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

You Won't Have Bayh to Kick Around Anymore.

The news of the day is that Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, who makes up for his principle-free ideology with a complete lack of charisma, has decided not to run for re-election. The best immediate reaction came from our friend Ezra , who said that Bayh "wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left." In his statement , Bayh spoke more like someone running for office, not away from it, as he listed all of the past glories of his career. What was striking, though, was what he had to say about the 11 years he has spent in the Senate. After speaking of his accomplishments as Indiana secretary of state and then governor, where he did things like "cut taxes," "balance the budget," and "create the most new jobs in any eight-year period," he didn't have much in the way of substance to point to in describing his time in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. He "worked with" some folks, "fought to make our nation safe," and was "a lonely voice for balancing the...

Yes They Can

The GOP understands that in Washington, there are no constraints -- just what you can get away with.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (White House/Pete Souza)
If you're a Democrat, chances are that on more than a few occasions in the last few months, you've heard about the latest tactical maneuver from Republicans in Congress and said, "This time they've gone too far. Surely they'll pay a price for this latest outrage." Maybe it was when they filibustered a defense-appropriations bill (not supporting our troops!). Or maybe it was when, just after the attempted Christmas bombing, they held up confirmation of the man President Barack Obama appointed to head the Transportation Safety Administration, leaving the agency leaderless. Or maybe it was the "Shelby Shakedown," when Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby put a "hold" on 70 administration appointees so he could get some pork for his home state. Or maybe it was the way they argued that trying terrorist suspects in civilian court made Obama soft on evildoers, when the Bush administration did the same thing hundreds of times. Every society has its rules and its norms. The former come with penalties,...

Backward Bipartisanship.

Leading up to the White House health-care "summit" on Feb. 25, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat -- trying hard to seem like a reasonable conservative -- offers a blueprint for bipartisanship: The right seeks a functioning marketplace in health care, subsidized but not micromanaged by the government. However many small steps the Democratic legislation takes in that direction, its biggest step goes miles the other way — toward a world where consumers are required to buy a particular kind of health insurance, insurers are required to sell it to them, and the cost of health care gets held down, ultimately, by price controls and bureaucratic supervision. But if conservatives are understandably annoyed by the liberal claim that the bill is already bipartisan, Democrats have a legitimate frustration of their own. Republicans keep insisting that they share the goals of reform, they just want a more incremental and less polarizing approach. But when it comes time to put forward actual...

Staying In Touch.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll has some predictably bad news for Obama -- falling approval ratings, particularly on the economy -- and some remarkably good news. For instance, when they asked respondents who is more responsible for the budget deficit -- which has become the rallying cry of the GOP, not to mention the tea baggers warning about our descent into socialism -- 41 percent said it was primarily the fault of the Bush administration, 24 percent said it was primarily the fault of Congress, and only 7 percent said it was the fault of the Obama administration. So that's one Republican message that isn't getting through. But there was something else we should hope journalists in particular take note of. Despite a round of stories on Obama being "out of touch," most Americans -- including many who aren't happy with his performance -- think that he actually is in touch with them and their problems: How can this be? After all, Obama went to good schools, and actually...

Google Gets In the Broadband Business?

On Wednesday, Google announced that it would be experimenting with building an ultra-high-speed broadband network -- delivering up to 1 gigabyte of data per second, which is about 20 times as fast as what most broadband subscribers get today -- serving somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 lucky consumers in a small number of communities to be named later. "Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the Web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York," Google says. "Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture." Google will build the network, then let any Internet service provider (ISP) sell service through that pipe -- the way it was back when everyone got their Internet through phone lines. As PC World put it , "Google hopes that the new model will fire up the business of...

Pages