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

The Pledge to Whine at America

(Flickr/ bbaunach ) A quick note on the GOP's " Pledge to America ," which I'm sure we'll all have more to say about later. There isn't much that will surprise you -- they hate taxes and want to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- but I have to point out this line from the rather lengthy document, in their litany of complaints: An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many. Sigh. They just couldn't help themselves, could they? In order to have a genuine democratic debate, there are a few things we all need to agree on. One of them ought to be that a government isn't illegitimate just because it's made up of people who aren't from your party. Right now, Democrats control the government. But that doesn't mean they're "self-appointed." They didn't just walk to Washington and say, "We're in charge now, so try to stop us!" It wasn't a military coup. They got elected ...

Sharron Angle's Fundraising Genius

Via Taegan Goddard , the Las Vegas Sun gets a recording of Sharron Angle explaining her fundraising strategy at a house party: When I get a friendly press outlet -- not so much the guy that’s interviewing me -- it’s their audience that I’m trying to reach. So, if I can get on Rush Limbaugh , and I can say, “ Harry Reid needs $25 million. I need a million people to send twenty five dollars to SharronAngle.com.” The day I was able to say that [even], he made $236,000 dollars. That’s why it’s so important. Somebody … I’m going on Bill O’Reilly the 16th. They say, “Bill O’Reilly, you better watch out for that guy, he’s not necessarily a friendly” ... Doesn’t matter, his audience is friendly, and if I can get an opportunity to say that at least once on his show -- when I said it on Sean Hannity ’s television show we made $40,000 before we even got out of the studio in New York. It's not a bad strategy: go on friendly national outlets, and get people all over the country to contribute to...

Rich "Small Business" People = Rich People.

Republicans and Democrats have been spending time arguing about just how much of a blow to small businesses it will be if we allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, while keeping the cuts for everyone earning less than $250,000. The answer is that a) the overwhelming majority of people with small-business income -- 98 percent , as a matter of fact -- are not in those top two brackets that will see their rates go back to Clinton-era levels if the Obama plan passes; and b) a lot of those who would see their rates go up are not mom-and-pop store owners, but people like lawyers and hedge-fund managers, and even some corporate behemoths like Bechtel and PriceWaterhouseCoopers that happen to file their taxes that way. But there's something else that hasn't been discussed much. Republicans would like people to think that if we let those top rates reverse, then Mom and Pop will have to lay off the guy who works the register at the dry cleaner. But the tax rates we're talking about...

Real Americans Losing Evolutionary Race to Fake Americans.

Less disease-ridden than you'd think. (Flickr/ TheDreamSky ) Many politicians, most notably Sarah Palin , portray those who live in small towns and rural areas as "real" Americans, while those who live in cities are presumably unreal, or not quite American. Well, those urban hipsters with their fixed-gear bikes and tolerance for diversity may be on to something. The New Scientist tells us that over thousands of years, urban living may have given rise to a gene sequence that provides protection from leprosy and tuberculosis: To test this idea, Thomas and colleagues analysed the DNA of people living in 12 regions in Europe, Asia and Africa. For each area, they combed the historical and anthropological records to work out when people first started living in close-knit groups. They found that the longer cities in the region had been established, the more likely it was that the current inhabitants carried the immunity allele. ... John Odling-Smee, an evolutionary anthropologist at the...

Tea Party Standard

All the talk of shaking up the establishment notwithstanding, once they take office the Tea Partiers will fit comfortably within the GOP.

(Flickr/dani0010)
When a new political movement emerges, it can follow a number of different courses after its moment of passionate intensity. It can lose its focus or relevance and fade into nothingness, like an anti-war movement when the war ends. It can become institutionalized, with professional organizations leading a cause that started from the grass roots, like the environmental movement has. Or it can be co-opted and absorbed by something larger. Now that the 2010 primaries are all but over, we can say with near certainty that the last -- co-optation -- will be the the Tea Party's fate. Indeed, it has already begun. But what effect will that absorption have on the larger conservative movement? Tea Partiers themselves would no doubt protest that they are here to stay as a unique and independent force. But think ahead, say 10 or 12 years from now. There's a Republican in the White House, and control of Congress is divided. The economy is doing reasonably well, neither fantastic nor awful. Can...

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