Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

It didn't escape the notice of the reporters at the Times or the Post today. Never one for subtlety, Rove lawyer Robert "GB" Luskin has started laying the ground work for accusing Matt Cooper of lying about his client. Said Luskin: "Cooper's truthful testimony today will not call into question the accuracy or completeness of anything Rove has previously said to the prosecutor or the grand jury."

No, not subtle.

I think it's only late in the evening, when the email traffic slows and the other distractions fade, that I can really see and marvel at the collosus that is, as Brock calls it, the Republican noise machine, with its ferocity that is only surpassed by its nihilism.

Now we can see in full view what we've seen again and again in recent years, the favored tactic: terror by grand moral inversion, the lie so total and audacious that it almost knocks opponents off their feet.

John Kerry decorated war hero? No, coward and showboat.

We noted yesterday the great article by Josh Green in the Atlantic last year in which Josh chronicled the tactic as Rove practiced it in races he ran down in Alabama in the 1990s. In one state supreme court race his candidate went up against an opponent who'd developed an impeccable reputation on child welfare issues (he was a former family court judge). Once you understand the pattern, the strategy suggests itself. Rove orchestrated a whispering campaign to spread the word that the man was a pedophile. Like I said, audacious.

And so here now. Wilson, a whistleblower administration officials were trying to punish? A whistleblower calling out White House manipulated intelligence during the lead-up to war?

Not at all. Rove was the whistleblower trying to knock down a campaign of disinformation from Joe Wilson. The audacity of it is enough to knock some people off their feet. Like I said, terror by grand moral inversion.

And here we have them on their shows and newsprint boxes, having Plame simultaneously a glorified secretary and also a political operator scheming to upend the president's drive to war by sending her husband on a mission to Niger. What range!

The two words capture it: ferocity and nihilism, feeding off each other.

Perhaps someone can help me with this.

When was the last time Karl Rove appeared at a public event and when was the last time he spoke to a reporter? (And I don't mean the calls he's making to them now in the spin war. I mean, on the record public questions.)

I don't mean questions about the Fitzgerald investigation. Questions about anything. Any public event.

Late Update: Okay, TPM Reader JG has just sent us this link to an article about a July 8th Rove appearance at the Ameritrade Holding Corp. facility in Bellevue, Nebraska. Fittingly, he was flacking phase-out. He spoke before an assembly of 500 employees.

Duke won't cede ground to Rove in Capital corruption smackdown!

Dockmaster Kelvin Lee among four staffers from the yacht club subpoenaed to testify before the Duke grand jury.

In other news, the Duke Stir left its moorings at the Capital Yacht Club today, departing for parts unknown.

"Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, narco-trafficking, people killing each other, fundamentalists killing each other in the name of God. These and more. Many more. As our analysts know, as our collectors of intelligence know - these are our enemies. To combat them we need more intelligence, not less. We need more human intelligence. That means we need more protection for the methods we use to gather intelligence and more protection for our sources, particularly our human sources, people that are risking their lives for their country. Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors."

George H. W. Bush
Dedication Ceremony for the George Bush Center for Intelligence
April 26th, 1999

Emerging bamboozlement meme? A TPM Reader tells me that on the Hannity show the new line is that Cooper set Rove up, lulling him with talk about welfare reform, before slipping in the last minute question about Joe Wilson.

You really have to wonder how these robots process this stuff in their own heads.

Okay, we're getting pretty amazing reports about veritable bamboozlement typhoons sweeping across several of the evening chat shows. We hear that Hardball was probably the worst, with a series of ridiculous claims by Ken Mehlman and later Ed Rogers. If you watched, please let us know what you saw and heard. We've set up this special discussion thread to chronicle the bamboozlement on this evening's show.

We also hear Rogers made a bamboozlement pit stop at the Newshour. Share what you saw there on this thread.

Ouch! The AP gets reeled in after chomping down hard on the GOP bamboozle bait. We join the unfortunate moment in <$NoAd$> progress (emphasis added) ...

Still, Charles Black, a longtime GOP strategist, predicts Rove will survive.

"It's good fodder for a feeding frenzy. And Democrats are pouncing on Karl because they fear and hate him. But, based on what we know that Karl did, there's nothing wrong with that," Black said.

"The question at the time that was put to McClellan in 2003 was did Karl or these other guys intentionally leak the woman's name, which is a criminal offense. He didn't do that," said Black.

A 1982 law prohibits the deliberate leaking of CIA agents' names. Plame is the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, who accused the administration of manipulating intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq. Wilson suggests his wife's name was leaked as retaliation.

Black has apparently found black letter law showing that Rove had to use Plame's actual name, which Cooper's email suggests he didn't do. And the AP buys it.

Only the law doesn't say anything remotely like that.

You can read the whole thing here. But here are some examples of the language the law uses ...

identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent ... intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent

Intent is a very important component of the law, as is how the person in question learned the information. And either could be enough to get Rove off the hook. But the idea that the individuals name has to be used is completely ridiculous. But that didn't stop Charlie Black from bagging the AP pretty nicely on this one.

Fox News runs with new bamboozlement line ...

Cooper's e-mail said Rove warned him away from the idea that Wilson's trip had been authorized by CIA Director George Tenet or Vice President Dick Cheney.

"He gave proper guidance to a reporter who got disinformation in a leak" meant to assign responsibility to Cheney, former Bush aide Ed Rogers told FOX News.

Karl Rove, anti-leak warrior.

A TPM Reader frames it very nicely: Is the president going to stand by his word or stand by his man?