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

Supreme Court Takes Aim At Clean Elections.

Boy, it sure is a good thing the Roberts Court isn't a bunch of judicial activists. Here's their latest move : The Supreme Court stepped into another campaign finance controversy on Tuesday when it blocked Arizona from distributing campaign subsidies to publicly funded candidates facing big-spending opponents. The justices granted a stay of a portion of the state's 12-year-old Clean Elections program, which authorizes public money for state candidates who bypass most private fundraising. The court stopped the state from providing "matching funds" to those candidates whose opponents are spending large sums of private money. The court's action disrupts a funding scheme already well underway, with early voting beginning at the end of July for an August primary. One of those most hurt by the decision is Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who is a publicly funded candidate. To understand how radical a move this is on the part of the Court, you have to understand how Arizona's "clean elections" law (and...

Rand Paul Returns to TV, Whines About Being Criticized.

I'd never want to run for public office, for a number of reasons. But if I did, I'd go into it knowing that part of the deal was suffering a whole lot of slings and arrows. No one should accept people lying about them, of course, but if you become a candidate, people on the other side are going to criticize you. Some may even mock you. That may not be fun to endure, but if you think you can run for office and not be the target of rhetorical assaults, you're a fool. The smart ones figure out ways to turn the criticism to their advantage -- Barack Obama , who has probably been on the receiving end of more vile slander than any politician in memory, certainly has. Nikki Haley , who is likely to be South Carolina's next governor, has shown that talent. But it's always amazing to see politicians who whine and moan about the fact that people are criticizing them. Sarah Palin , of course, is the ne plus ultra of politician whiners, but now Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul is giving it his...

Stand Back, Folks -- We're Doing Journalism Here.

Greg Sargent informs us that important journalistic organizations are deeply concerned about reporting important news: Even before the controversy erupted over Helen Thomas ' remarks, Fox was locked in a behind-the-scenes "death match" with Bloomberg News over who would next inherit her front-row seat in the White House press room, according to a source close to ongoing discussions over the seat. Thomas's perch is enormously prestigious, at least for people in the media biz who care about this kind of thing. Fox and Bloomberg had previously made it known to the White House Correspondents Association that they coveted the seat upon Thomas's retirement. While neither news org has lobbied for the seat today, out of respect for Thomas, her retirement is likely to re-ignite that "death match" between the two outlets, each of which have seats in the abysmally low class second row. The next time you find yourself watching one of our esteemed White House correspondents, standing in front of...

Our Multiracial Future

The Pew Research Center has an interesting report out about interracial marriage. You won't be surprised to learn that it has increased significantly: In 1980, 6.7 percent of the newly married were married to someone of a different ethnicity; in 2008 the number had risen to 14.6 percent: But there are lots of other interesting data points. The most common type of interracial union, making up 41 percent of the total, is Hispanic/white (black/white marriages are only 11 percent of all interracial marriages). 30.8 percent of Asians who married in 2008 married someone of another ethnicity -- but it was heavily skewed toward women. While 39.5 percent of Asian women married non-Asian men, only 19.5 percent of Asian men married non-Asian women. There are also some geographical differences (there's an interactive graphic here ). While 21.4 percent of marriages in 2008 in the West were interracial, only 10.8 percent of those in the Midwest were. The highest proportion -- 28 percent -- was in...

California Follies

Tuesday's primary was yet another illustration of the limits of the state's complex ballot-initiative process.

California residents protest Proposition 8. (Flickr/Steve Rhodes)
Today is primary day in California, and voters will be doing more than choosing party nominees for governor, senator, and various other offices. They'll also be voting, as they do in every election, on a series of ballot initiatives. Some are righteous, some are nefarious, and some are downright confusing. But if you're a voter in the country's largest state, you're called upon to do much of the work that legislators ought to be doing. In fact, politics in California today contains just about every distortion and perversion of democratic processes and intentions that you could imagine -- using elections for things they should never be used for, the excessive power of money in politics, and the disaster that comes from supermajority requirements, to name just a few. One matter being decided today combines all three of these distortions. It's called Proposition 16, and if you look at the "Yes" campaign's website , you'll learn that it's about giving taxpayers the right to approve any...

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