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

Makin' Their Way, the Only Way They Know How

You can argue that supposedly important cultural divisions like "Red America vs. Blue America" are not really rending our nation asunder. But one thing has always been clear: While it may not be easy to get a precise measure of who hates whom more, there is a significant difference in who's doing the complaining. Here's what I mean: Folks in the "heartland" are convinced that when coastal elitists get together at their swanky Upper West Side soirées, there is much talk of the provincialism of the rubes in flyover country. And maybe there is. Southerners are sure (and have been sure since about, oh, 1750) that Northerners think they're a bunch of inbred hicks wearing overalls with no shirts. And maybe they do. But here's what you almost never see: Politicians from the North or the coasts, their voices dripping with contempt, telling their constituents that people who live in a different area of the country are worthy of scorn. In 2004, George W. Bush routinely mocked Massachusetts, the...

David Obey Almost Grants My Wish.

Three months ago, when Evan Bayh announced he was retiring and gave the standard-issue condemnation of the special interests and the money chase senators have to endure, I wrote this : Here's what I'd really like to see: a retiring politician go to town on the constituents . Instead of saying what an honor it has been representing the people of Whereverville, what if he said, "If there's one thing I'm not going to miss, it's pretending to care about the bunch of ill-informed, fickle, whiny constituents I've had to endure in my time in Washington. You, the woman who told me to 'Tell the government to take its hands off my Medicare!' I nodded knowingly, but you know what? You're an idiot. I wish I had told you then, but I didn't have the guts. But now I do: You're an idiot. And you, the people who complain about your taxes (and believe they went up even when they went down), but then raise hell when you're not getting the services you want? Grow up! And you, the people who voted for my...

The Magical Miranda Warning.

Following up on Adam's discussion of Joe Lieberman 's proposal to strip American terrorism suspects of their citizenship so as to avoid having to Mirandize them, there's something odd about this -- and I'm not talking about how profoundly un-American it is (sadly, we've gotten used to that). Conservatives seem to have moved their anti-due-process position over to an anti-Miranda position, which is silly because the reading of Miranda rights doesn't grant them. Suspects have, for instance, the right to a lawyer whether you remind them of it or not. The Miranda warning isn't a magical incantation that brings those rights into being. If you understand that (and granted, it's not a sure thing that Lieberman or anyone else embracing this new attack on due process does), the other possible anti-Miranda rationale is that it will enable us to pull the wool over suspects' eyes for a while if they remain unaware of their rights. But really? I suppose that foreign nationals might be unfamiliar...

Big Brother Is Watching.

As someone who believes that citizens ought to view their government not as a hostile force but as something they, as participants in a democracy, have the opportunity and obligation to both monitor and help shape, I find this ad from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue ( via Andrew Sullivan ) profoundly disturbing: I don't know whether anyone will believe that the department actually has its own satellites, and might right now be looking at you to see if you're picking your nose. And maybe the ad could be an effective way to get tax cheats to come in for the state's tax amnesty. But it also reinforces the image of government as a malevolent, privacy-invading force that views you as something tiny and potentially squashable, which isn't really good for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the long run. Speaking of large malevolent forces, it's not just the government that's looking down at you. Over at Gizmodo, Dan Yoder gives the "Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook," most of...

Republican Governors Push Federalization of Health Insurance.

As you no doubt remember, much of the Affordable Care Act doesn't go into effect until 2014. In order to deal with the problem of people whose pre-existing conditions make insurance companies uninterested in giving them coverage, the act provides for the creation of high-risk pools for people who have been uninsured for over six months. States can establish the high-risk pools themselves (some states already have them), or they can let the federal government do it for them. So what have they chosen? The Washington Post tells us that 18 states have said they won't do it, which means the federal government will be taking care of citizens in those states who need to be in a high-risk pool. They are: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. Notice anything about that list? Fifteen out of the 18 are ruled by Republican governors (the exceptions are...

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