Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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TPM Reader BB sends us another in our on-going series of Great Moments in 'Nuclear Option' non-Bamboozlement. This just out from a late afternoon article by Richard Morin and Dan Balz in the Post (emphasis added) ...

GOP leaders are threatening a rules change to prohibit the use of filibusters to block judicial nominees and have stepped up their criticism of the Democrats for using the tactic on some of Bush's nominees to the federal appellate courts. They say they are prepared to invoke what has become known as the "nuclear option" to assure that Bush's nominees receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

Needless to say, Ken Mehlman has <$NoAd$> probably already dispatched a crack team of specialist bamboozlers to give Richard and Dan a good working over. So send positive thoughts in solidarity with these two as-yet-unbamboozled worthies.

He's fallen and maybe he can't get up<$NoAd$>. TPM Reader JH sends us in the confirmation of the Chip Reid's double-self-bamboozle-backflip on Imus this morning.

Let's go to the tape (emphasis added) ...

What it is all about is this so-called Nuclear Option, it's complicated, but basically the Republicans are threatening to change the rules in the Senate, so that the Democrats can no longer bloc these seven or so very conservative Bush Federal Court nominees. Democrats are saying 'If you're going to do that than we are going to pull the trigger on what we call the Nuclear Option, meaning we are going to shut this place down. We're going to turn the Senate into a legislative wasteland', which some people say it already is, but they are going to block everything they can.


You see there on the slo-mo he goes in for the GOP hoodwink and then tumbles into a full self-bamboozle mistaking the 'nuclear option' for what the Dems want to do in response to the nuclear option.

The thrill of victory and the agony of the self-bamboozle ...

First on judges. Then on Bolton. Then on Social Security? This blog catches a comment from Sen. Specter that others may have missed.

TPM Reader LB chimes in: "Dear Josh, as someone pointed out as well -- you? Yglesias? -- what makes the move to end filibusters nuclear is that it isn't being done in the standard way of changing a rule -- rather, it is to be claimed as out of order and then the President of the Senate (Cheney) asks for a majority vote and then so rules. That's bending if not breaking parliamentary procedure and THAT's what's nuclear about the scenario."

Ughgh, now they're falling like flies!

We're getting in unconfirmed reports that NBC's Chip Reid, on Imus apparently, not only has fallen for the RNC 'nuclear option' bamboozlement but has even added to it by calling the Dems' response to ending the filibuster the 'nuclear option' rather than that being the 'nuclear option' itself.

In other words, Chip not only fell for the bamboozle, but before he could find his way to the first microphone he managed to pull a further self-bamboozle. I know, I know, not pretty. But when these folks are this far gone it seldom is.

Help us confirm these accounts and do what we can to save Chip's dignity. He's fallen. But, with your help, he can get up.

Oh the humanity ...

Ahhh, always a sad sight to behold. NPR joins the Times in talking a dive for the 'nuclear option' speech police.

Iowa headline writer has a laugh at Broder's expense?

In David Broder's here much-mocked column on the battle over the filibuster, he claims to be outlining a sensible bipartisan compromise to avert the 'nuclear option.'

Broder's editors at the Post gave the piece the deeply Broderian title: "A Judicious Compromise."

Opinion page editors at Iowa's Quad-City Times gave it a read and decided they'd run it with a more apt title: "Democrats should back down."

At James Dobson's Democrats versus believers in God rally tonight, Sen. Frist had this passage in his speech ...

Now if Senator Reid continues to obstruct the process, we will consider what opponents call the “nuclear option.” Only in the United States Senate could it be considered a devastating option to allow a vote. Most places call that democracy.

As you can see, Frist is pushing <$Ad$> the bogus argument that "nuclear option" is a phrase coined by Democrats whereas in fact, as he certainly knows, it is a phrase coined by Republicans.

In isolation, it doesn't much matter whether we call this the 'nuclear option' or simply abolishing the filibuster. But it's worth taking note of Frist's knowing falsehood because it is quite evidently part of a larger RNC push over the course of the last week.

I've been made privy to the internal communications of a number of national news organizations at which there are now running arguments over whether to go along with the Republican claim that 'nuclear option' is a Democratic epithet or term of abuse which should be banned except in cases where Democrats are directly quoted using it.

So, as you're reading the coverage in the coming days, watch to see which news outfits have fallen in line with the RNC-directives.

Late Update: Good Catch! Atrios finds two recent instances where Frist himself calls what they're trying to do the 'nuclear option'. And lest there be any question, the issue here is not so much what phrase we use to describe the abolition of the senate filibuster, it is to shine a bright light on members of the press, to see if they will accurately report that it is Republicans who are breaking precedent here, not the Democrats. Whether they fall in line on this 'nuclear option' mumbojumbo is just one element of the story.

Frist tries to get on both sides of the threats against members of the judiciary debate.

See his speech before James Dobson's Sunday night rally for the claim that Democrats are against believers in God.

You'll note that in coverage of Frist's speech many reporters have bought into his spinners' claim that Frist is coming out against threats against the judiciary. But of course he's giving a speech at a pep rally for the people orchestrating the most extreme attacks on the judiciary. And he's doing nothing but dishing out praise for them. So as I said, Frist is trying to position himself on both sides of the threats against members of the judiciary debate. But actions speak louder than words.