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

CBO Says Public Option Would Reduce Defict; No Minds Changed

Sorry for the cynical headline, but the news that the Congressional Budget Office scored Rep. Pete Stark 's proposal to add a public option to the coming insurance exchanges as reducing the deficit by $53 billion through 2019 is all well and good, but it won't change the minds of anyone who opposed it the first time around. First of all, there is virtually no such thing as a true "deficit hawk" in Washington. Concern about deficits is a handy excuse everyone uses to justify cuts in programs they already don't like. Democrats are at least a little more honest about it, pointing out that there are times you need to increase the deficit in the short term, while Republicans just say that we need to cut programs that help ordinary people so we can reduce the deficit, but things like defense spending and tax cuts for the wealthy just don't count. So saying, "This program you don't like would cut the deficit" isn't going to persuade anyone who didn't already support it to come on board. If...

This Is How You Talk to a Bully.

Why Rachel Maddow continues to be the smartest person on television: Visit for breaking news , world news , and news about the economy -- Paul Waldman

Paint It White.

Image courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Popular Science tells us about a new study from the Department of Energy on a relatively cheap and easy way to save energy costs and help combat global warming: painting roofs white, or at least a cooler color than black. This isn't a brand-new idea, but the good folks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made some calculations about just how much potential there is there: The researchers extrapolated a roof's CO2 offset over its average lifespan. If all roofs were converted to white or cool colors, they would offset about 24 gigatons (24 billion metric tons) of CO2, but only once. But assuming roofs last about 20 years, the researchers came up with 1.2 gigatons per year. That equates to offsetting the emissions of roughly 300 million cars, all the cars in the world, for 20 years. Pavement and roofs cover 50 to 65 percent of urban areas, and cause a heat-island effect because they absorb so much heat. That's why...

Should Jews Be Allowed to Serve Openly in the Armed Forces?

It's often said that the military is not a democracy, and that's for the best. At the same time, it's important to know what the troops think about any number of things. As it prepares to phase out the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the military has been surveying troops to see what they think about the gay troops currently serving, and the prospect of them serving openly. This has generated some controversy, because some of the questions are of the "Just how icky do you find homosexuals?" variety . Today, Think Progress shows us a similar survey the Army conducted between 1942 and 1946 to gauge servicemembers' feelings about blacks and Jews. Unsurprisingly, the results weren't too encouraging: At the time, the military — along with the overwhelming majority of the country — opposed integrating black servicemembers into the forces and preferred a 'separate but equal' approach that would have required the military to construct separate recreation spaces and facilities. The survey...

The GOP's New Race Problem.

A little blast from the past. The date on this story is July 14, 2005, just five years and a few days ago: It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters. Ken Mehlman , the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong." "By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out," Mehlman says in his prepared text. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong." At the time, Mehlman undertook something of an apology tour, delivering that message to numerous...