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

More On Caring Less

Yesterday, I weighed in on a mini-debate about the way people say "I could care less" when what they actually mean is "I couldn't care less." I even suggested that if you encounter someone using this phrase, you should politely explain to him that he's an idiot. This no doubt struck some people as unnecessarily judgmental. Well, today Think Progress gives us some news : Last week, South Carolina state Sen. Jake Knotts (R) came under fire for calling President Obama and Nikki Haley , his party’s nominee for governor, "a raghead." The South Carolina Republican party condemned Knotts’ comments immediately after he made them last Thursday. And last night, the Republican Party of Lexington County — where both Knotts and Haley live — voted to officially censure him... In response to the censure, Knotts said he "could care less" and would not resign. I rest my case. -- Paul Waldman

Why the Recession Isn't As Painful in Massachusetts

As you may recall, Massachusetts has a health care system (courtesy of Mitt Romney !) that's a lot like the one Congress passed a few months ago. Today, Ezra Klein points us to a study showing how the recession has been less painful there than in other places. Even though unemployment in Massachusetts has more than doubled, the number of people without insurance didn't go up at all. In other words, people who lost their jobs didn't have to worry that they'd be faced with the anxiety that comes with losing your insurance - not to mention the potential of crushing medical bills - on top of the misfortune they'd already suffered. There are weaknesses in the Massachusetts system, just as there are weaknesses in the system that will be in place nationally come 2014, when it is phased in. But we will eventually get used to the idea that leaving or losing your job doesn't also mean losing your health coverage. After a while, we'll wonder how we could ever have tolerated a system in which it...

You Could Care Less About This Post

At last, my own personal linguistic pet peeve - the use of the phrase "I could care less," when what the speaker actually means is exactly the opposite, "I couldn't care less" - is getting some long-overdue attention in the blogosphere. Kevin Drum , whom I ordinarily hold in high esteem, appears to believe that when it is employed, the speaker is doing so sarcastically, as when a teenager says, "Yeah Mom, going antiquing with you sounds like lots of fun." Unless Kevin is himself being sarcastic when he says this, he just couldn't be more wrong. This mistake has spread through the American vernacular like a despicable virus, and it is used unthinkingly millions of times a day. I'd guess I started hearing it about 15 years ago or so, and it just gets worse and worse. As members of the liberal elite, whom we know controls all the key levers of American society, TAP readers should be able to make significant inroads in stamping out this national shame. So the next time you hear someone...

The Tea Party's Days Are Numbered

Josh Green tells us that coverage of the oil spill has driven the Tea Party out of the news. That's to be expected, but what we've seen in recent days is that the rest of the country is starting to grasp what we lefties have been saying all along: these people are kind of crazy. As some of their favored candidates become nationally known - your Rand Paul s, your Sharron Angle s - they are revealed as having rather extreme views, whether about civil rights, or the danger to the integrity of our precious bodily fluids posed by flouridation . As Yogi Berra said, making predictions is always risky, particularly about the future, but here goes: After November's election, the Tea Party movement will quickly fade into nothingness. Maintaining a political movement is hard, particularly one that has already been so discredited. Most of the Tea Party candidates will lose, and then Republicans will turn their attention to their party's 2012 nomination contest, caring more about whether Sarah...

Luck Will Out

TAP talks to filmmaker Jeffrey Blitz about his new documentary on the lottery, and how luck and hard work interact in America.

Jeffrey Blitz (Big Beach Films)
In his new documentary film Lucky , director Jeffrey Blitz explores what happens when lightning strikes -- in the form of a winning lottery ticket. The film, a fascinating exploration of the effects of sudden wealth, raises questions about American society, our relationship to money, and how we define our identities in the modern world. Blitz was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2002 documentary Spellbound and won an Emmy last year for directing an episode of The Office . He also directed the 2007 feature film Rocket Science . Blitz spoke to the Prospect about his film, the lottery, and the nature of luck. Lucky will be shown on HBO in July. You've said that Lucky is in some ways a companion piece to Spellbound -- Spellbound was about kids trying to reach the American dream through almost maniacally hard work; this film is about people who got rich by doing nothing. So is there something almost un-American about the lottery? Actually, I think there are these two American ideas...