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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

9:32 PM: I think that's about as good a job as Clinton could do with this question. But it's a bit of a dodge to say that Democrats have working since Truman to get the Affordable Care Act. And Sanders answer is pretty solid.

9:34 PM: "Contention debate" ... "tearing this up" vs "going forward". I think Clinton's best argument - in political terms - is to speak to the risk aversion of people who have things they like. For starters, Medicare. People who have Medicare like it a lot. They don't want to lose it or see it changed. There's a good argument that want Sanders wants doesn't change Medicare at all. It just gives a version of it to everyone. But again, if you have Medicare, do you want to see it rolled into a whole new program? If you have private care do you like, do you want it rolled into a public program? I'm not saying these are good arguments on the policy merits. But these are politically powerful arguments. And I'm curious that she isn't making them.

9:39 PM: Hillary's close on the health care reform question was very strong.

9:42 PM: "I do" ... on calling himself a democratic socialist ... Bern.

9:42 PM: Watching this I think back to the point I made in the post below. It's a great irony that the DNC hammered down the number of debates at least partly on Hillary's behalf. She needed more of them, rather than fewer of them.

9:02 PM: And here we go.

9:03 PM: Curious whether Hillary is gonna be able to be quite as rough and tough with Sanders as she's been from a distance over the last two or three days.

9:05 PM: As I watching I was wondering whether Sanders who note that contrary to the contemporary mythology Martin Luther King's politics went well beyond rational equality, especially toward the end of his life. His politics on economics were pretty similar to Bernie Sanders'. He was a democratic socialist, like Sanders. Sanders might not want to emphasize that language. But the underlying point is reality.

9:10 PM: Sort of off the point. But worth noting how our ideas about age have changed over the years. When Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1980 his age was a topic of background chatter and a real question hovering over his candidacy. He was 69 when he was sworn in. This year Hillary Clinton is 68, Donald Trump is 69, Bernie Sanders is 74. Certainly with Trump and Clinton, the issue of age is hardly an issue at all. Sanders' age might become an issue if and when people think he might really be the nominee. But not yet - hasn't come up.

9:15 PM: I think there was a moment there when O'Malley was kind of thrown off guard by people clapping for him.

9:18 PM: Hardly a shocking statement for our public conversation. But for Hillary Clinton, for someone who comes from her politics to use this phrase "systemic racism in our criminal justice system", that's a big moment. That will come up again.

9:24 PM: The issue of heroine and opioid abuse seems like a classic case of an issue which wasn't remotely on Washington's radar but got forced into the debate as a product of the primary process - in both parties.

As we await the beginning of tonight's debate, let's note a gleaming irony. Sanders backers (and O'Malley's backer) have been complaining for months that the DNC kept the number of debates to a minimum and scheduled them at odd times to benefit Hillary Clinton, the most known candidate and prohibitive frontrunner, who has had and continues to have overwhelming establishment support. It's not terribly surprising that the DNC would do this, considering the desire to avoid a lengthy primary season and the near unanimous support she has enjoyed among Democratic elected officials. Doesn't mean it's fair. But it's hardly surprising.

And yet, that mild tipping of the scales now looks like it may be hurting Clinton. Clinton has done quite well in the debates - both in subjective terms (what I or other people might think) in objective terms. She's performed strongly and seen her poll numbers benefit after the debates. That means she'd probably be benefiting from even more debates. She could use a high profile debate right now in fact. But here we are with a 9pm debate on Sunday on a long holiday weekend. Other than scheduling one on New Year's Eve or 3 O'Clock in the morning, it's hard to know how you could limit viewership any more than that.

Marco Rubio says he purchased a gun on Christmas Eve to protect his family from ISIS or other attackers. I'm just going to leave it at that. Not sure more information is necessary.

When I was a small boy my dad and I would watch the great prize fights of the day. Ali v Frazier, Ali v Foreman, Ali v Spinks. Boxing is a terrible, brutal sport. But there is a beauty in watching these greats, often perfectly matched, do battle. Back during the phony war period of the Cruz/Trump confrontation I noted that we may be witnessing a comparable battle of two titans. "That," I wrote, "is one of the many things that makes the current Trump-Cruz phony war so compelling. Trump is baiting Cruz into the same smackdown he's used to eat up Bush, Walker, Fiorina and others. But Cruz won't take the bait. Like two zen masters facing off in a martial arts classic or perhaps two wizards doing battle in The Lord of the Rings, we have an epic confrontation between two masters who have trained for decades in the arts of assholery and bullying. But their powers equally matched, it is a stand off."

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I sense that a major shift happened over the last three or four days culminating in last night's debate, though it is all but unnoticed. It is not only clear that Donald Trump is now the odds on favorite to be the Republican nominee - GOP party regulars are increasingly comfortable or resigned to the prospect. They seem more worried about the prospect of Ted Cruz as the party nominee. Cruz isn't now the highly imperfect Stop Trump candidate. Trump is taking the role of the Stop Cruz candidate.

The first Bundy militant was arrested in Oregon today by federal officials. You're probably saying, "About time!"

But the nature of the arrest really captures the ridiculously virtual nature of the 'stand-off'. 62 year old Kenneth Medenbach had headed out from the compound to the local Safeway, presumably to stock up on milk, flour, Twizzlers, whatever. But that doesn't seem to be why he was arrested, not precisely. He was arrested not only because he was off the compound and presumably easy to arrest but because he'd taken a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vehicle!

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