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

Federal Government Meanders Into 21st Century.

Like many a candidate before him, Barack Obama rode to electoral victory on the promise of "Change." We could debate endlessly about whether that promise has been delivered, but there's one area where it's definitely in process. They have a substantial way to go, but the feds have made lots of progress on getting their Web presence into the 21st century. Until recently, most federal Web sites looked utterly craptastic, like the FCC's Web site (in their defense, it's under revision, and the new one will surely be better). There are hundreds of federal sites, and some of them are still awful, but many of them are looking quite modern, and even usable. And when the Treasury Department unveiled its jazzy new $100 bill, they invested in a site with computer-generated video and interactive graphics: It would be easy to look at this kind of stuff as a waste of taxpayer money. But it isn't at all. We want people to interact with their government, and that means the government's Web presence...

Is the Tea Party Movement Overhyped? Yes.

In a timely corrective, Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith of the Politico point out that the Tea Party is getting a lot more attention that it really warrants: [GOP consultant Mike] Murphy, who calls the attention "absolutely ridiculous," sees it of a piece with what has become the biennial compulsion in the political community to hold up a newly-discovered, and always pivotal, bloc of voters; Like the Angry White Males, NASCAR Dads, Soccer Moms of election cycles past – only on steroids. "There is this urge to give any political development a catchy name and a picture," he lamented, adding the familiar Republican complaint that well-educated, left-leaning, coast-dwelling reporters view middle America through an elitist lens. "These young reporters fly to the wilds of Oklahoma or Kentucky, find a bunch of folks in Uncle Sam suits hollering and come back thinking they've got some hot scoop," Murphy said. Quite so. And one thing we see from Tea Partiers themselves is a zeal to portray their...

How Many Chickens Is My Co-Pay?

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall brings us the alarming tale of one Sue Lowden , who believes that the answer to our health-care woes lies in shifting from a system based on insurance to one based on barter. Pressed on this rather quaint 17th-century notion by a local news station, Lowden stuck to her guns. "I'm telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor." Well look, you might say, the country is full of idiots and crazy people. What's the big deal? Who is this person, anyway? Some Tea Party protester? A misguided local store owner who got herself on TV? No, she's the probable Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Nevada, and according to current polls , she could well unseat Harry Reid and be a senator this time next year. Every legislature has a divide between "workhorses" and "show horses," the ones who care about legislating and the ones who...

New Conservative TV Channel To Bore People Silly, Quickly Go Out of Business

Every once in a while, like Judy and Mickey saying, "Let's put on a show!", conservatives decide that instead of just complaining all the time about the perfidy of the America-hating liberal media, they ought to create some media of their own. This happens despite the fact that they already have lots of media of their own. And that's why these ventures usually fail -- enterprises like the Fox News Channel or the many conservative talk-radio programs were created with the intention of making money, using conservative politics as a vehicle to that end. When conservatives try to use entertainment to advance the conservative cause, they run into problems. Why? While every situation is a little different, it seems that most of the time, they aren't all that funny or creative. So you get things like Fox's 1/2 Hour News Hour , which was an attempt at a conservative Daily Show . It was spectacularly unfunny, a fact made all the more painful by a laugh track turned up to 11 (you can see a clip...

The Future of the Newspaper?

A year ago, I wrote a column lamenting the effect the inevitable death of the newspaper would have on my breakfast ritual. Until Apple comes out with the iDiningTable -- which will be totally overpriced, no doubt -- you just can't beat having the paper spread out beneath your coffee and cereal, as you start your day with a gentle engagement with the world. Before long, saying you enjoy the newspaper will be greeted with, "Whatever, grandpa. Don't fall off your horse and buggy." But is there hope? Perhaps. Take a look at what some designers have created -- a model of the newspaper of the future (via Gizmodo ): THE PAGE_Adaptive Delivery Device from Scott Liao on Vimeo . The technology doesn't quite exist yet, but it's not so far-fetched to imagine we could have something very similar within a few years (there are more pictures here ). And the best thing about it? You can put your coffee on it. -- Paul Waldman

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