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

The Courage of Their Convictions.

There are a lot of reasons to feel despondent at what's been going on with Democrats in Congress and the White House over the last week. What's remarkable is just how easy it was for them to get sent into this spiral of fear. I shouldn't have to keep repeating this, but all of this chaos – talking about abandoning their agenda, the president seemingly reconfiguring his entire political strategy – is happening because their 20-seat advantage in the Senate was reduced to an 18-seat advantage . Can you imagine what would happen if they suffered a really big defeat? It reveals not just how little faith Democrats have in their beliefs, but also how little faith they have in their own political abilities. Considering the disillusionment with Obama now spreading in progressive circles, particularly over his proposal for a spending freeze, Greg Sargent noted that "fairly or not, liberals saw in him someone who would use his extraordinary communications skills to expand the field of what's...

Spreading Health Care Panic.

This is most likely a case of reporters taking a couple of comments made by senators, and over-interpreting them to come to a dramatic conclusion. But it seems designed to make liberals' heads explode : Democrats Put Stop On Health Overhaul WASHINGTON — With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama 's top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying that they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after eight months of setting deadlines and missing them. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid , Democrat of Nevada, deflected questions about health care. “We’re not on health care now,” he said. “We’ve talked a lot about it in the past.” He added, “There is no rush,” and noted that Congress still had most of this year to work on the health bills passed in 2009 by the Senate and the House. These same two reporters told us in Tuesday's paper, "Seeking to avert the collapse of major...

Improving Our Pokey Rail Network.

(Flickr/ John Curnow ) You might not remember, but one of the nice elements of the stimulus bill that passed last year was $8 billion in funds to develop high speed rail, something a lot of people have been waiting for. The Department of Transportation has been evaluating proposals from different states, and according to the Wall Street Journal , all signs point to Florida getting the first bunch of money. Down in the Sunshine State, they're guessing that's the reason President Obama is going to Tampa on Thursday, to make the big announcement. And it's about time -- after all, our trains are pathetically slow compared to what they have in Europe and Asia. Take a look at this chart, which I produced using a table in this report from the Progressive Policy Institute: And that doesn't count the next generation of France's TGV, which has been tested at a cheek-inflating 357 miles per hour. Plainly, when it comes to train speeds, we suck. Or as a Republican would say, "We have the best...

Damage Control for Democrats

Are Democrats doomed? Not necessarily -- but they need to stop acting like it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The midterm elections for Congress are a little more than nine months away, and they can go one of two ways. Democrats can lose some seats, but not so many that the fundamental balance of power in Congress is changed. Or they can be obliterated, lose the House, and maybe even lose the Senate as well. If they're going to avoid disaster, they have a few things they need to do. Ignore the pundits and reporters. When Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, the news media immediately proclaimed it The Most Important Political Event In History. You would have thought the GOP won 20 or 30 seats in that single election. Now, every time a Democratic politician walks down the halls of the Capitol, some reporter is sticking a microphone in his or her face and asking if the Massachusetts election means that all Americans have rejected the Democratic agenda and it's time to capitulate to Republican demands. The conventional wisdom that Democrats are doomed is wrong. But if they accept its premises (as...

The Worst Approach on Health Care.

Ezra Klein tells us the following, about breaking up the health-care bill, which makes me want to scream: I should say, at the outset, that I'm not a fan of this idea. But there's no denying that breaking the health-care bill into different pieces is receiving serious consideration. Nothing is decided, but according to House aides, there would be at least four bills: one containing tax credits to help people up to 400 percent of poverty purchase insurance and insurance regulations; a second focusing on changes to Medicare, everything from pilot programs to the closing of the doughnut hole; a third including the Medicaid expansion; and a fourth with miscellanea like the health-care workforce and wellness and prevention programs and IT. Funding would be scattered across the bills in order to satisfy pay-go requirements. Yeah, you know what we need now? Another few months of ugly debate on health-care reform. I'll bet Republicans won't want to engage in any of that demagoguery anymore,...

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