Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

A little while back I mentioned that a few days before I got married I was on a debate panel with Cato's Michael Tanner and Times columnist Paul Krugman debating Social Security privatization. It doesn't include video of the whole debate; but this video on the Democracy Now website has each of our opening statements: Tanner, Krugman, Marshall, in that order.

March 31st is the day. In cities around the country, folks will be protesting Charles Schwab and Wachovia, the two big financial services firms still propping up the White House's pro-phase-out front groups. Click here to find out more.

Ahhh ... A thing of beauty, the first signs of the intra-phase-out-camp free-fire zone.

Club for Growth loads up again and starts firing away at Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina for having the temerity to raise the possibility of raising the payroll tax cap to fund phase-out.

This press release out from Le Club bashes Graham for considering raising taxes rather than being a principled conservative and just borrowing the money.

More information on those folks in Colorado who got booted from a Bamboozlepalooza event because of a bumper sticker on their car. It seems the planners of these taxpayer-funded events hire rent-a-cops, dress them up to look like Secret Service agents and then have them boot people who don't seem Bush-true.

See this post from Kos for more details.

When astroturf bamboozlers don't do their advance work ...

Even temperatures nearing 70 degrees Monday didn't stop more than 80 people from gathering at the Iowa City Public Library to oppose Social Security reform proposals.

Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, hosted a community meeting for about two hours, with discussion primarily focused on fixing Social Security, although there were also questions about the Iraq war and the growing federal deficit.


"There is so little reality about the bill," said Ann Bovbjerg of Iowa City. "The most insulting is saying, 'you'll be OK (seniors), it's the younger generation who won't be.' Who are these younger people? They are your kids and my kids."

No one in attendance voiced support for the proposals that have been introduced by the president.

Note of thanks to <$NoAd$> TPM Reader BG.

When does this become more than a joke?

The U.S. Secret Service on Monday said it was investigating the claims of three people who said they were removed from President Bush's town hall meeting on Social Security last week after being singled out because of a bumper sticker on their car.

The three said they had obtained tickets through the office of Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., had passed through security and were preparing to take their seats when they were approached by what they thought was a Secret Service agent who asked them to leave.

Reports like this have become commonplace <$NoAd$> on the Bamboozlepalooza Tour. And, remember, despite the obvious political campaign content, this roadshow is paid for entirely with taxpayer dollars. That fact must make these sorts of ideological litmus tests a no-no.

Decisions, decisions ...

Freshman Rep. Dave Reichert (R) of Washington state was either the first or second member of the Conscience Caucus. (That, bear in mind, was when the getting was good. You could get in just for expressing reservations about the president's plan.) And tonight in the district he's holding a townhall meeting on private accounts.

Reichert says he's undecided about the president's plan. But according to a February 9th piece in Roll Call says he "was the only Member in a targeted race to formally support the creation of private accounts."

So it might be interesting to ask the congressman just what it was that made him go all wobbly on privatization.

Private Accounts Probabilism from the White House's Al Hubbard: "The president has made it clear that the personal retirement accounts won't solve the problem -- they are a part of the solution The rest of the solution lies in making other changes."

Interestingly enough, Hubbard's answer was in response to a high school student, eighteen-year-old Karl Kirsch. Hubbard went on to tell Kirsh that the options for the "other changes" include raising the retirement age and switching from wage- to price-indexing, which of course would leave our man Karl with radically reduced benefits fifty or so years from now.

When another questioner asked why AARP is opposing the plan if it's so great for seniors, Hubbard quoted the phony push-poll put together by the White House's pro-phase-out astroturf group, Compass. "We've seen polls that indicate two-thirds of the members in AARP support the president's plan. For whatever reason, they've determined this is a political battle that must be won."

A TPM 'Privatize This!' T-Shirt to the first guy or gal who can get Al Hubbard wired up to a lie detector and ask him whether he thinks 2/3rds of AARP members really support the president's plan.

Forget the T-Shirt, we'll whip up a special 'Privatize This!' tuxedo. With spats ...

Almost parody. From a 1999 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ...

A Virginia jury last night awarded the wife of Sen. Rick Santorum $350,000 in damages after she charged in a lawsuit that a Virginia chiropracter's negligence caused her permanent back pain.

Deliberating more then six hours after a four-day trial in which Santorum, R-Pa., testified, the Fairfax County Circuit Court jury unanimously ruled for Karen Santorum. She had sought $500,000 against Dr. David Dolberg of Virginia, because of pain from his 1996 treatment of her.

"Mrs. Santorum has been vindicated," said her Pittsburgh attorney Heather Heidelbaugh. "She was injured permanently through the actions of a chiropractor who acted negligently."

Heidelbaugh, with the Pittsburgh law firm of Burns, White & Hickton, said Mrs. Santorum has "permanent back pain" and "permanent numbness" in one leg.

Throughout the trial, Santorum aides declined to provide details. Yesterday, they issued a brief statement from the senator saying: "The court proceedings are a personal family matter. I will not be offering any further public comments, other than that I am not a party to the suit. But I am fully supportive of my wife."

But Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, reported that Santorum testified Monday that his wife might not be able to actively campaign for his re-election next year because of her pain. "She has always been intricately involved in my campaigns," he testified.

This I found out about<$NoAd$> from MKV.

Eagle-eyed TPM Reader AA sends us the news: Bamboozlepalooza swirls into Iowa on Wednesday. The president will be holding "A Conversation on Strengthening Social Security" at 12:15 p.m. at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.