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

No Box Unchecked.

Mitt Romney is just so cute. So desperate to please, so willing to say anything anyone wants him to. I like to think of him as a non-murderous version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2 -- all he has to do is get close enough to touch you, and he immediately adopts your outward appearance down to the smallest detail. "Is this good enough?" he always seems to be saying. "Is this what you want? Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it!" Dave Weigel tells us of one little piece of Romney's efforts to get everyone on the right to like him: The day after the midterms, a postage stamp-sized ad popped up on Facebook. It featured the headshots of Mitt Romney and Jim DeMint , and it congratulated DeMint for... well, for everything he did. No grousing about lost opportunities in Senate races from Mitt Romney. He was firmly on the side of the Tea Party's, and the media's, favorite radical. Yesterday, as DeMint campaigned for a successful earmark moratorium vote in the GOP's Senate...

Next in Line for 2012.

You've probably heard before that when they're looking for a presidential candidate, Republicans tend to nominate whoever is "next in line"-- either a sitting VP, or the person who came in second last time. There are a few good examples: John McCain in 2008, Bob Dole in 1996, George H.W. Bush in 1988, and Ronald Reagan in 1980. All had run for president before, and all seemed to everyone, at least when the campaign started, like the logical choice. The only exception in the last 30 years was George W. Bush in 2000. On the Democratic side, the "next in line" theory might apply to Al Gore in 2000 and Walter Mondale in 1984, but not to Barack Obama , John Kerry , Bill Clinton , or Michael Dukakis . By this logic, Republicans will nominate Mitt Romney in 2012, or maybe Sarah Palin , depending on how you're scoring. Jonathan Bernstein contends , however, that this theory is largely bunk. Essentially, he argues that there were lots of other reasons Reagan and Dole got the nod, Bush Sr...

The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans.

If you've noticed a strange unanimity among Republicans over the last few days about what a bad idea it is for the Fed to inject some money into the economy, well, it's no accident. Take a read at this article (via Kevin Drum ) from The Wall Street Journal this weekend: A group of prominent Republican-leaning economists, coordinating with Republican lawmakers and political strategists, is launching a campaign this week calling on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to drop his plan to buy $600 billion in additional U.S. Treasury bonds. ... Last Tuesday evening, about 20 economists and others met over sea bass at the University of Pennsylvania Club in Manhattan and hashed out a broad strategy. Mr. [ Paul] Ryan , who has gained notice for a plan to balance the federal budget through deep spending cuts, joined the group as they discussed ways to encourage the GOP's new House majority to unite behind what they describe as a "sound money policy." "We talked about the importance of the right being...

Scapegoating Federal Workers

As conservative deficit hawks go looking for new targets, expect to hear a lot about outsized federal paychecks.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In late 2008, as the government began debating whether to save General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy, conservatives saw an opportunity to open a new front in their decades-long war on labor unions. So a new talking point emerged, repeated first by representatives of conservative think tanks, then by conservative talk-show hosts and columnists, then by Republican members of Congress. The Big Three auto companies had been crippled, they said, by greedy United Auto Workers members whose absurd union contracts had them making an astonishing $70 per hour on average. You won't be surprised to learn that the figure was utterly bogus -- the average pay of an auto factory worker at the time was actually around $28 an hour, or a decidedly middle-class salary of $58,000 a year. But even as a little-remembered component of a short-lived debate, it is a good case study in why the right is so effective. An idea like the mythical $70-an-hour autoworker can be created out of whole cloth, then...

On Not Creating Your Own Reality.

By now it seems pretty certain that President Obama and congressional Democrats will cave to Republicans and extend all the Bush tax cuts, even for billionaires. After all, as David Axelrod recently said, "We have to take the world as we find it." Compare that to the Bush aide who told Ron Suskind, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." But before the capitulation is made final, it's worth taking a moment to contemplate what might have been if the administration had decided not to accept the world as they found it, but instead created their own reality. What if instead of accepting that there would be a debate on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts, they had fashioned a new debate on the Obama...

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