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

Terrorism Conviction Supposedly Demonstrates Futility of Seeking Terrorism Convictions

Imagine that the government were prosecuting an alleged serial killer for a series of murders, and when the jury returned its verdict, it found him guilty of only one of the alleged crimes. Your response would probably be, well, it would have been better if they had enough evidence on the other crimes, but in the end, they got the guy, and the conviction will be enough to keep him in prison for life. So you'd probably be surprised if the headlines the next day read, "Serial Killer Acquitted of All But One Charge; Verdict Calls Into Question Government Strategy of Using Courts to Try Murderers." But that's what just happened with the case of Ahmed Ghailani , who was implicated in the 1998 Kenya embassy bombing. While the government hoped to convict him of the murders of everyone who died, the jury ended up returning a guilty verdict only on one conspiracy charge. This may have had something to do with the exclusion of evidence that was produced when Ghailani was tortured. Nevertheless...

The Candidate of Resentment.

This Sunday's New York Times Magazine contains a lengthy article on Sarah Palin 's nascent presidential campaign. The author, Robert Draper, managed to score an interview with Palin despite the fact that he is neither an employee of Fox News nor a conservative talk radio host, a remarkable achievement. Here's part of what she told him: "Yes, the organization would have to change," Palin said during an hourlong phone conversation. "I'd have to bring in more people — more people who are trustworthy," she clarified. Palin said that her experience as John McCain 's running mate was for the most part "amazing, wonderful, do it again in a heartbeat." But she added, "What Todd and I learned was that the view inside the bus was much better than underneath it, and we knew we got thrown under it by certain aides who weren’t principled" and that "the experience taught us, yes, to be on guard and be very discerning about who we can and can’t trust in the political arena." She went on: "I know...

Actual Good News on Health Coverage.

Here's some good news on the Affordable Care Act front, from The Wall Street Journal : The number of small businesses offering health insurance to workers is projected to increase sharply this year, recent data show, a shift that researchers attribute to a tax credit in the health law. Many small businesses, however, remain opposed to the law. Some small businesses are benefiting from portions of the law, which includes a tax credit beginning this year that covers as much as 35% of a company's insurance premiums. According to a report by Bernstein Research in New York, the percentage of employers with between three and nine workers and which are offering insurance has increased to 59% this year, up from 46% last year. The report relies on data from a September survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. A full tax credit is available to employers with 10 or fewer full-time workers and average annual wages of less than $25,000. The credit phases out gradually and has a cap at...

No Box Unchecked.

Mitt Romney is just so cute. So desperate to please, so willing to say anything anyone wants him to. I like to think of him as a non-murderous version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2 -- all he has to do is get close enough to touch you, and he immediately adopts your outward appearance down to the smallest detail. "Is this good enough?" he always seems to be saying. "Is this what you want? Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it!" Dave Weigel tells us of one little piece of Romney's efforts to get everyone on the right to like him: The day after the midterms, a postage stamp-sized ad popped up on Facebook. It featured the headshots of Mitt Romney and Jim DeMint , and it congratulated DeMint for... well, for everything he did. No grousing about lost opportunities in Senate races from Mitt Romney. He was firmly on the side of the Tea Party's, and the media's, favorite radical. Yesterday, as DeMint campaigned for a successful earmark moratorium vote in the GOP's Senate...

Next in Line for 2012.

You've probably heard before that when they're looking for a presidential candidate, Republicans tend to nominate whoever is "next in line"-- either a sitting VP, or the person who came in second last time. There are a few good examples: John McCain in 2008, Bob Dole in 1996, George H.W. Bush in 1988, and Ronald Reagan in 1980. All had run for president before, and all seemed to everyone, at least when the campaign started, like the logical choice. The only exception in the last 30 years was George W. Bush in 2000. On the Democratic side, the "next in line" theory might apply to Al Gore in 2000 and Walter Mondale in 1984, but not to Barack Obama , John Kerry , Bill Clinton , or Michael Dukakis . By this logic, Republicans will nominate Mitt Romney in 2012, or maybe Sarah Palin , depending on how you're scoring. Jonathan Bernstein contends , however, that this theory is largely bunk. Essentially, he argues that there were lots of other reasons Reagan and Dole got the nod, Bush Sr...

Pages