Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The St. Petersburg Times comes out against the loyalty test the White House is imposing at Social Security events on the president's Bamboozlepalooza Tour: "The Bush administration might not appreciate the difference between campaign events that are paid for through private donations and official events put on with the public's money, but the Constitution surely does."

With all of Tom DeLay's bossism and corrupt rule now finally being revealed to a wider audience, I figure it's time to revisit the DeLay Rule, and remember which Republican members of the House were so devoted to DeLay (i.e., owned by DeLay) that they were willing to rewrite their caucus's rules on his request because they thought he was about to indicted back in Texas. We've got a whole library of the letters the DeLay Rule backers sent to their constituents trying to explain themselves.

Another nice Dana Milbank article, this one on some of the borderline-violent anti-judiciary nut-cases the Republican majority (particularly in the House) is in the process of selling itself to.

How high on the list of national priorities for the American people do you figure disciplining the federal judiciary is? Higher than the economy? Terrorism? Health care? Iraq? Social Security? Long-term care? Road quality?

Perhaps it is time for the Democrats simply to embrace their destiny as the party of grown-ups. No members of congress threatening judges. No gonzo federal legislation cooked up in the middle of the night to game a family struggle in Florida. Borrowing money and saving money are not the same thing. A reasonable respect for the rules under which the country has long been governed. Congressional staffers will neither steal work material from members of the opposition party nor stand on principle when caught. Bribes tendered on the floor of Congress will be frowned upon ...

Somehow I found my way over this article by John Hinderaker at the Weekly Standard website. And in the course of providing an elaborate history of press malfeasance and liberal bias in the coverage of the Schiavo talking points memo, he notes: "The Post's story was picked up by the Reuters news service and by dozens of newspapers, and was, in large part, the basis for a widespread popular belief that the leadership of the Republican party had played politics with the Schiavo case."

Spinning and BSing is always less interesting than the genuine article of denial and self-deception. Was it really the reporting of this memo -- however accurate or inaccurate (and we're finding out it was pretty much completely accurate) -- that led overwhelming numbers of Americans to judge that 'the Republican party had played politics with the Schiavo case'?

You really have to be far gone to believe that.

I think most people judged this one by believing their eyes.

Andrew Sullivan sounds the same waters in this post out this evening.

I'd missed this article from the Post.

It's about Wes Clark and Richard Perle testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Iraq and WMD this week, a reprise of a similar engagement in 2002 and a sort of anticipation of a reckoning before the judgment of history.

Watch a hustler dig himself even deeper.

Sen. Chafee (R) of Rhode Island tells the Projo he's voting to confirm John Bolton unless some bombshell at the hearings convinces him not to.

(I guess that means he's voting for him unless he decides not to?)

Does Chafee want to hear what Carl Ford (former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research while Bolton was at State) has to say?

We hear Ford is quite willing to tell the committee what he knows about Bolton's track record of intel monkey business while Bolton was Under Secretary, Arms Control and International Security. As head of State's intel shop in the president's term, Ford should know.

But will Ford get the call? If Chafee really wants to find a way to vote against Bolton, he'll certainly make sure Ford gets called to testify. If he's dead-set on carrying the president's water, he'll do the opposite.

From the Miami Herald ...

The campaign ads were bitterly divisive, even by the standards of a bare-knuckle primary, accusing the opponent of then Republican senatorial hopeful Mel Martinez of playing to the ``radical homosexual lobby.''

Martinez blamed the ads on "young Turks" in his campaign and apologized to his GOP rival. Weeks later Martinez found himself again blaming a staff member after a press release from his campaign likened U.S. immigration agents to "armed thugs" for seizing Elián González from his Miami home in 2000.

Now, for the third time, Martinez finds himself under fire -- and blaming an aide for the conflagration.

Good help is so hard <$NoAd$>to find.

While dingbats throw brickbats, Mike Allen continues his reporting on the Martinez-Schiavo memo in the senate.

If I understand this right, the new line of thinking is that there is no reason to believe this talking points memo (which is, after all, written to be distributed) was distributed to other Republicans. And it was, in fact, only distributed, inadvertantly, to Sen. Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa. (Who knew Occam's Razor could get so dull?) The reasoning behind this uncanny logic is that Harkin is the only one to have come forward and said, on the record, that he received a copy.

Why only Harkin would come forward and no Republican senators or staffers remains a mystery, it would seem.

So the Allen-eaters are confident that this memo wasn't distributed to Republicans. But Sen. Martinez's office isn't so sure. They're doing an internal investigation.

And one unnamed Martinez aide tells Allen that Darling (the memo-ist) "may have disseminated [the memo] to other offices."

But then, I guess, we have only Allen's word that this unnamed "aide" is really an employee of Sen. Martinez, don't we?

Some Senate Republicans seem intent on conducting an intelligence test on their Democratic colleagues. Only they mean to eschew the normal square pegs and round hole approach and instead use a new gambit in the Social Security debate.

Says the AP's David Espo: "Senate Republican leaders are considering whether to seek Democratic support for Social Security legislation without the personal accounts sought by President Bush, aiming to restore them later, officials said Thursday."

So given that privatization now seems dead in the water, these senate Republicans want to enlist Democratic support for enacting what will no doubt be highly popular benefit cuts and tax increases because this will smooth the way for them to partially phase out Social Security with private accounts, as part of a two step gambit.

And to structure the experiment so as to get a clear read on whether we're talking about mere substandard intelligence or some more profound sort of incapacitation they're telling the reporter from the Associated Press that this is their plan.

Setting aside this foolery, why would any Democrats agree to do anything on Social Security before getting agreement from Republicans -- embodied, where appropriate, in legislation -- that phase-out is off the table for good and that the Treasury notes in the Social Security Trust Fund will be repaid in full.

The Democrats' priority here is to protect Social Security. And the most pressing dangers to Social Security are not deficits in the 2040s but the present threat of privatization and President Bush's effort to renege on the promise that money loaned out of Social Security payroll tax funds will be paid back.