Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

As I said last week, I really have no idea whether all this Paul Ryan stuff is just shadow boxing or mass delusion or what. But it seems like Ryan's now putting out his terms for taking the job (or not, it's from an anonymous ally who talked to CBS News). Basically, he'll take the job but with zero bargaining with the "Freedom Caucus" and various other pro-shutdown, debt default nutballs.

At some point, they actually need to find a Speaker, though, right?

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Benghazi Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC), after a rough weekend, says "these have been among the worst weeks of my life."

Following up on my post below, I wanted to call your attention to this piece in The Atlantic by Jeff Goldberg, discussing the current round of violence in and around Jerusalem but coming to a very different conclusion, at least a different emphasis. By all means, read the piece because there's only so fully I can capture his argument. But the gist is this: This violence isn't driven by settlements or really any of Israel's current policies. It goes back at least a century and is in essence one of Muslim supremacism and secondarily Palestinian-Arab supremacism, mixed with various obscurantist and paranoid ideas about Israeli intentions. As Jeff correctly notes, there were similar incidents almost a century ago, long before Israel was a state, let alone before the Israeli army conquered the West Bank in 1967. Let me say simply that Jeff is right. Indeed, right-wingers (which Jeff is not) constantly go on about why there were wars before 1967 if the Occupation of the West Bank is the cause of the conflict. That's a more clownish version of the argument Jeff is making. And as I've said, Jeff is right. But his explanation is incomplete and inert and that's what makes it such a flawed way of understanding the current situation.

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As you've probably noticed in the news, we are now several weeks into a new spiral of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The why? why now? and who? and what? are all fairly complicated. It starts against the backdrop of what appears to be the permanently stalled 'peace process'. Unlike some other people, I don't put peace process in scare quotes out of derision. I'm someone who believes deeply in it and the two-state solution which I believe is both the only viable and inevitable solution. For now, though, it simply doesn't exist.

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In recent days, I've had a very hard time figuring out whether we're in a 'Paul Ryan considering phase' in the House leadership drama or in a 'GOP caucus in epic denial' phase of the same. Frankly, I'm not sure anyone quite knows. Ryan has said he's not running for Speaker. To the best of my knowledge, he's given no specific or even general timeline on whether he'll have an answer if he's considering a run for Speaker. And yet, he has not given a stark: 'I ain't running and I'm never going to change my mind so stop pretending I'm running' statement. I think it's possible that members of the GOP caucus are just in a collective delusional state thinking he's considering it and that he will inevitably decide to run even though there's little reason to believe this is so.

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It appears (maybe-probably) out-going Speaker John Boehner will punch the Tea Party with a blast of sanity on the way out the door - engineering a clean or cleanish debt ceiling increase, with Democratic votes if necessary.