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

Obama on the Rebound.

Remember when Barack Obama was headed for inevitable defeat in 2012, after the American public soundly rejected his leftist ways? Well, maybe not so much. Here's the latest on his approval ratings (I've filtered out results from Rasmussen, which are reliably unreliable): So what happened? Well, the overwhelming majority of the country was pleased with his response to the Arizona shooting, and also the economy is looking slightly less terrible than it was. The latest poll from The Washington Post and ABC News, for instance, has his approval at 54 percent, higher than it has been in a long time. And as Taegan Goddard observes , at this point in Ronald Reagan 's first term, his approval was at 37 percent. Does that mean Obama's headed for a cakewalk in 2012? Of course not. Poll results are fun (for some of us, anyway), but we have a tendency to over-interpret them. I'm sure that right now there are conservatives who look at this uptick and say to themselves, "That doesn't mean anything...

The White House on Health-Care Offense.

As the House prepares to vote on the "Repeal the Puppy-Strangling Job-Vivisecting O-Commie-Care Act," or whatever they're now calling it, the White House and its allies actually seem to have their act together when it comes to fighting this war for public opinion. The latest is an analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services on just how many people have pre-existing conditions, and thus will be protected from denials of health insurance when the Affordable Care Act goes fully into effect in 2014: According to a new analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition. Up to one in five non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition – 25 million individuals – is uninsured. Under the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, these Americans cannot be denied coverage, be charged significantly higher premiums, be subjected to an extended waiting period, or have...

Expressions of Faith

Public discussion of religion can build walls at the same time it tries to bring them down.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at a memorial service in Tucson, Ariz.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In his speech last week at the memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Tucson, Barack Obama implored Americans "to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together." It was a welcome message. In the days since, we've had conversations about whether we're cultivating that empathy, whether we're being respectful toward each other, and how we avoid reverting to our prior state of vituperation and acrimony. One has to be awfully optimistic to think that will happen, but we can nevertheless seize this brief moment of comity to contemplate some issues that may have lain silent for some time. As I watched Obama's speech, I was struck by how religious it was, with quotations from the Old Testament and numerous mentions of God and heaven. Before we proceed, let me be clear: It was neither surprising nor inappropriate for the setting and the...

The Presidency Is a Job.

I'm no fan of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- he seems to have become a conservative star for no other reason than he's kind of a bully, and as of yet he has not actually done much of note other than yell at teachers. But this, from an interview on Fox News Sunday , was certainly unusual: WALLACE : You don't think you could help more in the White House than in the state house? CHRISTIE : No, I don't think I can help New Jersey more in the White House than I can help it in the state house. And secondly, you have got to believe in your heart that you're personally ready to be president, and I'm not there. WALLACE : Why not? I mean, seriously. You say you answer the questions. In what way are you not ready to be president? CHRISTIE : Listen, I think every year you have as a governor in an executive position in a big state like New Jersey would make you better prepared to be president. And after one year as governor, I am not arrogant enough to believe that after one year as governor of...

Context Is Everything.

Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling tells us that Kay Bailey Hutchison was probably toast, had she decided to run again (via Jon Chait ): Hutchison's approval rating with Republicans on our last Texas poll was just 58%. To put that number into some perspective Lisa Murkowski 's approval with Republicans in January of 2010 was 77% and Mike Castle 's in March of 2009 was 69%. They both started out in a much better position against their Tea Party opposition than Hutchison would have, and they both lost anyway. A poll we conducted in September of 2010 found that only 25% of Republicans in Texas would support Hutchison for renomination to 62% who preferred a 'more conservative' challenger. It's doubtful Hutchison really would have lost by that sort of margin, but she certainly would have been in deep, deep trouble had a Tea Party challenger emerged. Jensen goes on to say that "there is pretty much no Republican incumbent immune to a challenge from the right these days," and he's...

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