Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I think we may have found the Achilles' heel of the House Republican majority: Incompetent schedulers.

It was barely two weeks ago, you'll remember, when President Bush came to Albuquerque to hold a Bamboozlepalooza event in Rep. Heather Wilson's (R) district. But, Wilson couldn't be there because she was "on a long-planned trip with her husband and two children."

And now it seems the same sort of snafu has cropped up happening again. Tomorrow morning, as we reported last week, President Bush is heading to Parkersburg, West Virginia to get an up close look at his legacy. That is to say, he's doing a walk through of the Bureau of Public Debt. That's where he'll check out the Treasury notes in the Social Security Trust Fund, the ones he wants the country to default on.

The other reason for making a pit stop in Parkersburg is to do an event in the district of Conscience Caucus member, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R). Unfortunately, according to her staff, Capito won't be able to make it because she has a previously scheduled meeting to discuss medical malpractice suit abuse with West Virginia doctors visiting Washington.

In other news, Capito had a recent profile in courage moment when she said: "I'm glad I'm undecided. I don't want to react to something that's never going to come down the pike."

That's really weaseltude for the ages.

(ed.note: Notes of thanks to TPM Readers RP, RM and JEH.)

Apropos of Sen. John Cornyn's suggestion today that judicial activism may be an underlying cause of the rash of murders of judges and their families, perhaps the Democrats need to introduce a sense of the senate resolution condemning those who threaten violence against judges or offer excuses for those who commit violent acts against members of the bench.


I'm told Sen. John Cornyn (R) <$NoAd$> of Texas just said the following on the senate floor ...

I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.

So the recent murders of judges and their families are blow-back from widespread judicial activism?

Suddenly the folks in robes are like the girl who dresses too provocatively to the fraternity dance.

And who knew Cornyn and crew wanted to embrace Brian Nichols, the accused rapist who murdered Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and three others last month, as one of their own?

TPM Reader JC makes a good point: Do you wanna trust Tommy Lasorda with your Social Security after what he did to Orel Hershiser's arm? I didn't think so.

Not your granddaddy's Bamboozlepalooza!!!

Today's Roll Call (sub. req.) has a piece, announcing renewed White House-Congressional coordination pushing phase-out <$NoAd$> and what I guess is some sort of super-duper now-we're-serious Bamboozlepalooza.

“We’re looking at putting all the bells and whistles on the Social Security message train,” said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who himself appeared to be off message last week when he said a Social Security overhaul, including private accounts, may not be possible until next spring.

Indeed, getting nervous Republican Members to publicly support the White House’s proposal is a key goal of the campaign, which begins this week with high-profile House and Senate press conferences and a staged Senate floor debate between Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s important that Republican leaders on the Hill and in the White House show Members that they’re very serious when it comes to communicating the message on Social Security,” said Bonjean. “It shows the seriousness that our leaders have toward reforming Social Security by pounding home our message on a weekly basis.”

Republican spindoctors in Congress hope that all the planned events over the next month will complement the president’s own 60-day speaking tour. Bush reached his 30-day midpoint on Friday.

It's worth noting that most of the big quotes come from Hastert's guy Ron Bonjean. And this whole piece may be something Hastert felt he needed to do after he found that severed horse head at the foot of his bad over the weekend. (After all, they've gotten better men than Hastert to recant after a trip to The Chamber.)

But, this definitely isn't over.

So let's see those senators and reps get up on the floor and announce their support for phase-out. Let's draw the drum tighter. We can't wait. Especially the switch-hitters like Chris Chocola and Heather Wilson and Jeb Bradley. For now let's just start with the Conscience Caucus list. Who among them is going to flip?

Ahhhh, ye olde flippity-floppity ...

Last week Speaker Denny Hastert told National Journal that it might not be possible to get a phase-out bill passed this year.

"Politically," he said, "we probably need to get something done by next spring, a year from now. You can't carry it right up to an election. That's just political dynamite."

Today, Hastert's spokesman Ron Bonjean tells Roll Call they took the Speaker's words out of context: "The Speaker wants to get Social Security done by the end of this year. It’s not like he’s doubtful we can get it done this year.”

I'd figured that with all the <$NoAd$> astroturf maestros behind Progress for America that they'd have a more selective spread with their Tommy Lasorda phase-out phone calls. But we're hearing from not just Dems but Dem activists and even officeholders who've been getting the call. And now this one ...

Josh --

Congrats on getting hitched, BTW ...

Anyway, I also got a robo call from Tommy Lasorda. I live in Scottsdale, AZ, so I thought he would told me to call Hayworth, McCain or Kyl. Yet he told me to call Chuck Grassley! Why would Grassley listen to me -- I'm not an Iowan!

Anyway just thought you should know,


They're going to get Grassley off the dime with a flood of calls from Arizona?

For those of you in the New York City area, our friend Ruth Gerson is going to be performing at the Mercury Lounge at 217 E. Houston Street tomorrow evening, April 5th, at 7 PM.

The New York Times Jon Parales said: "With a voice that rises from tender endearments to a bluesy, impassioned growl, Ruth Gerson sings folk-rock songs that reach for the status of anthems; she's a Bob Dylan fan who can be as galvanic as Bruce Springsteen."

Stop by.