Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Innovations in Newsvertising.

If you watch local morning "news" shows -- I'm not judging here, but just so you know, doing so puts your very soul in mortal danger -- you may have seen various "consumer advocate" types come on and tell you about some awesome new products out there. But guess what? As James Rainey of the L.A. Times tells us (via Romanesko ), they're probably getting paid by the companies that make the products they're telling you about. It's a little infomercial dropped into your "news" program: With summer ending, local television news stations recently rolled out their back-to-school features. In 10 big cities, that meant an appearance by a young mother and "toy expert" named Elizabeth Werner. Werner whipped through pitches for seven toys in just a few minutes. Perky and positive-plus, Werner seemed to wow morning news people in towns like Detroit, Atlanta and Phoenix. They oohed and aahed as they smelled Play-Doh, poked at mechanical bugs and strummed an electronic guitar she brought to the...

More on the Republican Agenda, or Lack Thereof

To add something to what Jamelle said below about the National Journal poll showing that the GOP issue agenda isn't particularly popular, it's not much of a surprise. The Democrats usually have the advantage on issues; as I've been writing for some time , that's why, roughly speaking, Democrats run campaigns with the slogan "Please read my 10-point plan," and Republicans usually run with the slogan, "I love God and America, unlike my hippie terrorist opponent." Barack Obama was the first Democrat in a while to understand that a national campaign had to be built not on a checklist of issues but on identity. But when the National Journal says this, it's missing the point: "The results suggest Republicans could struggle to pass legislation advancing many of the smaller-government themes that have dominated their campaigns in the midterm elections, even if the party wins control of one or both houses of Congress in November." The Republicans actually don't have much of an agenda, and they...

Now I Understand the Future of News.

Been wondering about whether you completely understand the nature of the competition between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ? This video from Next Media, the Taiwanese company behind that computer animation of Tiger Woods fighting with his wife that swept the Internet a few months ago, should clear it up. Or maybe not: My favorite part has to be the dance-off, which may or may not be a homage to the Jets and the Sharks in "West Side Story." Before you start ridiculing Next Media for their bizarre editorial choices, surrealistic visual metaphors, nonexistent commitment to accuracy, and crude animations, check out this article from Wired magazine on the company, which explains the magnitude of what they accomplish: [Company cheif Jimmy] Lai didn't know much about animation, but he knew a lot about assembly lines—he made his first fortune in the garment industry. After two years of trial and error, experimenting with various technologies and seeing exactly how many...

Health Care, Again

Is there really a chance the ACA will be repealed?

During Bill Clinton's first administration, commentators began to condemn the "permanent campaign": Even after an election was over, officials continued to obsess over political positioning and media coverage instead of getting down to the hard business of governing. To see how the health-care reform that was passed earlier this year is talked about, you might think we've entered into a condition of permanent legislating, when even after a bill is signed into law, the battle goes on. That's because there are now people and organizations on the right that have made it their mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately for them, many of the ACA's most consequential provisions won't take effect for three more years, leaving ample time -- and potentially multiple swings of the political pendulum -- for them to hack away at the act's trunk and limbs in the hopes of felling the entire tree. Their chances of success may be slim, but that the effort is being undertaken at all tells...

Reading Obama's Mind.

Not to harp too much on Dinesh D'Souza 's incredible Forbes cover article about how all of Barack Obama 's presidency can be explained by the fact that his absent father injected him with an ideology of "Kenyan anti-colonialism" that to this day determines his every decision, but this bit of wingnuttery actually can be instructive for all of us as we think about the information and opinions we use to understand the political world on an ongoing basis. First, you should read what Adam has to say about D'Souza. Now that you're back, let's think about a passage like this one: It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position...

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