Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Rep. Bob Ney (R) of Ohio signs in to the Conscience Caucus: "The White House has got to get off the table any talk about changing benefits. As long as that discussion is out there, this thing is going to sink faster than the Titanic. And anybody that thinks it’s not is just full of themselves.”

If this is the law, then the law is an ass.

I'd like hear some more voices about the issues involved in this potential regulation and whether what FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith predicts is likely to come about. But if it's as he says, it really would mean the end of what this site and so many others on the right and left do.

Acceptable rhetoric?

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, author of our current national deficits, attacked state Dems, saying they had "car-bombed" legislation he wanted to pass.

Says the Indianapolis Star: "These include the Colts stadium financing proposal and Daniels' plan to create a special prosecutor in state government who would work mostly in secret and report to him."

This article in tomorrow's Star-Tribune has a nice summary of the batch of new Social Security polls out on Wednesday, including this one in the Times and this one from Pew.

Much of the data is in line with the recent CNN/USAToday poll.

But this number stands out: Pew found that President Bush's approval rating on Social Security stands at 29%.

Et tu, DMN?

The Dallas Morning News on phase-out: "President Bush hasn't proposed a complete and specific Social Security overhaul plan, yet there are signs his efforts are already on life support ... And the longer the debate takes, the closer Mr. Bush is to becoming a lame duck."

Novak surveys the field on phase-out, calls Lieberman "most prestigious potential compromiser."

Putting the capital 'B' in Bamboozlepalooza, Cheney says he's joining the tour. The LA Times has a nice run-down of the new '60 stops in 60 days' tour.

Not your Daddy's Bamboozlepalooza?

The Bergen Record gives the thumbs down to Bamboozlepalooza the day before it chugs into town: "President Bush is supposed to bring his Social Security road show to New Jersey tomorrow. But critical reviews indicate this production tour has been a flop. And hopefully it will soon reach the end of its run - without any Social Security privatization bill reaching Congress. In old Broadway lingo, the president's privatization proposal 'bombed in New Haven.'"

In other Jersey news, protestors gear up for Bamboozlepalooza in the Garden State.

Sen. Craig Thomas (R) of Wyoming bailing out?

From the <$NoAd$>Jackson Hole News & Guide ...

Wyoming’s senior U.S. senator says the federal government must do something to change Social Security, but he is hesitant to embrace a plan for personal savings accounts put forth by the Bush administration.

Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., said the federal government may not be "financially able" to take on the expense of the private savings plan, which he pegged at $2 trillion. Thomas said it does not make good financial sense to reduce the amount of money flowing into the Social Security trust fund at a time when payouts to baby boomers are projected to increase.

"I’m willing to talk about it, but I’m not persuaded at this point," Thomas said Thursday during a meeting with News&Guide reporters.

I'm not sure we would have predicted Thomas for the Caucus. But he's number 6.

(ed.note: Thanks to TPM Reader JA for keeping us up-to-date on what's going down in the Equality State.)

The main battle begins. From Thursday's Post: "President Bush plans to intensify his campaign to win public and congressional support for restructuring Social Security, warning that it would be a bad idea to delay action as the Senate Republican leader has suggested and politically unwise for lawmakers to oppose private accounts, White House officials said yesterday."

Plus, two key grafs <$NoAd$>for the Fainthearted Faction chump-watch ...

The "scope and scale goes way beyond anything we have done," said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who heads to Arkansas today. The president is also privately discussing compromises to win Democratic backing and is likely to signal his support for new protections for low-income workers under Social Security, GOP sources said.

Snow told reporters that Bush also has not ruled out embracing a plan backed by many Democrats to create government-subsidized personal savings accounts outside the existing system. White House officials are privately telling Republicans that Bush is opposed to the idea but does not want to say so because it would appear he is not willing to compromise.

The weak point is still the Senate Fainthearted Faction.