Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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From the AP: "Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday that the country will face 'abrupt and painful' choices if Congress does not move quickly to trim the Social Security and Medicare benefits that have been promised to the baby boom generation."

This could use some elaboration.

To the degree there's urgency here, it is because of the mammoth deficits the president has run up. The president runs up a big deficit and now you've got to pay for it with cuts to your Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Where are the president's priorities?

Shouldn't the Kerry campaign be banging this drum? Especially since it's true (only an added benefit these days, I grant you.)

Following up on the last post, let's put some of the hate-mailers and falangists to work. Let's hear some entries for the worst, most offensive, least true -- whatever measure of badosity suits your fancy -- 527 TV spots that have been run against President Bush.

Have at it ...

Speaking of moral cowardice, the prize line from Bush's interview with the Times: "I understand how Senator Kerry feels - I've been attacked by 527's too."

Here's what the reporters should have asked as a follow-up, and what someone still should ask: Can Bush or McClellan point out a specific ad they thought was so bad?

I doubt they'll never rise to that bait since the 'attack' ads they're whining about -- those from Moveon and so forth -- are so terribly soft-soap it would make them look like idiots.

Of course, it's understood as a given in Washington -- among Republicans as much as among Democrats -- that Karl Rove is behind these ads. But publicly we have to go with the ludicrous notion that he has no connection with them -- a willing suspension of disbelief that allows the president some room to express mock sympathy over the results of his own acts.

A friend of mine has a magazine article coming out in a few weeks which I'm told gets some of the goods on Rove's history of political bad acts. So we'll see if that moves the bar for him at all.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Friday editorial, reproduced in <$NoAd$>full ...

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign is taking on water. Hole after hole has been blown in the group's credibility. We hope the damage is sufficient to finally sink 30-year-old anguish over the Vietnam War as a campaign issue.

The campaign to smear Sen. John Kerry took three more direct hits this week.

Despite repeated assertions that the Bush campaign had no connection to the anti-Kerry group, the campaign's counsel, Benjamin Ginsberg, resigned, conceding that he'd provided legal advice to the swift boat bunch. One of the group's founders was commander at the time of a task force whose report confirmed that on March 13, 1969, Kerry's boat was involved in "an enemy-initiated firefight." And an Oregon lawyer who appeared in a Kerry-bashing ad faces a state bar association complaint that he was misleading in a sworn affidavit alleging that Kerry had not earned his Purple Heart medals.

One man who can -- and should -- blow this nasty campaign out of the water is President Bush. His recent call to ban all campaign advertising by all such outside groups -- known as 527 committees -- is not only insufficiently critical of the swift boat campaign but also restraint of free speech.

The answer, Mr. President, is not to restrict the use of political free speech, but to condemn its abuse.

Exactly right.

Later we will discuss the unfortunate fact that the Executive Editor of the Washington Post doesn't seem to understand what his job is.

Lede from an AP article ...

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry bowed to the wishes of popular maverick John McCain on Thursday, as the president embraced the Republican senator's legal fight against big-money special interest groups airing negative ads and the Democratic nominee scrapped a commercial that featured McCain.
Does anyone want to go out on a limb and say who got the better part of this deal? Unbelievable.

Another blog to recommend: NewDonkey.com.

It's housed at the Democratic Leadership Council. But it's not their 'official blog' in the sense of enunciating party-lines. The author is a good friend of mine who works there. But I think his authorship is technically anonymous -- so I won't spill the beans.

Given the stresses the Democratic party went through in 2003, many readers probably have a rather manichean sense of the DLC's role within the Democratic party. That's not a view I share, even though I can think of a certain someone who's done a lot to give weight to that view. And I think the NDN has much the better part of the recent intramural squabble between the two groups.

But that's all insider mumbo-jumbo which is really neither here nor there. This guy's as sharp as a tack and I respect his opinions immensely. So check him out.

More of the continuing decline of CNN.

Daryn Kagan from Tuesday morning ...

KAGAN: And so here comes a new ad by the Swift Boat Veterans and they're not just attacking the medals that John Kerry might have won but they are attacking what he did after he came back from the war. Is that going to be effective?

Pitiful ...

The continuing decline of CNN. Miles O'Brien from yesterday afternoon ...

O'BRIEN: All right, we are listening to Max Cleland, former senator from Georgia and former Lieutenant Jim Rassmann, a former Green Beret whose life was saved by John Kerry in the Mekong Delta in 1969. Although, that is a point of dispute, given what has all transpired here with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Flagged by TPM reader AR.

Can somebody tell me where John Edwards is?

Late Update: Okay, okay. It was something of a rhetorical question. No more Edwards itinerary emails. But thanks for those who sent them.

A simple strategy note to the Kerry campaign:

If President Bush is going to try to pose as an advocate of campaign finance reform to dodge the Swift Boat issue, there's a really, really, really easy rejoinder to this one: mockery.

Don't get bogged down on the details. Just mockery. Full stop.

George W. Bush, Mr. Campaign Finance Reform? Please ... A laugh and a smile. Simple as that.

His credibility on the issue is zero. Voters know it.

Let's try being smart on this one, okay? Just once?