Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Talk about pathetic ...

I don't know how much sense there is getting into the nitty-gritty of which pol has gotten a flu shot and which hasn't. But this is pretty feeble. If you look on Drudge as of around 12:31 AM there's a big headline about the Kerry campaign hitting Cheney, Snow and Frist for getting flu shots, notwithstanding the shortage.

And then just below there's a headline: "BUT CLINTON GOT ONE."


Didn't Clinton have a quadruple bypass like about six weeks ago? And, as long as we're on the topic, isn't Clinton, like ... not on the ballot?

For myself, I don't begrudge the Veep getting a shot. He's over sixty and he has a serious heart condition. But the White House is ill-positioned to make that case since the whole point is that the Vice President is, by definition, not in good health.

I've received a slew of emails over the last twenty four hours asking about the status of the Sinclair situation, and where things stand. I would refer people to the update put up yesterday on the Sinclair boycott site, which gives a good sense of where things are.

Put simply, this isn't over. Not even close.

Sinclair made a largely cosmetic retreat. They won't show 'Stolen Honor' in its entirety -- only, presumably, the most inflammatory parts, along with some padding whining about media bias.

Despite the fact that they've moved the program to Friday and later in the evening, they're still forcing most of their stations to turn over an hour of the airwaves to what seems certain to be an hourlong anti-Kerry smear just before the election.

Unfortunately, I sense they have fooled many into thinking they've backed down. But they haven't.

Anybody who is concerned about this should not be lulled into a sense that Sinclair isn't still using its control of the airwaves in many households throughout the country to game the election. To see what more you can do head back to the Sinclair Boycott website.

Today was a travel day for TPM. Thus the dearth of posts.

More on Sproul Associates: the same MO in Pennsylvania. More lies. More getting access to venues by falsely claiming to represent other organizations.

Over at his blog DonkeyRising, Ruy Teixeira has been running an on-going critical commentary of the Gallup poll.

Some of his criticisms I have found stronger than others. I think, for instance, that he's definitely on to something with the sharp Republican skew in the party-identification of the Gallup polls. But I wonder whether this problem skews the horse race numbers as much as Ruy says.

It's not that I disagree with his reasoning. And Ruy knows much more about public opinion research than I do. I think it's just an instinctive skepticism I have about finding arguments for disregarding polls that don't say what you want them to. Put more simply, I try to be on guard against spinning myself.

On Tuesday though Ruy came back with a further analysis of the Gallup poll which seemed to make an indisputable case that the Gallup likely voter screen clearly underrepresents minority and young voters.

One might say that minority or young voters vote less consistently than affluent whites. But Ruy shows pretty clearly that Gallup's numbers presume rates of participation that defy history and common sense.

For instance, minority representation among voters in 1996 was 17% and in 2000 it was 19.4%. Yet Gallup says it'll be 14.5% this year. That's hard to figure since, as Ruy notes, minorities are growing as a percentage of the population.

With blacks, it was 10.1% in 1996 and 9.7% in 2000. But Gallup says that it'll fall this year to 7.5%.

On young voters (18-29 year olds), it's a similar story. Young voters made up 17% of the electorate in 1996 and 2000. This year, says Gallup, they'll account for only 11%.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not say that the demographic breakdown numbers Ruy was going on here came from Steve Soto, who has a further discussion of these demographic problems in the Gallup numbers on his website.

This is lovely.

Click on this link and you'll go to the Ashley's Story website. It's part of an ad campaign running on conservative websites.

Ashley is a young girl whose mother died in the World Trade Center. And earlier this year, at a campaign event, she was comforted for her loss by President Bush. It's an affecting picture and I'm sure it was an equally affecting moment.

Go to the Ashley's Story website and you'll find an earth-toned montage of images about Ashley, the foundation set up in her mother's honor and more.

There's even a link you can click on to make a contribution to "spread Ashley's story."

If you click around the site a little further though you see that the money is actually for a slew of anti-Kerry attack ads.

There is an Ashley's Story ad, about how President Bush changed the girl's life. But that's just one. The other eight include the 'Surfer Dude' ad ridiculing Kerry as a windsurfer who flipflops, another -- What If -- that asks the terrifying question of what would have happened if 9/11 had happened on Kerry's watch rather than President Bush's, and a slew of others of a similar sort.

The Ashley's Story fundraiser site is actually a pitch for Progress for America Voter Fund.

In the last presidential debate, President Bush said he wasn't taking a flu shot because of the current shortage. I can understand the politics of saying that and also the sincere motive beyond it. He probably would have been attacked if he said he was making an exception for himself.

Still, the president should get a flu shot.

Support him or not, the president is singular. Issues of fairness and equality aside, the country can't afford to have the president debilitated by the flu or the complications that can follow from it -- especially when it is easily prevented.

One might say, though with less merit, that the same may apply to Senator Kerry in these last few weeks of the campaign since such a monumental choice as voters face in two weeks shouldn't be left to the vagaries of the influenza virus.

But Congress? Their staffers? Everybody who works on Capitol Hill?

According to tomorrow's Washington Post, any member of congress or employee of congress can walk into the capitol's attending physician and get a flu shot. In theory, they're not supposed to get one if they don't qualify under the CDC guidelines. But if they walk in and ask for one, they get one. No questions asked.

On top of that, the capital physician has told every member of congress to get a shot, regardless of age or health status. The rationale is that they come into contact with so many constituents and are at particular risk.

That doesn't seem right.

I have a friend who is HIV-positive; and he hasn't been able to get a shot yet. I have a relative who is over 65 and has a serious medical condition; and he hasn't been able to get one yet either.

I wrestled for several hours over whether to post this entry because I know there's a real risk that such comments merely pander to a cheap populism. [ed.note: the timestamp on TPM entries is most often when they're begun, not when they're posted.] I don't have anything against the staffers who work up on capitol hill. I know many of them. But this seems like a double standard that can't be justified.