Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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.

As I noted last night, Hillary Clinton turned in a very solid debate performance. She was polished, turned away questions about what would seem to be her greatest vulnerabilities with confident and convincing pivots and more than anything else she had the feel of a candidate on the rebound. As I also wrote last night, the collapse of the 'Benghazi' committee and its associated nonsense came at the perfect moment for her. The debate would have had a very different feel to it had it been held six weeks ago.

We were running Insight polls overnight and this morning, gauging reactions to the debate and re-testing Democratic primary preference questions we've been running for the last four months. Based on those results I would expect you'll see Hillary get a substantial boost in the polls coming out of night's first debate.

Let me give you a basic breakdown.

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From a Facebook commentator in New Zealand in response my debate wrap-up from last night: "I live quite literally half a world away from America and thus have only a passing interest in these debates. My impression is that this latest one is boring in the same way that an America without mass murders would be boring. For years now America has been in the world headlines for all the wrong reasons. I think a more 'tepid' bunch of politicians might be what the country needs."