Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Good catch by Thinkprogress. Isikoff says it's Abramoff who's shopping those photos of himself with President Bush. Makes sense.

With the very word 'lobbyist' now quickly becoming a tainted title and with so many lobbyists now claiming that they are not, in fact, lobbyists, I'm starting to wonder whether we might be on the course to full-scale rebranding.

Along those lines a few possibilities have occurred to me ...

Government relations consultants

Influence consultants

Influence peddlers

Public/Private Sector Mediators

Legislation Brokerage (that would be for the shop, not the individual lobbyist)

Legislation stylist

More ideas? Suggest them here.

Is Alabama the Cayman Islands of the political money-laundering racket? Tom DeLay sure seemed to think so. Seems the Hammer set up a special Alabama division of ARMPAC which bagged $750,000 of contributions from out of state and then shipped all but $11,000 back out.

All perfectly legal, it seems. At least, legal in terms of not bringing in or dishing out any of the money in the state. But an interesting rock to turn over. And Tommy Stevenson of the Tuscaloosa News turns over a few of them here.

Remember the Arabian Horse outfit Brownie worked at before he went on to bigger and better things running FEMA? They must have still been thanking their lucky stars for Brownie's services because they chipped in $15,000 just before the 2002 election when DeLay was burning through cash trying to flip the Texas state legislature.

Rep. Doolittle won't back down from his principled stand in favor of corrupt lobbying. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

I see there are a lot of people around the web taking shots at Hillary Clinton, or more specifically at her probable presidential candidacy in 2008.

Though I wrote five years ago that I find the whole idea of a Hillary presidential bid wildly improbable, I say the following as an admirer and supporter of Sen. Clinton. (She's my senator now, after all.)

But here's a reason for not supporting her candidacy that I don't hear often enough: political dynasticism.

Inherited presidencies are not unprecedented in American history (viz. the Adamses). But father and son presidencies like the Bushes -- so close in time and political consanguinity -- are unprecedented. (John Q. Adams was elected twenty-four years after his father and he had arguably become a member of the opposing party.) Add to that the expectation that yet another Bush son -- Jeb -- will run for the presidency at some point over the next decade.

I don't just think that's a bad thing because it's a political family whose politics I find egregious. I think it's just a bad thing for the republic, period. Nor is it only the Bushes or only the presidency.

I think I've seen some relatively systematic data showing a growth in the number of members of congress who are political legacies. Again, not unprecedented by any means, but a tendency that is growing and one I don't think is healthy in the aggregate.

George H. W. Bush left office to be followed by two terms of Bill Clinton. He in turn was followed by two terms of Bush's son. If those two terms of the son are followed by the election of Clinton's wife, I don't see where that's a good thing for this country. It ceases to be a fluke and grows into a pattern. It's dynasticism.

A question someone might want to ask Scott McClellan.

A company called Reflections Photography handles photography and photo sales for many Republican political events.

They did the event photography for Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraisers, for instance.

Here's their online catalogue. You can view and purchase thousands of photos of Bush campaign and other GOP events.

Just by way of example, here are the photos from a recent Steele for Senate fundraiser in Baltimore attended by President Bush.

Now, Time recently reported that: "Bracing for the worst, Administration officials obtained from the Secret Service a list of all the times Abramoff entered the White House complex, and they scrambled to determine the reason for each visit. Bush aides are also trying to identify all the photos that may exist of the two men together."

Did the White House, earlier this month, order Reflections to remove a photograph of a smiling President Bush and Jack Abramoff from its archive?


Ralph Reed: "What I don’t appreciate — and what I’m confident the voters will reject — is the attempt by some of the media and others to engage in guilt by association. To associate me with the misdeeds of others is unfair, it’s wrong and it will be rejected at the ballot box."

What about guilt by cash payment?

Read Kevin Drum (here and here) on what we found out yesterday about the NSA wiretap story. Matt Yglesias has some additional thoughts along similar lines.

The key point is that we know that this wasn't some novel technology but garden-variety wiretapping. And with that being the case, it's just not clear why the administration didn't get Congress to revise the FISA law to make these searches legal.

To me the whole thing remains a mystery. One school of thought would suggest that there must have been something shady going on, otherwise they would have just gotten the law changed and avoided any legal questions. As Kevin says, it's not like it would have been that hard to get such an expansion through Congress in 2002 or 2003 or even today for that matter.

There's another possible explanation, though -- one that squares with my sense of this group in the White House. And that is that they have an ideological affinity -- perhaps even a compulsion -- for presidential assertions of extra-constitutional authority. Just on principle.

That is their mindset. It informs countless actions over the last five years. Still, it's not enough. Kevin's right. Something doesn't fit. There must be something else.

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