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

Staying In Touch.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll has some predictably bad news for Obama -- falling approval ratings, particularly on the economy -- and some remarkably good news. For instance, when they asked respondents who is more responsible for the budget deficit -- which has become the rallying cry of the GOP, not to mention the tea baggers warning about our descent into socialism -- 41 percent said it was primarily the fault of the Bush administration, 24 percent said it was primarily the fault of Congress, and only 7 percent said it was the fault of the Obama administration. So that's one Republican message that isn't getting through. But there was something else we should hope journalists in particular take note of. Despite a round of stories on Obama being "out of touch," most Americans -- including many who aren't happy with his performance -- think that he actually is in touch with them and their problems: How can this be? After all, Obama went to good schools, and actually...

Google Gets In the Broadband Business?

On Wednesday, Google announced that it would be experimenting with building an ultra-high-speed broadband network -- delivering up to 1 gigabyte of data per second, which is about 20 times as fast as what most broadband subscribers get today -- serving somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 lucky consumers in a small number of communities to be named later. "Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the Web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York," Google says. "Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture." Google will build the network, then let any Internet service provider (ISP) sell service through that pipe -- the way it was back when everyone got their Internet through phone lines. As PC World put it , "Google hopes that the new model will fire up the business of...

You Can Have My Parking Spot When You Pry It From My Cold, Dead Hands.

Flickr/ woodleywonderworks The Washington Post recently reported that Washingtonians aren't quite sure what how to handle the thorny question of whether, once you've dug out a parking spot, it remains yours. Jonathan Chait gives us the philosophical implications (short version: he's with Locke) today. I lived for almost a decade in Philadelphia, where the rule is clear: If you dig it out, you put a lawn chair or something similar in it. If it doesn't have some such marker, anyone is free to park in it. But if it has such a marker, and you come along and move that marker and park in the spot, then your car, your person, and possibly your offspring down through seven generations will feel the consequences, which will likely involve pummeling. The problem Washington faces is that we don't get this kind of storm very often, which means that the society hasn't had the opportunity to establish and reinforce a set of social norms around the issue. But more important, Washington has less of...

The FDA Does Its Job.

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative to increase the safety of imaging devices that use radiation, like CT scans. This came about because of a New York Times investigation detailing horrifying cases of patients being given overdoses of radiation when going in for routine scans. Hospitals are employing incredibly powerful equipment that can -- and has -- killed people if used incorrectly. The machinery sometimes lacks systems that would prevent these deaths, like an alarm telling the technician when they're about to deliver an overdose of radiation. Regular readers will know by now that I think it's important to draw attention to the times when the government is doing its job, and we all need that job to be done. Whatever the limitations of the Obama administration's legislative record (so far), we should remember that if nothing else, they have staffed the executive branch with people who believe that regulatory agencies ought to, you know, regulate...

Very Serious Republicans, Working Hard to Achieve Bipartisanship.

If you want to understand the depths of Republican intransigence on health-care reform, I'd encourage you to read Ezra Klein 's interview with Sen. Lamar Alexander . Alexander is not the most conservative senator, or the one most prone to the kind of bomb-throwing and mendacity that characterizes some of his colleagues. Which is why it's so revealing to hear him actually try to explain his position to an interviewer willing to press him. If you're a Republican who wants to seem like a serious person, part of the problem when discussing your opposition to health-care reform is that most of the key arguments your side has made are based on either distortions or outright lies. There are no "death panels," no "government takeovers," no "socialism." Everyone understands the simple political reality: If reform passes, it will be very good for Democrats, and if it fails, it will be very good for Republicans. But of course, Republicans can't say that. So in an attempt to sound like he has...

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