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

What I'd Like to Hear a Congressional Democrat Say.

This is what I'd like to hear a congressional Democrat say: "We're obviously disappointed about the results of the special election in Massachusetts. But the fact that we have gone from a 20-seat advantage in the Senate to an 18-seat advantage in the Senate doesn't mean that Republicans are in charge. They had eight years under George W. Bush to push their agenda, and they pushed it good and hard. There's a reason that at the end of that eight years, the voters elected Democrats to the White House and large majorities in Congress. That hasn't changed. "So for the next nine and a half months, we’re going to do everything we can to improve our country's fortunes and set it on the right course. That includes health care reform – we promised it when we ran, and we're going to deliver it. In their role as the minority party, Republicans will try every parliamentary maneuver they can to stop us. That's no surprise – they've been fighting against reform all year, just as they've been...

A Little Perspective.

It's entirely possible that by the end of the night, Martha Coakley will have squeaked by with a win in the Massachusetts special election, and all this sturm und drang will have been for nothing. But if that doesn't happen, Republicans are gearing up to tell us that this one election in one state is The Most Important Thing That Has Ever Happened, and one that means more than, say, the elections in which the country gave Democrats the White House and large majorities in both the House and Senate. For instance, here's David Brooks in full-on hack mode : Many Democrats, as always, are caught in their insular liberal information loop. They think the polls are bad simply because the economy is bad. They tell each other health care is unpopular because the people aren't sophisticated enough to understand it. Some believe they can still pass health care even if their candidate, Martha Coakley, loses the Senate race in Massachusetts on Tuesday. That, of course, would be political suicide...

We're Number 18!

(Flickr/ Adrienne Serra ) Not that you didn’t have enough to feel bad about, what with unemployment still over 10 percent and health care reform hanging by a thread. But a new report on global broadband shows that the country that invented the Internet, the microchip, and most of what makes our global digital village possible ranks a pathetic 18th in broadband speeds. The top spot is taken, as usual, by South Korea, where their smoking fast connections give them an average speed over three times as fast as what our pokey little modems give us. We also don't score too well when it comes to broadband penetration (the proportion of households that have broadband, as opposed to the actual speed people are getting). Our slow broadband is also really expensive. So that's nice. Why are we so far behind? There are multiple reasons, but the most important one is probably that we don't have enough big government. With a combination of public infrastructure investments and regulations forcing...

Why Massachusetts Doesn't Matter

Even if Brown defeats Coakley for Ted Kennedy's seat, there is a path -- more than one, actually -- for Democrats to lunge across the finish line and pass health-care reform.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
A specter haunts Democratic-led Washington. It's the specter of a special election in Massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, not just slipping through Democrats' fingers but in the process dooming health-care reform. But it doesn't have to -- even if things go badly in the Bay State. In case you haven't heard, Massachusetts voters will go to the polls today to choose someone to serve the remaining three years of the late Ted Kennedy's Senate term. The Republican candidate, state Sen. Scott Brown, is running a surprisingly strong campaign, while the Democrat, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, has been lurching from one bumble to another. A spate of polls in the last week showed the race to be essentially a dead heat. This isn't just any Senate race. At stake is the Democrats' 60th vote in the Senate (if you count Joe Lieberman), which enables them to overcome the Republican filibusters that now occur on virtually every meaningful bill. Within the next couple of weeks, both...

The Ideological Vacuum

E.J. Dionne tells us something important: It's also striking that most conservatives, through a method that might be called the audacity of audacity, have acted as if absolutely nothing went wrong with their economic theories. They speak and act as if they had nothing to do with the large deficits they now bemoan and say we will all be saved if only we return to the very policies that should already be discredited. […] Yet the truth that liberals and Obama must grapple with is that they have failed so far to dent the right's narrative, especially among those moderates and independents with no strong commitments to either side in this fight. The president's supporters comfort themselves that Obama's numbers will improve as the economy gets better. This is a form of intellectual complacency. Ronald Reagan 's numbers went down during a slump, too. But even when he was in the doldrums, Reagan was laying the groundwork for a critique of liberalism that held sway in American politics long...

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