Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

One-time GOP Quasi-Moderates Losing Their Dignity for W. Watch ...

HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson says that it's "obvious to anybody that looks at" at the OBL video that he wants John Kerry elected president.

Perhaps Thompson was there for the briefing where President Bush told members of Congress that OBL's main aim was to drive him from office.

More wobbles and noise.

As of Sunday morning, the two tracking polls with new numbers out -- Zogby and WaPo/ABC -- show, remarkably, the exact same thing: dead even at 48%.

For Zogby that's Bush going up one, for WaPo it's Bush going down one.

On one level, it's somewhat striking that these two polls, which seem to employ very different methodologies, should be in perfect agreement, at least on this one day. It also provides more evidence -- though certainly not conclusive -- against the assumption that the OBL tape would trigger last-minute Bush momentum.

Also of interest is the Fox poll, with a new one out this morning.

From the best I can tell, Fox is running a quasi-tracking poll. They seem to be coming up with a new poll every day or every other day. And each poll includes entirely new data. But the polls seem to be sampled on overlapping days.

So, for instance, on Friday they released a poll taken on Wednesday and Thursday nights. On Saturday they released another taken Thursday and Friday. And now today they have one out taken Friday and Saturday.

The direction of the number is hard to miss: Friday, Bush +5; Saturday Bush +2; Sunday, tied.

Once again the inevitable caveat, these are small differences, possibly accounted for by statistical noise. But it's hard to see anything bad in those numbers for John Kerry and equally difficult to miss that Kerry is doing five points better in the poll taken entirely after the OBL tape than he was in the poll taken entirely before.

Late Update: I failed to note that in a two-way race among likely voters Fox actually has Kerry up by one over Bush, and among registered voters up by two.

As I wrote early Saturday evening, the third day before the election showed the balance of tracking polls moving for Kerry, with one national poll (Fox) trending to Kerry and another (Newsweek) trending to Bush.

For what it's worth, the last poll, the Newsweek poll leaning to Bush, included the oldest data, though only by a hair.

That spread generated this overnight sum-up headline from Ron Fournier and Nedra Pickler of AP: "Poll Shows Bush Moving Ahead of Kerry".

Why did President Bush get Tommy Franks working on Iraq war planning while bin Laden was still holed up at Tora Bora?

Good question. But here's an helpful timeline.

Normally I'd be very skeptical of an article like this one: "Exclusive: Bush Wanted To Invade Iraq If Elected in 2000." According to the article, President Bush was mulling the political benefits of invading Iraq as long ago as 1999.

The second graf of the piece reads ...

“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”

As I said, I'd be skeptical.

But Herskowitz is <$Ad$>a storied sports columnist for the Houston Chronicle. He's a Bush family friend. He's co-written numerous 'as-told-to' autobiographies for a slew of famous folks.

He was hired to co-author President Bush's campaign autobiography A Charge to Keep. And even after there were some bumps in the road in that process, the president's father asked Herskowitz to write a biography of his father -- i.e., Prescott Bush, which he did (see Duty, Honor, Country: The Life and Legacy of Prescott Bush, 2003).

On top of that, the author of the piece, Russ Baker, is a journalist with an excellent reputation.

For both those reasons, what's contained in the piece is hard to dismiss. It ain't pretty. And, honestly, it fits the profile.

In such a high-octane moment, this story probably won't get much attention. But maybe spare it a minute or 90 seconds. Labor Department staffers were asked to prepare a memo analyzing current economic and political factors and whether they augured a victory on Tuesday for President Bush.

"Nearly every single model has him winning," exult the authors of the memo at one point, according to the Associated Press.

It gives you a sense of the culture of the place under the current crew.

The voter suppression drive comes <$NoAd$>into clear view (emphasis added) ...

Citing a new list of more than 37,000 questionable addresses, the state Republican Party demanded Saturday that Milwaukee city officials require identification from all of those voters Tuesday.

If the city doesn't, the party says it is prepared to have volunteers challenge each individual - including thousands who might be missing an apartment number on their registration - at the polls.

The move, which dramatically escalates the party's claims of bad addresses and potential fraud, was condemned by Democrats as a last-minute effort to suppress turnout in the city by creating long delays at the polls.

That's from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.