Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Forgive Me Primary Voters, for I Have Sinned.

I doubt anyone would deny that at the moment, the Republican Party takes a harsher view of apostasy than their Democratic counterparts. This is partly because they represent a narrower ideological spectrum of constituents and officeholders, and partly because the party's conservatives recently discovered that they had a good deal of power to purge, which serves not only to get candidates more to their liking but also to make everyone else in the party live in fear of them. The Politico tells us that there's a potential problem in this area for some 2012 presidential candidates: On the campaign stump, in books, speeches and nationally-televised commercials, aspiring GOP White House candidates such as Tim Pawlenty , Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have warned in recent years about the threats from climate change and pledged to limit greenhouse gases. Some have even committed the ultimate sin, endorsing the controversial cap-and-trade concept that was eventually branded "cap and tax." Now...

The Practice of Politics

We talk about "change" as something systemic, when we actually just want the policy pendulum to swing back our way.

Barack Obama campaigning for president (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
There are few things in politics more absurd, or more reliably recurring, than the candidate for Congress who proclaims earnestly that once elected, he or she will "change the way they do things in Washington." Just you wait, you logrolling legislators, you leeching lobbyists, you blundering bureaucrats -- once freshman Rep. Smith gets to town, the old order is going to come crashing down! Within a few months, the representative stops talking about "change" and assures his constituents he knows how to work the system to their advantage. Before you know it, he's being challenged by a new politician, who proclaims her hatred of politicians and promises to deliver the "change" for which everyone has been yearning. This week, the members of the 112th Congress say their oath of office. Nearly one in four House representatives is new, and almost all of those promised that their arrival would sweep the winds of change through the Capitol. But if that's what you're expecting, you shouldn't...

2012/2016 Speculation.

Over the weekend, Newsweek speculated that John Huntsman , the former Utah governor who is now the ambassador to China, might be considering a run for the White House in 2012. This was greeted with a round of "Oh, please" by most people, not just because Huntsman is a relatively moderate, non-crazy member of the GOP, but because he actually took a job working for Barack Obama for heaven's sake, which means he probably hates America. Not only that, he speaks fluent Mandarin, and we all know that knowledge of a foreign language is evidence of insufficient love for this land of ours. (Don't tell anyone, but Mitt Romney speaks -- cover the children's ears -- French . He learned it the same way Huntsman learned Chinese, on his mission for the Mormon church.) James Fallows, the wisest person in Washington, says that Huntsman "is indeed a very attractive long-term national prospect for the Republicans, whenever they have gotten to the other side of their current Palin/Limbaugh/Gingrich phase...

Best of TAP 2010: Scola on Washington's I.T. Guy.

In this article from our July/August issue, Nancy Scola profiled Carl Malamud , a fascinating gadfly few people have heard of. Malamud, who has the distinction of having hooked up the first White House internet connection back in the 1990s, is crusading to get every government document online and accessible to the public. Scola's piece not only introduces us to a memorable character, it helps us understand the brief but critical (and uneasy) relationship between the federal government and the information revolution. -- Paul Waldman

The Year In: Health Care.

When 2010 began, "death panels" were all the rage, Scott Brown was soon to gain Ted Kennedy 's Senate seat, and health care reform looked to be on the ropes. Within a few months, however, reform, the culmination of decades of work by progressives, became law. But the debate didn't end when the Affordable Care Act was signed, and TAP covered it from almost every angle imaginable: We celebrated the final passage of reform, because while the bill could have been better, we now have a foundation for a comprehensive and humane health-care system. TAP took a long look at what it will take to implement reform and detailed the role grassroots organizing played in the success of the Affordable Care Act. Finally, for all the skepticism about reform, we argued it will eliminate the anxiety and fear so many live with because of the tenuousness of coverage. Is there life left in the public option? Jacob Hacker , whose idea it was in the first place, said yes, and one state (Connecticut) is moving...