Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Michael "Brownie" Brown turns on the president?

It seems rather an abuse of executive privilege to insist that the Congress can't review communications between the president and his chief disaster relief coordinator. But that being as it may, Brown is now saying that he wants to turn over his correspondence with the president to congressional investigators unless the president specifically tells him not to and agrees to cover his legal fees.

"Unless there is specific direction otherwise from the president," writes Brown's lawyer, "including an assurance the president will provide a legal defense to Mr. Brown if he refuses to testify as to these matters, Mr. Brown will testify if asked about particular communications."

This is going to upset a lot of TPM Readers. But pollster, message man uber-bamboozler Frank Luntz has been banned from the House Republican retreat in Cambridge, Maryland which starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday.

Majority Leader Boehner apparently told the members of his Caucus that Luntz was out.

“Boehner said he wasn’t going if Luntz was going,” a "leadership source" told Roll Call.

Tom DeLay lost the House leadership. But as a consolation prize they gave him NASA. Republicans leaders put DeLay on the Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the NASA budget. (The Johnson Space Center is in the bugman's district.)

Houston, we have a problem.

There was a seat free on Appropriations because Duke Cunningham had to give up his seat.

No, you can't make this stuff up.

Oh, I forgot, his new committee controls the DOJ purse stings too.

Is there any death of a political luminary that Republicans won't try to milk for political gain? Should they be allowed to attend funerals of non-Movement conservatives anymore?

It's actually pretty amazing. President Bush took pretty much his entire Social Security phase-out plan from last year and put it into next year's budget without telling anyone.

Newsweek's Allan Sloan took a closer look and found it all there.

Now it just so happens we still have the Conscience Caucus list online -- remember, that's the list of the Republicans who wouldn't publicly commit to phase-out last year.

Are they coming out against Phase Out Round Two?

Let's find out. Give them a call. Ask them where they stand and let us know what you hear.

It's not just cutting Social Security death benefits. President Bush has actually written Social Security phase-out into this years budget. Go look.

Now TPM Reader JB responds to the Times piece: "Why didn't anyone mention last week's NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showing Dems leading Republicans 51-37 in Congressional preference? I believe it was the Dems best showing in more than 20 years on that question. So my questions are: (1) If that demonstrates a missed opportunity, what would a victory have looked like? (2) Why can't Nagourney be bothered to include this one piece of releavnt hard data along with all the silly navel-gazing? and (3) Why is Howard Dean talking about anything else? His response should be, 'The American people disagree with what you're saying. By an overwhelming margin they prefer our agenda to theirs.'"

Sounds like the two senators from Maine -- Snowe (R) and Collins (R) -- aren't taking any position on the new Bush Social Security cuts. Neither is Rep. Bradley (R) of New Hampshire. Sen. Grassley's (R) office is telling constituents the same thing.

Heard from your representative or senator yet?

TPM Reader PM on the Times article: "Looks like the Times is reporting on the Dems the way Miller, et al. reported on Iraq: repeat the administrations theme and talking points. In this case: Dems are weak. I assume the quotes reported were selected to present that point of view. It follows a pattern. Dems speak out forcefully and fairly against some administration action, and the press report is couched in "Dems are weak" tones."

Charlie Cook on the state of play: "A year ago, with Republican victories in the 2004 elections still fresh and with President Bush's job-approval ratings still above 50 percent, Democrats' chances of capturing the House looked fairly slim. Today, however, with Bush's approval ratings hovering around 42 percent, the possibility of a Democratic takeover -- although less than 50-50 -- is very real."