reading all the latest books from the then-candidates and possible candidates, including Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich , and Mike Huckabee (the result was this article ). Unfortunately, Herman Cain was not yet running, nor had he produced the inspiring tome that is his latest, This is Herman Cain! (note to self: Make sure next book has exclamation point in title!), so I didn't get the chance to read it. But Michelle Cottle did, and what she found was pretty alarming. Here's the lead of her piece in the Daily Beast : Raise your hand if you have a favorite number. Keep it raised if you believe this number to be your "lucky" number. Now keep it up only if you think this number has a literal, meaningful, ongoing impact on your life. Finally, if your hand is still up, ask yourself this: If you were running for president and...

Herman Cain: Yesterday, Totally Pro-Choice. Today, Totally Pro-Life

Yesterday morning, I looked into my crystal ball and boldly predicted that within 48 hours, Herman Cain would walk back his surprisingly pro-choice comments on abortion ("So what I'm saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide") and come out for full-on, abortion-should-be-illegal anti-choicism. Well here you go : FOX HOST MARTHA MACCALLUM: Do you believe that abortion should be legal in this country for families who want to make that decision [to abort]? CAIN: No. I do not believe abortion should be legal in this country, if that's the question. MACCALLUM: So then you're saying that if those circumstances come up and the family does make that decision, that they decide that that is the best thing for this young person or she decides that on her own, then if that's what they decided, then it would be an illegal...

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