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

Crunch Time for Democrats

One of the great fears politicians have is that there will be some wave of strong feeling among the public that they will be oblivious to, until it rolls over them and it's too late to do anything about it. This happened to Democrats in 1994, and it happened to Republicans in 2006. Right now, a lot of Democrats are worried that there's another wave of strong feeling coming at them. Republicans have been working very hard to convince them that the teabaggers screaming about socialism represent more than a small minority of the country (they don't), and that the current voter discontentment doesn't really have much to do with the economy – which would mean that your average independent voter will still be determined to throw the bums out even after the economy recovers. But that's not the wave Democrats should be worried about right now. The most important political event of this week wasn't Scott Brown's victory in the special election, it was the reaction of Democrats. They were...

Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?

Progressives often observe that the news media let Republicans get away with things they never let Democrats get away with, and that's often true. But we also have to acknowledge that how controversial a particular action becomes has a lot do with the choices that political actors make. Republicans are very, very good at ginning up controversy over something a Democrat said or did. Democrats could do the same thing, if they put their hearts into it. But much of the time, they just don't. Which is why we get things like this : Erroll Southers , President Obama 's choice to head the Transportation Security Administration, withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, dealing a setback to an agency still grappling with the security failures that led to an alleged attempted airliner bombing on Christmas Day… Obama nominated Southers, a former FBI agent, in September to head the TSA. But Sen. Jim DeMint , a South Carolina Republican who complained that Southers hoped to make good on an...

What I'd Like to Hear a Congressional Democrat Say.

This is what I'd like to hear a congressional Democrat say: "We're obviously disappointed about the results of the special election in Massachusetts. But the fact that we have gone from a 20-seat advantage in the Senate to an 18-seat advantage in the Senate doesn't mean that Republicans are in charge. They had eight years under George W. Bush to push their agenda, and they pushed it good and hard. There's a reason that at the end of that eight years, the voters elected Democrats to the White House and large majorities in Congress. That hasn't changed. "So for the next nine and a half months, we’re going to do everything we can to improve our country's fortunes and set it on the right course. That includes health care reform – we promised it when we ran, and we're going to deliver it. In their role as the minority party, Republicans will try every parliamentary maneuver they can to stop us. That's no surprise – they've been fighting against reform all year, just as they've been...

A Little Perspective.

It's entirely possible that by the end of the night, Martha Coakley will have squeaked by with a win in the Massachusetts special election, and all this sturm und drang will have been for nothing. But if that doesn't happen, Republicans are gearing up to tell us that this one election in one state is The Most Important Thing That Has Ever Happened, and one that means more than, say, the elections in which the country gave Democrats the White House and large majorities in both the House and Senate. For instance, here's David Brooks in full-on hack mode : Many Democrats, as always, are caught in their insular liberal information loop. They think the polls are bad simply because the economy is bad. They tell each other health care is unpopular because the people aren't sophisticated enough to understand it. Some believe they can still pass health care even if their candidate, Martha Coakley, loses the Senate race in Massachusetts on Tuesday. That, of course, would be political suicide...

We're Number 18!

(Flickr/ Adrienne Serra ) Not that you didn’t have enough to feel bad about, what with unemployment still over 10 percent and health care reform hanging by a thread. But a new report on global broadband shows that the country that invented the Internet, the microchip, and most of what makes our global digital village possible ranks a pathetic 18th in broadband speeds. The top spot is taken, as usual, by South Korea, where their smoking fast connections give them an average speed over three times as fast as what our pokey little modems give us. We also don't score too well when it comes to broadband penetration (the proportion of households that have broadband, as opposed to the actual speed people are getting). Our slow broadband is also really expensive. So that's nice. Why are we so far behind? There are multiple reasons, but the most important one is probably that we don't have enough big government. With a combination of public infrastructure investments and regulations forcing...

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