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 Latest In Founding Father Fetishism.

Today, a group of movement right muckety-mucks released "The Mount Vernon Statement," meant to be a guiding document for their side. You've got the heavyweights -- Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform -- and a few lesser lights, such as professional gay-basher Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness. The document itself is about as vague as it could be. There isn't a single policy issue mentioned; just a lot of repetitions of phrases like "founding principles" and "limited government." But you'll note that it's presented on yellowed paper, with clip art of quill pens at the top! And the signatures are in ornate, Hancock-esque script! And it's called the Mt. Vernon statement -- like George Washington , get it? I'll bet these folks got a wake-up call when Glenn Beck asked Sarah Palin who her favorite founding father was. Palin, who like most of us probably didn't know she was supposed...

Answering the GOP on Health Insurance.

Feeling the need to pretend they actually have a desire to reform health care, Republicans have seized on two things they can repeat: 1) We should have "tort reform," which when Republicans design it means making it almost impossible to recover reasonable damages for medical errors, and 2) We should "let people buy insurance across state lines." As with many arguments they make, this sounds perfectly sensible, so long as you don't know anything about how things actually work. In practice, letting people buy insurance from any state would result in an immediate race to the bottom, of the kind we've seen in the credit card industry. Ever wonder why all your credit card bills go to South Dakota? The reason is that unlike most states, South Dakota has a virtually limitless "usury" law, meaning businesses located there can charge as much interest as they like. Their law was literally written by Citibank in 1980. In short order, credit card companies moved their operations there (and to...

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...

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