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

Evan Bulworth?

Tim already brought up James Fallows ' take on Evan Bayh , but I just want to highlight the point that Bayh should just let it all hang out: Unlike everyone else up for election this year, you don't have to worry how this or that bout of truth-telling will look on Election Day. Let 'em bitch! You don't need an interest group to endorse you or a civic club to applaud you any more. Do you think hyperpartisanship is destroying the Senate? Why not call out people -- by name, by specific hypocritical move -- when you see them doing what they should be ashamed of? I guarantee that the press would eat this up. Why not a ten-month public seminar, through the rest of this year, on who is doing what, and how it could be different? Do you object to personal "holds" on nominations? Make it an issue! You have an idea of some issue where Republicans and Democrats might agree? Be specific about it and see what you can do. Again, if I know anything about the press and the melodrama of public life, I...

The Examined Life.

"The unexamined life," Socrates said, "is not worth living." Pretty much what you'd expect from a philosopher with the luxury of lying about in a toga contemplating the procession of his days. Nevertheless, today the march of technology allows us to examine our lives in ways we didn't before -- and, of course, convey the results of that examination to others. I give you 2009 in the life of Dan Meyer , a high-school math teacher and edublogger living in Santa Cruz (via Boing Boing ): Dan Meyer's 2009 Annual Report from Dan Meyer on Vimeo . I'm sure that what made the project attractive was the fact that he could share it with others and have fun creating that presentation. If you couldn't put together the video with the funky music and animated graphics and photos of your buddies, would you? It's possible, but it seems unlikely you'd type up a bunch of tables, mimeograph them, and pass the packet around to your friends and relatives. What I can say is that to people who are not Dan...

You Won't Have Bayh to Kick Around Anymore.

The news of the day is that Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, who makes up for his principle-free ideology with a complete lack of charisma, has decided not to run for re-election. The best immediate reaction came from our friend Ezra , who said that Bayh "wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left." In his statement , Bayh spoke more like someone running for office, not away from it, as he listed all of the past glories of his career. What was striking, though, was what he had to say about the 11 years he has spent in the Senate. After speaking of his accomplishments as Indiana secretary of state and then governor, where he did things like "cut taxes," "balance the budget," and "create the most new jobs in any eight-year period," he didn't have much in the way of substance to point to in describing his time in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. He "worked with" some folks, "fought to make our nation safe," and was "a lonely voice for balancing the...

Yes They Can

The GOP understands that in Washington, there are no constraints -- just what you can get away with.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (White House/Pete Souza)
If you're a Democrat, chances are that on more than a few occasions in the last few months, you've heard about the latest tactical maneuver from Republicans in Congress and said, "This time they've gone too far. Surely they'll pay a price for this latest outrage." Maybe it was when they filibustered a defense-appropriations bill (not supporting our troops!). Or maybe it was when, just after the attempted Christmas bombing, they held up confirmation of the man President Barack Obama appointed to head the Transportation Safety Administration, leaving the agency leaderless. Or maybe it was the "Shelby Shakedown," when Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby put a "hold" on 70 administration appointees so he could get some pork for his home state. Or maybe it was the way they argued that trying terrorist suspects in civilian court made Obama soft on evildoers, when the Bush administration did the same thing hundreds of times. Every society has its rules and its norms. The former come with penalties,...

Backward Bipartisanship.

Leading up to the White House health-care "summit" on Feb. 25, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat -- trying hard to seem like a reasonable conservative -- offers a blueprint for bipartisanship: The right seeks a functioning marketplace in health care, subsidized but not micromanaged by the government. However many small steps the Democratic legislation takes in that direction, its biggest step goes miles the other way — toward a world where consumers are required to buy a particular kind of health insurance, insurers are required to sell it to them, and the cost of health care gets held down, ultimately, by price controls and bureaucratic supervision. But if conservatives are understandably annoyed by the liberal claim that the bill is already bipartisan, Democrats have a legitimate frustration of their own. Republicans keep insisting that they share the goals of reform, they just want a more incremental and less polarizing approach. But when it comes time to put forward actual...

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