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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The Hartford Courant says Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons should join Shays' (new) Handful.

Representative Tiahrt (R) of Kansas auditions for our new GOP nutball watch (from the Times) ...

At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the court's spending request, Representative Todd Tiahrt, Republican of Kansas, veered from the budget issues to press Justice Kennedy.

"Lately we've had rulings that seem to go beyond the rule of law" and that reflect "outside influence," the congressman told the justice. He pointed to a Supreme Court decision last month barring the execution of those who were juveniles when they committed their crimes. That decision, which was written by Justice Kennedy and which cited international treaties and practices abroad, appeared to reflect "pressure put on by the United Nations and other agencies," Mr. Tiahrt said.

Mr. Tiarht said the court was "not interpreting the Constitution and laws that govern America anymore," and added that his views were shared by people "across the United States."

Justice Kennedy, appearing unruffled, replied mildly that disagreements over the meaning of the Constitution were "a very important part of democratic dialogue." He added, "This give and take is very healthy."


I guess we're into the black helicopters phase of the anti-judiciary crusade.

A question, though. Are we allowed yet to point out that a party whose members routinely make threats against members of the federal judiciary and suggestively dangle hints of violence has no claim to being a constitutionalist party?

There's a legitimate and healthy debate over whether contentious issues like abortion are best hashed out in the courts or in legislatures. But to say that the trend is moving toward greater judicial assertions over and against legislatures is foolishness. That's not what this is about. These people are uncomfortable with the rule of law itself.

Across the board, Tammany rule in the House, <$NoAd$> keystone kops loyalty tests at presidential events, tolerance and emulation of crankish attacks on sitting judges. This Republican party just isn't a constitutionalist party. It's just not.

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.

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