Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. 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

A Health-Care Victory At Last

In a historic vote, Congress has finally passed comprehensive health-care reform after months of negotiations and decades of failed attempts.

At long, long last, the health-care reform fight is finally over. We have no idea how Barack Obama's presidency will turn out at the end, but we know this: He accomplished something that stubbornly eluded Democratic presidents -- and even one Republican -- for decades. The remainder of his term could be a string of defeats and disasters, yet it cannot be taken from him that he passed this nearly impossible test of skill, patience, vision, and sheer will. Over the course of this debate, progressives have gotten used to beginning their comments on the various reform plans by saying, "It's not everything that I'd want, but…." And of course the bill that finally passed isn't perfect, which is why we should continue working to improve it in the coming months and years. But it is something extraordinary nevertheless. The passage of health-care reform is a huge benefit to lower- and middle-class Americans; finally, there is something resembling health security for all of us. Some of the most...

Public Remains Confused on Health-Care Reform.

There's a new poll out from the Kaiser Family Foundation on health-care reform, and it shows pretty much what you'd expect: The public is closely divided and extremely misinformed. But they aren't randomly misinformed; they're systematically misinformed. Democrats are slightly misinformed, independents are quite misinformed, and Republicans are ridiculously misinformed. Take, for instance, this question: This isn't a matter of interpretation; it's a matter of fact: At every stage in this process, the CBO has said that every version of reform will lower the deficit. The only question has been by how much. Part of this happens because some people get their information from sources that deliberately misinform them (e.g. Fox). But the greater part is that we tend not to assess the facts and then decide what we think; we decide what we think and then decide what the "facts" are. And with each new question, it gets worse: This too, is not a matter of opinion. No one who has employer-...

Ignore the Chicken Littles.

Marjorie Margolies ' op-ed in yesterday's Washington Post , which was a salutary reminder of the meaning of votes in Congress, should also remind us of something else: When Republicans make predictions of terrible events to come, they are almost certainly wrong. This is important because if health-care reform passes on Sunday, they'll be saying not only that Democrats will lose their majorities in Congress because of it but also that jobs will disappear, costs will skyrocket, the deficit will explode, seniors will be executed by government bureaucrats, vicious animals will burst from their cages and carry off our children, Kevin Federline will release more albums, and who knows what other nightmarish events will ensue. When Margolies made the 1993 vote that probably cost her a seat in Congress -- in favor of Bill Clinton 's first budget -- Republicans sounded a lot like they do today. The budget (which cut taxes for middle-class people and raised them slightly on the rich) passed...

Deliver Us From Texas.

If you reside in the reality-based portions of the United States, you've probably looked on with amazement at the latest iteration of the regular battles over Texas textbooks. Briefly: because Texas is a huge market for textbooks, the standards the state's education board sets influence what books are sold across the country. And the current board is dominated not just by conservatives but by people who are, well, nuts. As The Washington Post put it today, according to the changes they just adopted, "The curriculum plays down the role of Thomas Jefferson among the founding fathers, questions the separation of church and state, and claims that the U.S. government was infiltrated by Communists during the Cold War. ... Discussions ranged from whether President Reagan should get more attention (yes), whether hip-hop should be included as part of lessons on American culture (no), and whether President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis' s inaugural address should be studied alongside...

Why It's Impossible to Interview Karl Rove.

NPR's Terry Gross interviewed Karl Rove yesterday about his new book (spoiler alert: George W. Bush was strong and resolute!) and showed why he may be the most difficult person in politics to interview effectively. Gross wasn't trying to "get" Rove -- along with some tougher questions, she also asked him about his youthful interest in politics, about his early relationship with Bush, and other things on which Rove might have something interesting to say. But Rove has an almost impenetrable style. He starts every answer by challenging the premise of the host's question. If the question relays someone's criticism of him, then he turns that criticism around on the person who made it: Gross : Let me read something that Todd Purdum wrote in Vanity Fair in December of 2006. He described an approach of campaigning that "always found villains - gays, unions, trial lawyers, liberals, elitists, terrorists" - and that candidates "could both use this to crack the electorate at a vulnerable spot...

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