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

Joe Biden Is a Link to the Past -- and Not In a Good Way

Joe Biden is, in so many ways, a man from a Democratic Party of another time. Yet as he inches closer to a campaign to lead the Democratic Party of 2020, he is suddenly finding himself being asked questions that had lay dormant while he served ably as Barack Obama's vice president for eight years, questions that get right to the heart of what his party stands for. In most of the polls that have been taken of primary voters, Biden comes in first with around a quarter of the vote, in no small part because he is far more familiar than the other candidates (with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders). But like all the other candidates, his long record in office is being reexamined, particularly those parts that look much more problematic from the perspective of 2019 than they did even in 2008. There's his role in writing the harsh 1994 crime bill, his advocacy for banks and credit card companies, his denunciations of busing in the 1970s. And there's the confirmation hearings for...

The Russia Scandal Is Still One of the Worst in American Political History

Before anyone outside of a few Justice Department officials knew what is contained in Robert Mueller's final report about his investigation into the Russia scandal, Republicans were weirdly gleeful. Apparently based on the sole fact that Mueller will not be handing down any more indictments, they were ready to declare Donald Trump completely vindicated, his rock-solid integrity only validated by Mueller's conclusions. As of this writing, we only have Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary of Mueller's findings, the gist of which is that while Russian mounted a comprehensive effort to get Donald Trump elected president, there is not evidence of a criminal conspiracy on the part of Trump or his associates to aid in that effort. As for obstruction of justice, the report does apparently go into detail about actions Trump undertook, but remains agnostic on what they add up to. "While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime," Barr quotes Mueller as...

Beto O'Rourke and the Unity Problem

Just six months ago, Beto O'Rourke was basking in the love of Democrats from across America as he ran for Senate. Videos of him answering questions and giving speeches went viral, he built an enormous grassroots organizing machine, and hopeful supporters showered him with a mind-boggling $79 million in contributions . Even though he lost that race, his thoughts inevitably turned to the White House. And why not? He could run for Texas' other Senate seat, but the result might be the same. People keep comparing him to Barack Obama, who was also 46 when he launched his presidential run in 2007. As Obama demonstrated, if you have talent and good timing, anything is possible. But there's a way in which O'Rourke may be too much like Obama, specifically the Obama of 2008. Because it isn't 2008 anymore. We have to be honest and say that as appealing as O'Rourke is, he doesn't quite deserve the comparison. Obama became a national figure with a speech at the 2004 Democratic convention that was...

What the Presidential Candidates Aren't Telling You About Medicare For All

While the essential positions of the two major parties on issues don't change much, every once in a while a party will have to decide not just what it believes in on a particular subject, but exactly what it wants to do about it when it takes power. The more complex the issue is, the longer that process can take. Right now, Democrats are debating where they should go on health care—one of the most critical and knotty policy challenges that exists—but they're doing it faster than they've ever had to before, even as the solutions they're moving toward are more ambitious than anything the party has previously embraced. In the process, they may be gliding past one of the most critical questions they'll face if they actually get the chance to pass Medicare For All, or whatever it will ultimately be called: not just which policy would be preferable if it became law, but how they can get it to become law. A bunch of politicians aren't demonstrating that they've thought through...

Why Republican Cries of 'Socialism!' Won't Work

In his patented stepdad-telling-you-this-is-for-your-own-good style, Mike Pence came to warn the attendees at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference that their already boundless hatred for Democrats doesn't quite match the evil the opposition party now represents. "Under the guise of 'Medicare for All' and a 'Green New Deal,' Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the past century," Pence told them. "That system is socialism." Meanwhile, a related narrative is taking hold in a media that finally got over its need to write the 10,000th "In Trump Country, Trump Supporters Still Support Trump," story full of breathless reports from Rust Belt diners where middle-aged white men gather to muse on the president's heroic efforts to defend the country from the immigrant horde. Now, the story is "Moderate Democrats Worry About Party's Move Left," (see here or here or here ), in which...

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