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

Apple's Next Product Release Will Probably Get Some Coverage.

A new study of technology news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism has a lot of interesting stuff in it, but I wanted to focus on this: That's right -- 15 percent of all technology stories were about Apple. And most of those were about Apple's awesomeness. "More than 40% of the stories about Apple suggested that its products are innovative and superior in quality. ... Another quarter of stories, 27%, highlighted the company’s loyal fan base. ... Just 17% suggested the products are overhyped, and less than half that, 7%, portrayed the company as too controlling with its products." There are a couple of explanations one could offer for this general picture. Apple is really, really good at PR, by both creating buzz and manipulating technology writers. When they release a product, they put on a really, really good show. They make really, really good products. And finally, the people who are Apple fans are really, really excited about every new product, making it easy to put...

A Million Here, a Million There ...

Why federal spending never goes down, and why that's not a problem.

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, left, holds up a copy of the GOP agenda, "A Pledge to America." (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
If the American people were to vote the GOP into the majority, reads the document produced by congressional Republicans, it would shrink government down to size, bringing "the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money." The claim seems perfectly sincere -- after all, Republicans have always expressed their desire for a smaller government, and if given the opportunity to run Congress, they would certainly put the brakes on out-of-control spending. The document in question, though, isn't the " Pledge to America " the GOP released last week; it is the " Contract With America " the GOP produced 16 years ago. Republicans got their election victory all right, but reducing the size of government? Not so much. The federal government spent $1.46 trillion in 1994, the year Republicans took over. Spending increased every one of the 12 years they controlled Congress; in 2006, their last year in charge, spending was $2.66 trillion, or more than 80...

The Growing Yahoo Caucus.

Andrew Sullivan points us to this rather extraordinary interview Anderson Cooper did with Renee Ellmers , the Republican nominee for United States Congress in North Carolina's 2nd District. Elmers got some national attention by running an ad about the Islamic center near Ground Zero, which conflates "Muslims" and "terrorists," and asserts that the Islamic center is a "victory mosque" meant to cheer the tragedy of September 11. The interview has lots of alarming stuff, including when she implies that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf might be a terrorist ("We don't know). But the most interesting part comes around 3:50, when Cooper talks to her about this "victory mosque" idea, which currently is running around the far right. Cooper points out that pretty much every religious group that ever took over any area built houses of worship, a list that would have to include the Vatican: COOPER: But don't all -- don't all religions do that? I mean, you're Catholic. Rome was conquered from the pagans and...

Thune Fever -- Catch It!

To chime in with Jamelle 's post on John Thune below ... You may recall that it was The Weekly Standard that delivered Sarah Palin unto the rest of the country, after a stopover on the magazine's 2007 fundraising cruise in which the Alaska governor charmed the pants off the likes of William Kristol and Fred Barnes . As Jane Mayer documented , "Fred Barnes recalled being 'struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.' It didn’t escape his notice, too, that she was 'exceptionally pretty.'" He and Kristol, along with other conservative literati, came back from the north and began telling everyone they could about how terrific Palin was; Barnes wrote the first major article about her that July, and a year later, she was the GOP nominee for vice president. Now the horse the Standard wants to tell us about is South Dakota Sen. John Thune , who gets a profile featured...

People Making Choices.

Whenever a new controversy comes up over the content of textbooks in Texas, we're reminded that because the state is so large, the demands it makes on textbook publishers can set an agenda for the whole country. The latest controversy concerns some conservatives' belief that textbooks have been indoctrinating students with pro-Islamic propaganda. Sure, it's insane, but hey -- Texas is really big, so those publishers are going to have to do whatever the state school board wants. Right? But what if the textbook publishers just said, "You know what? We've had it with you nutballs." After all, these companies aren't run by robots; they're run by people, people who have free will. And people in the publishing industry presumably have, at least on some level, a belief that knowledge is a good thing, and ignorance is a bad thing. There's nothing to stop them from saying to Texas, "These are the books we're selling. If you want to buy them, that's great. If you don't, that's too bad, but we'...

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