Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

They may not have a clue about running most of the federal government, but the Bushies do keep the memory hole running on time. Clark Kent Ervin, the overly-aggressive DHS Inspector General ABC reported canned last night, has already had his page removed from the DHS website.

Clark who? I'm afraid you must have ...

(Here it is preserved for posterity.)

Maybe the conservatives who go <$NoAd$> into paroxysms with charges of anti-Semitism any time the word "neoconservative" is uttered, will spare a moment to take notice of this (courtesy of Andrew Sullivan) from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League ...

Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah. Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common.

The Jew-Hollywood-Anal-Sex-Abortion conspiracy revealed!

More on CBS News' kamikaze-like rate of decline -- Kevin's got the details.

The blog medium is nothing if not flexible; and it's open to a seemingly limitless variety of unexpected uses. Here's one I wouldn't have expected: a group of climate scientists has established a climate change group blog, RealClimate.org.

(Actually, the promo introducing the site seems to go to some lengths not to call it a site about climate change but rather one about climate science. Between you and me, I think it's basically about the climate change issue. But don't tell them I said that.)

The brief description on the site says it is aimed at the "interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in political or economic issues."

I can't say I'll be clicking the refresh button non-stop throughout the day on this one. But so long as the rate of posts doesn't move on the geologic time scale I think I'll be stopping by regularly to find out more. It's a creative way to spread knowledge about an important subject.

The Post discusses the president's domestic policy plans and particularly the effort to phase out Social Security.

One nice passage: "To build public support and circumvent critics in Congress and the media, the president will travel the country and warn of the disastrous consequences of inaction, as he did to sell his Iraq and terrorism policies during the first term, White House officials said."

This would seem to be an analogy critics could use to some good effect.

The latest installment of 'Great moments in listening to Larry King say something and wishing you were a member of another species' ... Atrios has the details.

Did the ADL and Media Matters get under the skin of Bill O'Reilly, embattled champion of Christmas ("nobody sticks up for Christmas except me ...")?

As Bernard Kerik says, "Political criticism is our enemies' best friend." And we all know that what our enemies like best is overly aggressive Inspectors General. So, thank God, this guy, Clark Kent Ervin, the IG at Homeland Security, just got canned.

Late Update: I'd be curious to hear from people who are familiar with the backstory here. Ervin comes off the Bush-Houston-Texas ladder. So what happened?

When there's a lot of kindling on the ground, a few sparks can really start a fire ablazing. And that's what now seems afoot between the "DLC" and "the base" in Democratic blogdom. I did a post yesterday about one of my pet peeves about some in the leadership of the organization. So in the interests of having this fire generate more light than heat, let me briefly wade back into this debate.

If there is an institutional failing in the DLC, it is that some in its leadership -- or more specifically, its founder and CEO Al From -- have a habit of making public statements, often at what I consider to be opportunistic moments, that amount to saying that the problem with the Democratic party is that it has ... how can I say this, too many Democrats.

There is also a habit of deploying a highly elastic definition of what it means to be a New Dem which can be expanded or contracted for effect as the opportunities of the moment dictate.

In these intra-party disputes, I always try to get people to take the snarled edge of original sin off their polemics, wherever possible. So perhaps I should take that admonition to heart myself for yesterday's post. But however that may be, I stand behind the basic critique.

But my comments would be incomplete if I didn't note the crude, often silly, and in any case highly misleading caricature of the organization that I hear from readers in emails and on various sites.

The thinking goes that those behind the "corporate/DLC agenda" are simply closet Republicans, whose aim is to put a Democratic label on Republican policies or kow-tow and make nice to Republicans so much that the Democratic party becomes even more impotent and enfeebled than it already is. Whether these points are true or not, their model for successfully winning elections has been endlessly discredited and in any case all they're really about is serially abandoning the various groups that make up the Democratic party. And what right do they have to screw, or sell-out, of $%#& blacks or unions or the poor or gays or the environment, when these guys aren't even real Democrats anyway?

As I noted in my earlier post, over the last six or seven years I've had a few perches which gave me some unique perspective on this intra-party tussle. And I can see kernels of truth in the caricature. But this is a highly misleading portrayal of who almost all of these people are. And the caricature is sustained by a lot of people who only know what these folks are about from left-leaning anti-DLC polemics -- though I would say the DLC folks come in for a good deal of criticism for that being the case.

So before everyone goes off half-cocked, with misleading slogans and impressions, trying to purge this or that wing of the party, I would say, find out a bit more about the groups you're talking about. There are plenty of real differences to argue about without getting into shouting matches with folks who might agree with you about more than you imagine.

I should probably add here that there's also the running battle between From's DLC and Simon Rosenberg's New Dem Network over ownership of the 'New Democrat' label and various other stuff. I have no particular investment one way or another in the DLC as an institution. It certainly has its problems. I would just ask that people spend as much time finding out who these folks are as they do blasting them.

One final point, you'll notice I often link to the NewDonkey blog. It's run by my friend Ed Kilgore, who's the Policy Director for the DLC. If you want to know about what these folks are about, hearing what their policy director thinks is a decent place to start. And not just one visit. Spend some time there because that's the only way to get a sense of it.

At the moment the lead post is a smack-down of David Sirota's "Da Vinci Code" piece in the Prospect. So maybe this isn't the most auspicious moment for trying to get everybody to get along. But then, a core argument of David's piece was blaming the DLC for what ails the Democratic party and trying to write them out of the same. So what do you expect?

In any case, the Dems got 48% last month. Whatever else you can say about that number, it suggests we don't have the luxury of having enough of us that we can start purging anyone. There are serious issues that divide us -- and they'll be argued over. But I don't believe that any of them are deep enough to prevent both sides from coexisting within the same party, especially considering what we are up against.