Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Ever since yesterday's shock revelations, it seemed like news like this would come out as the underlying bad act behind Denny Hastert's public downfall. Because of that, the almost decade old Mark Foley scandal has rushed back into the minds of everyone who covered that story at the time. To review, if you weren't around at the time, in the death throes of the old Republican majority, in September 2006 it emerged that Congressman Mark Foley had had sexual interactions with male members of the Congressional page program, i.e., high school age students. Foley was not out as a gay man; though I think it was widely known or at least assumed that he was gay.

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Yesterday, when the Hastert news first broke, I went in thinking that the timeline made sense because Denny Hastert, like so many other politicians, got an extremely lucrative job as a lobbyist after leaving Congress. When Individual A approached Hastert in 2010 asking for money, that made sense because it was only then that he had the kind of wealth that would make it even remotely conceivable for him to pay out $3.5 million.

I'd assumed that he'd started making money in 2007 from a cold start. But I'd forgotten that Hastert, who entered public life in the middle class, left public office a very wealth man.

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Remember a month or so back when those two gay hoteliers from New York got in a heap of trouble for hosting the extremely anti-gay rights Ted Cruz at a dinner/fundraiser at their luxe New York apartment? But, wait, no it wasn't a fundraiser!

Well, yes it was. The two guys, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass were just getting some good press this weekend in the Times ... finally ... now portrayed as well-meaning but bumbling political neophytes who'd stumbled into the Cruz mess. But now it comes out, after the fairly glowing weekend article and repeated denials, that Ian Reisner actually did give a max-out contribution to Cruz right when the dinner took place.

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Having watched many of these stories unfold in real time, I left work yesterday with a sense of foreboding about the late-breaking Hastert story - something like seeing a fuse already lit and waiting for a bomb to explode. And yet, to my great surprise, we're into the next day and no news organization appears to have uncovered, at least in a publishable form, what happened.

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Brendan James wrote up this column by Rich Lowry in Politico in which Lowry says that to protestors "some black lives really don't matter." In part, this is no more than a more biting version of the old saw of 'why don't blacks get more upset about black on black crime?.' - a high-toned form of concern trolling.

I'm not interested in digging into the outrage tug of war over this. But there's a pretty elemental blindspot to all these arguments.

Let's back up first for some context.

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It was quite a shock to hear that former Speaker Denny Hastert had been indicted under a law used to prevent people from concealing movements of major amounts of cash. So what could it possibly be about and why was Hastert trying to conceal the movement of roughly $1 million in cash.

We now have the indictment and the charges stem from Hastert's efforts to pay off an unnamed individual to conceal "past misconduct by defendant against [the individual] that had occurred years earlier."

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