Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Looking for love in all the wrong places?

Too big for just one House of Congress?

In Wednesday's Post Mike Allen brings the slightly bizarre news that Tom DeLay held a lunch meeting with the GOP Senate caucus on Tuesday at which "implored Republican senators yesterday to stick with him while he addresses questions about his travel and his dealings with lobbyists."

Attendees told Allen that DeLay "told the senators that, if asked about his predicament, they should blame Democrats and their lack of an agenda."

This move seems so outside-the-box that the bug man has temporarily stymied my ability to mock him. But I'm rallying.

It's great to know that DeLay not only gets Republicans in the House to say 'how high' when he says 'jump' but that it works with senators too. Who was at this luncheon exactly? Allen suggests most of the Republican caucus was there. Certainly Rick Santorum was, since DeLay, in Allen's words, "thanked Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) for supportive comments on ABC's 'This Week' on Sunday."

That must have been a fun moment.

Was Linc Chafee there? Olympia Snowe? Gordon Smith? Do they have to do the DeLay happy talk now too?

TPM Reader Paul Gulino gets his letter published in the Times. And he seems to have a better handle on the Social Security debate than David Brooks. Take a look.

Louisville Courier-Journal editorial: "[T]he House majority leader is a frighteningly toxic and corrupt presence in American public life.He is also authoritarian and vengeful. In the current one-party rule that prevails in Washington, only his fellow Republicans can take him down."

You remember the In This Together Campaign. They're the New York state anti-Social Security phase-out coalition.

Last month they were protesting outside the offices of phase-out supporter Rep. Peter King (R) of New York when he said that "groups such as [In This Together] have no regard for senior citizens or for their country."

Now, ITTC has enlisted FDR grandson and former Social Security Associate Commissioner James Roosevelt to record a robo-call calling King out for questioning the group's patriotism.

We've already heard from a few TPM Readers who've gotten the call.

Let the phase-out fisticuffs commence!

Perhaps you remember Jon Leiberman. He was the young DC Bureau Chief of Sinclair Broadcasting who decided to give an interview to the Baltimore Sun in which he lambasted Sinclair's planned Swift Boat smear documentary as "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election."

Solid journalistic ethics, perhaps questionable career planning.

Lieberman was promptly fired.

Subsequently, it seems, he applied for unemployment issue in Maryland. But he got turned down. According to a document released today by Sinclair the Maryland Department of Labor found that Lieberman was canned for "speaking to the press/media without permission and sharing of propriety information outside the company," which, I take it, means he was fired for good reason and thus isn't eligible.

(Why is Sinclair releasing the MDOL's statement?)

I'm no expert on unemployment insurance, how and why you have to be fired to collect, or whether this is at all out of the ordinary.

Nonetheless, we thought you'd like to know.

About one thing, that gaggle of ultras and moneymen rising to David Keene's call to save Tom DeLay is right: it doesn't stop with DeLay. And not just because Democrats wouldn't want it to, which goes without saying.

Much depends on whether DeLay gets nailed on particular instances of criminal conduct. But he isn't a Majority Leader who happens, possibly, also to be corrupt. The GOP Majority in the House is built on his corrupt practices, his money machine. They define its modes of operation and priorities.

The oft-mentioned Jack Abramoff may be the prime examplar of that species of Washington operator -- Homo bagmanus. But there are so many more, all cogs in the DeLay machine.

I don't mean that the Democrats would be in the majority if it weren't for DeLay (though it is worth noting that the Republicans only made their modest advances in the House last year because of the criminal conduct DeLay's lieutenants employed in Texas to get the state redistricted). But the cash-n-carry rules he's used to run the House have compromised most of the leadership of the caucus as well as many of its marginal members. DeLay has built a political machine that runs on corrupt, pay-for-play money -- it's the water that floats the river boats he makes run on time.

What about Rep. Bob Ney (R) of Ohio, who is knee-deep in the Abramoff/Scanlon Indian tribe shakedown? He's chairman of the Committee on House Administration. How about the Ethics Committee which was purged of all three Republican members who wouldn't change conference rules to help DeLay deal with impending criminal indictments.

They're right. It doesn't end with DeLay. He and the House Republican party are one and the same.

As we noted yesterday, Rep. Chris Shays (R) of Connecticut says Tom DeLay should go. Reps. Nancy Johnson (R) and Rob Simmons (R) -- his two colleagues from Connecticut -- are apparently on the fence. So I've been wondering where other folks stand. Where does your Republican member of Congress stand on DeLay? Do they think he should stay as Majority Leader?

I notice that the Campaign for America's Future has a page up on their site encouraging folks to call their member of Congress and just ask what they say on DeLay.

So if you call, I wouldn't mind hearing too. But also, if you see something in the local paper or hear your representative say something at a townhall meeting or whatever, let us know. I'd love to know if any of them are willing to join Shays in saying the bug man should go or, for that matter, stand up and stay they support him and want him to stay. I suspect most just won't want to answer at all.

Did I miss Denny Hastert's public vote of confidence in Tom DeLay?

The DCCC blog notes that Sen. Lincoln Chafee has now publicly called on the bug man to explain himself (or some such meaningless paraphrastic remark). This suggests a different possible role for the bug man, even a new function he can serve for the GOP: that of a ready-made issue for any Republican from the Northeast who needs a poster boy for Republican corruption against whom to define themselves and highlight their independence. Of course, that may sound a bit more like a Democratic issue. And you're probably right. But I'm trying to help the best I can.

Chris Shays' two Republican colleagues from Connecticut -- Reps. Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson -- both go finger in the wind on DeLay.

While Shays says DeLay should go, reports the AP, the "state's other two GOP moderates said it's too soon to make such a judgment."

Since the question is whether the Majority Leader should resign, that's rather less than a vote of confidence.

(ed.note: I have no doubt the Democrats will be hammering Rob Simmons for a hundred different reasons over the next 18 months. And good for them. But though it may not be worth much, this is one case where I don't think I'll be joining in. Whatever else you can say about the congressman from eastern Connecticut, he played a small but important role torpedoing Social Security phase-out.)