Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Two perspectives ..<$NoAd$>.

Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer."

George W. Bush
Convention Acceptance Speech
September 2nd, 2004

"As speakers at the GOP convention trumpet Bush administration successes in the war on terrorism, an NBC News analysis of Islamic terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, shows that attacks are on the rise worldwide — dramatically.

Of the roughly 2,929 terrorism-related deaths around the world since the attacks on New York and Washington, the NBC News analysis shows 58 percent of them — 1,709 — have occurred this year.

In the past 10 days, in fact, the number of dead has risen by 142 people in places as diverse as Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel. On Tuesday, the number of civilians killed by terrorists totaled 38 — 10 at a subway entrance bombing in Moscow, 16 in a bus bombing in Israel and 12 Nepalese executed in Iraq.

Moreover, the level of sophistication is increasing. Terrorism experts point in particular to the attacks apparently carried out by Chechen rebels during that 10-day period. The rebels, whose top military commanders have been Arabs, are operating at a whole different level."
NBC News
September 2nd, 2004

Breaking News from CNN: "Doctors tell former President Bill Clinton that he needs heart bypass surgery, sources tell CNN. Details soon."

Says AP: Clinton to have quadruple bypass.

The Post has a piece today fact-checking a number of these distortions about Kerry's record, statements and positions, which I referred to last night.

A key passage from today's article by Warren <$NoAd$>Strobel on the Knight Ridder wire ...

Several U.S. officials and law enforcement sources said Thursday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyond the Franklin matter.

FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon and State Department officials on the probe in recent days. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch Feith's office.

They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.

"The whole ball of wax" was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry.

Read the whole thing.

Looking back over the RNC one of the clear objectives was to reconstruct the picture of the last four years in which the previous administration left the country vulnerable to the 9/11 attack and President Bush revolutionized our defenses and doctrines in order to combat the threat.

That view of matters was the conventional wisdom until roughly a year ago when it started to be pulled apart by a series of official investigations and belatedly aggressive journalism.

In fact, the president ignored the terrorist threat during his first months in office. After the war in Afghanistan he pulled resources away from the war against al Qaida to fight the war in Iraq -- which played a key role in allowing bin Laden and other key AQ leaders to slip the noose. And along the way he used systematic deception to game the country into the conflict.

(The Senate intel Report tries to work its way around that fact. But I suspect that Report will be taking a bit of a hit in the next few weeks.)

I don't mean to rehash all that's come out in the last eighteen months. But there was an effort to deny all of it through the use of effective rhetoric without rebuttal. The Dems will have to start deconstructing it again now.

From Reuters .<$NoAd$>..

Sen. Zell Miller, whose scathing speech at the Republican convention outraged fellow Democrats, was so booked with television interviews that he could not sit in President Bush's guest box at the convention on Thursday as first planned. The Bush re-election campaign initially intended for the Georgia senator and his wife, Shirley, to sit among the honored guests with first lady Laura Bush and other VIPs as the president accepted the Republican nomination to a new term in office.

The campaign later released a guest list that dropped Miller and his wife from the list. Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said Miller was not in the box because the Bush campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

Stanzel said the campaign was delighted that Miller, a conservative Democrat, participated at the convention.

From NBC ...

After gauging the harsh reaction from Democrats and Republicans alike to Sen. Zell Miller’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign — led by the first lady — backed away Thursday from Miller’s savage attack on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, insisting that the estranged Democrat was speaking only for himself.

Late Thursday, Miller and his wife were removed from the list of dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family’s box during the president’s acceptance speech later in the evening. Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Miller was not in the box because the campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

There was no explanation, however, for why Miller would be giving multiple interviews during Bush’s acceptance speech, or what channels would snub the president in favor of Miller. Nor was it made clear why Miller’s wife also was not allowed to take her place in the president’s box 24 hours after his deeply personal denunciation of his own party’s nominee. The change was made only a few hours after Laura Bush, asked about Miller’s speech, said in an interview with NBC News that “I don’t know that we share that point of view.” Aides to President Bush and his campaign said.

Let me share with you some quick and hastily-assembled thoughts about the evening just concluded.

I thought the president tonight was better than his speech. And what I mean by that is that he seemed confident, assured, and at ease -- all the qualities that he should have conveyed and embodied. But the speech itself, while good, seemed like less than it could have been. In many ways I thought Cheney's was better.

I trust you'll understand that it's a given that I didn't think much of the content of either speech. But purely evaluating them in terms of political effectiveness, I thought the president's speech left unaddressed issues that I thought he should have and could have dealt with more effectively.

My watching of the speech was disrupted in a jarring way because I happened to be sitting two seats away from one of the protestors who was hustled out of the arena during the president's speech. An unassuming women had been sitting on our press row for the couple hours prior to the speech. And about half way through out of the corner of my eye I saw a plainclothes police officer lunge in our direction. I looked back to see the woman who -- without my having noticed -- had tossed on a pink slip over her dress and I guess was about to start some sort of chant or statement.

He grabbed her; there was a brief commotion. Other officers rushed in our direction. And then before I could even figure out what was going on, she was gone.

There are some more details to the story, including the journalist sitting next to me, who started yelling at the woman -- or perhaps better to say, aggressively scolding her -- as she was dragged off. But I'll leave that till tomorrow.

Remember how President Bush has said, any country that looks at me the wrong way, that's a country I'm going to wipe from the face of the earth? And do you remember how he said that if he didn't read the August 6 PDB that that wasn't his problem and people should stop complaining about it?

I admit that I probably can't point to a direct citation for those things the president says. But then I don't know if George Pataki or the others can point to where John Kerry said he would only attack terrorists after they attacked us first.

"The whole week was double-ply, wall-to-wall ugly. The tone was set early on ... Allowances should be made for rhetorical excess ... But, even so, the Republican Party reached an unimaginably slouchy, and brazen, and constant, level of mendacity last week ... [President Bush] is in "campaign mode" now, which means mendacity doesn't matter, aggression is all and wall-to-wall ugly is the order of battle for the duration."

Joe Klein
August 31st, 1992