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

The GOP's Foolish Optimism on Health Care.

As folks are noting , congressional Republicans are now engaging in a round of what we on the Interwebs call "concern trolling" on the health-care issue -- offering friendly "advice" to their opponents, counseling them to do the opposite of what they actually ought to do. In this case, Republicans are telling Democrats that if they pass health-care reform, it'll be really bad for them in the November elections. Obviously, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell don't have Democrats' best interests at heart, and are at least in part trying to spook them into hesitation. No one who knows anything about politics could actually be dumb enough to believe that at this point, it would be better for Democrats to walk away from health-care reform than to pass a bill and gain the legislative victory. Nevertheless, I think that Republicans do feel that even though losing on health care would be disastrous for Democrats, passing the bill will also be bad for Democrats. They may think they can make some...

Our Changing Relationship to the News.

The Pew Internet & American Life project just released its latest survey on media use, and the results show both the transformation and stasis in our media diets. The big headline seems to be that "The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day." Sixty-one percent of Americans get news online in a typical day, but only 50 percent read their local newspaper, while 17 percent read a national paper like the New York Times or USA Today (Pew didn't say how many of the 50 percent are also in the 17 percent, but presumably it's enough to bring the total below 61 percent). Clearly, people are getting news from more places than ever before (46 percent said they got news from four to six sources in a typical day). But there's also some not-so-great news. The most popular news source for Americans remains local television news, just as it has been for decades. Fully 78 percent of Americans watch local news on a typical day, according to this...

Orrin Hack.

Yesterday, I noted that Republicans have a hard time defending the filibuster when they try to claim that circumventing that filibuster via reconciliation would be the crime of the century. That's largely because the filibuster is not easy to defend, particularly as it's being used today -- not as an occasional, dramatic measure to gum up the works for a principled reason, but as something they impose on every single significant piece of legislation. Republicans are now on pace to triple the previous record for filibusters in a single Congress. Yet they can't seem to make an affirmative case for it, instead using vague and confusing language about why reconciliation is bad without ever admitting that what makes reconciliation different is that it circumvents the filibuster. Today in an op-ed in the Washington Post , Sen. Orrin Hatch brings that argumentative two-step to an almost comically dishonest level. Before we begin, let's remember that the Democrats are not proposing to pass...

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords.

When you look over the history of invention, it's clear that the pace of change has increased steadily over time. Three thousand years or so passed between the invention of the alphabet, for instance, and the invention of the printing press. But the microchip was invented in 1958, and the World Wide Web went on line a mere 35 years later, depending on when you date the beginning. If you lived in the Bronze Age, the world when you died was probably exactly like it was when you were born. But not only is our world changing constantly, we've been lucky enough to witness the arrival of one of the dozen or so most transformative innovations in human history. And given that accelerating pace of innovation, it's a good bet that the next world-transforming technology will come along in our lives as well. Which brings us to some fancy predictions about the coming "Internet of Things," courtesy of the New York Times ' Bits blog : The day when we have communicative socks might not be too far off...

Political Malpractice

Contrary to Republican arguments, tort reform is no health-care cure-all. So why are Democrats seriously considering it?

(Flickr/Lloyd Gallman)
When it became clear that Republicans were going to have to offer their own ideas on health care, if for no other reason than to show they are more than the Party of No, they put on their thinking caps and came up with four . One -- "Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs" -- is essentially meaningless. Another -- "Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices" -- sounds like the exchanges established by the Democrats' plan, just in less effective form. And a third -- "Let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines" -- is a spectacularly dumb idea that would bring all the humanity of the credit-card industry to health care. But the GOP's final health-care proposal might actually end up happening. The Republican Party wants to limit people's ability to sue over medical malpractice, a cause known as "tort reform." President Barack Obama has...

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