Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. 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

Man-On-Horse in Arizona

Via Steve Benen , we see that former Rep. J.D. Hayworth , who is challenging John McCain in the Republican Senate primary in Arizona, has some interesting ideas about what gay marriage will lead to: "You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage -- now get this -- it defined marriage as simply, 'the establishment of intimacy,'" Hayworth said. "Now how dangerous is that? I mean, I don't mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point -- I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse. It's just the wrong way to go, and the only way to protect the institution of marriage is with that federal marriage amendment that I support." This kind of thing comes up with alarming frequency from Christian conservatives. For some of them, any issue of gay rights is about sex -- hot, steamy sex, so hot they can't stop thinking...

Pro-Lifers For More Abortions.

Imagine that you are strongly opposed to abortion rights, and what you'd like is for all abortions to be illegal. Then you're faced with two alternatives: 1. In Path 1, federal funds will not be used to give anyone abortion coverage, but the number of abortions will either stay the same or increase. 2. In Path 2, federal funds will not be used to give anyone abortion coverage, but the number of abortions will decline. Seems like a clear choice, right? Well, not if you're Rep. Bart Stupak . Stupak is withholding support for the Senate's health-care bill and trying to get as many anti-choice Democrats as he can to join him, because he worries that the Senate language on abortion isn't restrictive enough. The truth, however, is that the Senate language is actually more restrictive. In both bills, if you're getting your coverage through the insurance exchange, you're receiving subsidies, and if you want abortion coverage, you'll have to jump through hoops. The Senate bill demands that you...

Pizza Menus and Irrational Doctors.

A few days ago, Dan Ariely of Duke University, was on NPR to discuss his research on the way doctors make decisions, which mirrors the troubling ways consumers make decisions. If a pizza menu starts with the pie with everything, then descends into options with fewer and fewer toppings, people will order more toppings than if they're looking at a menu that puts the plain pie at the top. "If you go to the hospital these days," Ariely says, "you will see that they have these electronic order forms. ... And sometimes these order forms are empty, nothing is selected for them. The default is nothing, and they have to pick what they want to order. And sometimes some tests are preselected for them." When they did an experiment on how these two options affected the choices doctors made, "in the empty set, physicians chose an average five tests. And in the full set, they chose an average 13 tests. ... And the difference was about $1,300 per patient." What does this have to do with the health-...

The Difference Between the Present and the Future.

Today's Washington Post features a piece by two Democratic pollsters, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen , advising Democrats to jettison health-care reform, because "the battle for public opinion has been lost. Comprehensive health care has been lost. If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate's reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls." Caddell and Schoen have each spent much of their time in recent years occupying a Lieberman -esque niche in our discourse, that of the person who is brought on TV or into the newspaper to criticize his party and its goals in terms that sound identical to those used by the other party -- all while still claiming that he is not switching to the other side but is offering this advice only out of love (read more here ). Let's take Caddell: Though as far as I know he hasn't done any actual polling in a decade or two, producers and editors believe that because he...

The Global Digital Divide.

Lots of people, myself included, have lamented the fact that for all America's dominance of the Internet, there are other countries, like South Korea, where they have better broadband service than we do. But when you look at the entire globe, it's obvious that the world is divided into Internet haves, and Internet have-nots. Play around with this interactive data visualization from Google: The country with the highest proportion of Internet users? Greenland, at an admirable 91.6 per 100 (compared to 72.4 in the U.S.). I'll refrain from making a crack about the need for Internet access when you live in a bleak, windswept tundra. The lowest rate of access is that of Burma, which in 2007 (the last year of available data) had just one Internet user for every 1,000 citizens. There are also multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa -- Mali, Niger, the Congo -- where access is at or below one per 100. -- Paul Waldman

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