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 Connected World.

If you're over the age of 30 or so, there was probably a time when you thought the idea of getting a cell phone was kind of silly. I remember saying, "I'm not a doctor, or a drug dealer, so what would I need one of those things for?" Then more and more people started to get them, and for a while I still thought it was kind of ridiculous. The breaking point came when I had to pick my better half up at the airport and we couldn't find each other. "Enough is enough," I said, and we got cell phones soon after. And a few years later , it's the idea of leaving the house without your phone that seems ridiculous: GENEVA — The number of Internet users worldwide has mushroomed to reach the two billion mark, the head of the UN's telecommunications agency, Hamadoun Toure, said on Wednesday. The number of mobile phone subscriptions also reached the symbolic threshold of five billion, the secretary general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) told journalists. "At the beginning...

Republicans, Democrats, and Transparency.

Is this good news or bad news? The new Republican chairman of the House oversight committee is demanding details of every request for federal records made by citizens, journalists, and others during the last five years under the Freedom of Information Act. It's part of a broad congressional inquiry into President Barack Obama 's promises to improve government transparency. The chairman, Representative Darrell Issa of California, said the committee wants to make sure that "all federal agencies respond in a timely, substantive and non-discriminatory manner" to requests for records under the information law. Well, there could be a number of things going on here. This could have a purely partisan intent – Issa may suspect that the Obama administration has been discriminating in the way it fills FOIA requests against conservative groups, or corporations, or something. He may therefore be hoping to uncover something he can use to bludgeon the administration with. Or he may be hoping to find...

Well, That Should Settle Things.

Hawaiians are so sweetly naïve : Moving to dispel claims that President Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii, his supporters in the state's legislature have introduced a bill that would allow anyone to get a copy of his birth records for a $100 fee. The idea behind the measure is to end skepticism over Obama's birthplace while raising a little money for a government with a projected budget deficit exceeding $800 million over the next two years. "If it passes, it will calm the birthers down," said the bill's primary sponsor, Rep. Rida Cabanilla. " No, no it won't calm them down. You see, birthers aren't birthers because they looked carefully at the evidence and are legitimately suspicious that Obama was not actually born in the U.S. There is no piece of evidence you could show them that would convince them otherwise. As Richard Hofstadter explained in "The Paranoid Style In American Politics," when you show conspiracy theorists evidence that contradicts their conspiracy theory, it only...

Why Conservatives Ought to Love the Postal Service.

Bear with me here, this isn't really about Mitt Romney . But I was recently reading his book No Apology: The Case For American Greatness (summary: America is great), and at one point, while describing the virtues of the free market and the pathologies of government, Mitt says, "It has been my experience that almost always government is far less productive than enterprises in the private sector. That's why private companies build roads for government and make equipment for the military. It's also part of the reason why FedEx and UPS can make a profit shipping and delivering packages while the U.S. Postal Service loses money, even with its inherent competitive advantages." This is a common refrain among conservatives -- if you want to see why government stinks, compare money-losing USPS to money-making UPS and FedEx. There are multiple reasons why this argument is bogus, the most important of which is that unlike any private corporation (or any government agency, for that matter), the...

Do We Need a Manager in the White House?

There are only two major Republicans who are absolutely, positively running for president in 2012, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty . And Romney is honing his pitch : I don't know who all's going to get in the race but I do believe that it would be helpful if at least one of the people in the Republican field had extensive experience in the private sector, in small business, in big business, working with the economy. Because frankly not just solving the near-term problems of unemployment -- people not getting checks -- is going to require someone with that experience but also long-term, we've got to have a strong economic foundation to make sure we can stay ahead of the challenges we face like a growing China and a militarily aggressive China. Romney can legitimately claim to be the only candidate with extensive business experience (though running Palin, Inc., is surely no small task). I've argued at length before that the idea that business experience translates to successful governing...

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