Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. 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

Tough Votes.

One of legislators' favorite strategic moves is to force their opponents into "tough" votes, whereby in order to get what they want they have to vote for something really unpopular or against something really popular. The idea is that since these legislators (particularly those in the House, who have to run every two years) are motivated largely by fear, they will knuckle under as visions of attack ads dance in their heads. Sometimes this works, and sometimes the opponents forge ahead anyway. And sometimes those "tough" votes do indeed get used in attack ads -- a good recent example was Sharron Angle 's ad accusing Harry Reid of wanting to give Viagra to child molesters. But that didn't seem to work. And this past week, Democrats tried to pass a seemingly bullet-proof piece of legislation, providing assistance to 9/11 first responders sickened by the dust and debris they were exposed to at ground zero, but Senate Republicans managed to successfully filibuster it. You'd think they'd be...

Misinformation in Campaign 2010.

There's a new poll out from the Program on International Policy Attitudes, which shows that nine in 10 voters said that during the campaign they encountered information that was misleading or false. Obviously, in order to know you're encountering misleading information, you have to have some idea of what the truth is. But apparently not. As I've noted before , most of the misinformation benefits Republicans: Though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the stimulus legislation has saved or created 2.0-5.2 million jobs, only 8% of voters thought most economists who had studied it concluded that the stimulus legislation had created or saved several million jobs. Most (68%) believed that economists estimate that it only created or saved a few jobs and 20% even believed that it resulted in job losses. Though the CBO concluded that the health reform law would reduce the budget deficit, 53% of voters thought most economists have concluded that health reform will increase the...

The Left's Answer to the Oklahoma Sharia Law.

Back in March of 2008, I wrote a column about certain sectors of the left, particularly the anti-war group Code Pink and the Berkeley City Council, a uniquely silly municipal body. The controversy of the moment had to do with protests at a Marine recruiting center. Here's a little excerpt from the column: At times like this it's hard not to wonder whether Code Pink and the Berkeley City Council aren't agents provocateurs , a kind of self-parody strike force sent by Dick Cheney to discredit opposition to the war. Four months ago, I praised the Berkeley City Council when it passed a creative plan to help residents install solar-energy systems in their homes. But for every piece of innovative thinking, there seem to be a dozen pieces of idiocy. Instead of asking themselves, "Is there anything we can do to make our schools better?" the council members ask, "Is there anything we can do to protest the war?" The answer is no. You're the city council of a small city in California. How about...

Going Out With Class.

In his farewell address to the Senate today, Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah did something rather unusual for a Republican these days: He talked about his opponents as though they are not crazed socialists, or America-hating foreigners, but as though they are reasonable, well-intentioned people with whom he happens to disagree on most things. His address was pretty remarkable in a lot of ways, not least because he talked proudly about how his father, who was also a senator, cast a vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act, even though most conservatives at the time found it an encroachment of government on individual liberty. But here's the key part. This is a partisan talking, but one who isn't full of hate: The Democrats are the party of government. Going back to their roots with Franklin Roosevelt , they come to the conclusion that if there is a problem, government should solve that problem. The Republicans are the party of free markets, and they come to the conclusion that if there is a...

And You Think Your Cell-Phone Bill Is High.

Something caught my eye in this piece at TPM about how the military is looking at equipping soldiers with smartphones: The Army first needs to find a way to build its own portable, secure 3G network in places like Afghanistan. That means, according to Fuiza, shrinking normally 100-foot cell phone towers into small units with portable antennas that can be affixed to trucks or backpacks. It also would require that the Army create not only its own apps, but also its own app "store" -- and a way to screen apps for viruses and other security threats. And, it definitely means finding a phone that's tough enough to endure battle conditions. The Army is currently testing phones, according to spokeswoman Annie Gammell. Yesterday, in fact, soldiers at Fort Bliss in Texas were testing a phone and system built by Monax, a division of Lockheed Martin that's trying to get into the tactical 3G market. The Army is also looking at phones your average consumer would be familiar with, like the iPhone or...

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