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

Lou Dobbs' Revisionist History.

You may have heard about The Nation 's exposé about Lou Dobbs , revealing that the crusader against illegal immigration has had undocumented workers cutting his grass and tending his show horses. Dobbs and the author of the piece, Isabel MacDonald , had a lengthy debate about it on Lawrence O'Donnell 's program, and Dobbs' contention that it was a "hit job" revolved around the fact that though there may have been undocumented workers there, he didn't personally hire them , so his hands are clean. That's a debatable point, but there's something else that's worthy of note. Again and again during the interview, Dobbs responded with outrage when MacDonald described him as an advocate of a "get tough" approach to illegal immigration, saying that for years he has been working with all sorts of people to find a comprehensive solution to the problem. If you never saw Dobbs' show on CNN, you might think he was a reasonable guy. But the truth is that his show, which was ostensibly about all...

Another Way to Think About the "Enthusiasm Gap."

You've probably heard that one thing that is bound to doom Democrats this November is the "enthusiasm gap," the fact that polls show Republicans far more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats. As Nate Silver tells us , this is really a turnout gap, and it's more about Republicans than Democrats. The Democratic base isn't actually particularly "dispirited," as we've heard -- they seem ready to turn out at something like historically consistent levels. What is likely to make the difference is that Republicans are really, really ready to turn out. This is basically what happened in 1994 -- reasonable Democratic turnout combined with extremely high Republican turnout. But here's another way to think about it. When we look back over recent off-year elections, it seems like the thing that matters most in creating this dynamic is this question: Just how much do members of the out-party hate the president? In 1994, Republicans really hated Bill Clinton , for instance, just as they hate...

MSNBC's Continuing Shuffle to the Left.

Jon Chait makes a good point in responding to the excellent article in New York magazine on the trials of CNN and MSNBC: MSNBC, as Sherman reports, is now courting a liberal audience. But (my opinion) you'll never have a liberal equivalent to Fox News that has anything like the same level of success. Conservatives believe that the mainstream news is fundamentally corrupt and untrustworthy. They want a fully closed information ecosystem in which every piece of data they consume is filtered through the perspective of the conservative movement. Very, very few liberals want that. They want their liberal opinion, but they also want straight news, or at the very least news that isn't overtly propagandistic like on Fox. MSNBC has slightly right-of-center programming in the morning with Joe Scarborough, straight news throughout the day, then liberal opinion at night. I'd add that it isn't just that conservatives want a fully closed information ecosystem, it's also that many of them have come...

If Elected, I Will Make Some Barely Noticeable Difference to America.

Here's how representative democracy works: We send a representative from our district or state to Washington, where they become one of either 435 House members or 100 senators. They can introduce legislation, serve on committees, and make speeches. But for one of them to do something really far-reaching is rare. That's especially true when you're new to the institution, partially because you need the cooperation of a majority of your colleagues to pass something, and partially because of the nature of seniority. When you're a freshman, you don't get to waltz in and write the next big tax bill. You don't get to chair the Appropriations Committee. But people running for office routinely imply to voters that if they are elected, Washington will be transformed . Look at this new ad from Rand Paul : "A physician not a career politician, Rand Paul will fix Medicare and Social Security." Two of my biggest pet peeves right there. First, saying you're not a politician so you'll be able to...

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

In case you haven't seen it, there's a new poll out from the National Journal which finds that only 20 percent of Americans -- and only 33 percent of Democrats , for gosh sakes -- think that this Congress has accomplished more than previous Congresses. Steve Benen gives the appropriate response: I don't expect the public to have an extensive knowledge of federal policymaking history, but I at least hoped Americans would realize the scope of recent accomplishments. We are, after all, talking about a two-year span in which Congress passed and the president signed the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, etc. ... This Congress has been about as many accomplishments as recent Congresses? Seriously?...

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