Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Trent Lott's career is currently swirling down the drain in part because he has a long-standing association with a white supremacist group called the Council of Conservative Citizens and because he gave a 1984 interview to a crypto-racist magazine called the Southern Partisan. Attorney General John Ashcroft is going on Larry King Live tomorrow night. Ashcroft also has at least some connection with the very same group and he gave an interview to the same magazine only four years ago.

Is Larry going to ask him about it? If not, why not? Should Ashcroft get a pass for some of the same stuff that's ending Lott's career?

His Larryness has his own website. And down in the lower lefthand corner there's a link where you can send an email suggesting a question for a guest ...

Coming tomorrow: the final nail in the coffin of the Republican South Dakota voter fraud smear.

Poor word choice of the day watch. Senator Richard Shelby on CNN's Late Edition: we should not "lynch" Senator Lott.

This graf from an excellent and telling article in Sunday's Washington Post certainly has the smell of death about it.

In an indication of White House wariness about getting squarely behind Lott, sources said Lott sought statements of support last week from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell but was rebuffed. Both are African American. Some White House officials said it was clumsy of Lott to ask.
Grasping for straws. Not finding many straws.

Last night we held an impromptu contest to see which reader could identify the nationally-prominent Republican politician who told Southern Partisan magazine ...

Your magazine also helps set the record straight. You've got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like [Robert E.] Lee, [Stonewall] Jackson and [Jefferson] Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda. (See last night's post for the full post)
Now, the truth is that hundreds of readers wrote in with the correct answer: Attorney General John Ashcroft ("Missouri's Champion of States' Rights and Traditional Southern Values" according the headline on the interview's front page) who sat down with the Southern Partisan in 1998. That was when he was thinking of running for president and eager to burnish his standing with the ... well -- what shall we call it? -- the racial traditionalist crowd?

In any case, it's hard to announce a winner when there are so many winners and hard to give a prize for the same reason. So probably the best thing to do is just add the entire Ashcroft interview to the TPM Document Collection. You can find the quote above on page three of the interview. And don't miss what comes right after that quote, where Ashcroft says how real Missourians were part of the Confederacy too and bemoans the fact that the national history standards released in the early 1990s "make no mention of [Robert E.] Lee's military genius!" Or on page four where the interviewer gushes at Ashcroft after hearing what a staunch defender he is of the states' rights cause.

Southern Partisan: That's great. I did not realize that you'd been such a big part of fighting the states' rights fight.

Senator Ashcroft: Well, frankly, there aren't any big parts. There are just a lot of soldiers, and I happened to have been one of the soldiers at whom they fired a shot...

Oh golly gee ...

How about another quote from the Post article mentioned below...

The [White House] officials said Bush and his aides believe Democrats are hypocritically exploiting the issue out of partisan opportunism, and that the absence of news from the war on terrorism last week contributed to the focus on Lott. The officials said Bush would oppose any effort by Democrats to undermine Lott.
To an extent, the second clause of the first sentence is simply a statement of fact. But it's also, I think, a kinda revealing statement of how much the White House has to come rely upon and use the war on terrorism to muffle down domestic political problems.

You can believe in the necessity of the war on terrorism and still recognize how crassly the White House sometimes exploits it for the narrowest political purposes.

As longtime readers know, TPM sometimes likes to leaven the seriousness of political talk with an occasional contest or game. So how 'bout this one.

One of the things Trent Lott has gotten in trouble for was a 1984 interview he gave to the 'neo-confederate' magazine Southern Partisan. That -- in case you don't remember -- is the magazine which has questioned whether the non-white races are capable of democratic self-government and taken what you might call a rather too open-minded attitude toward whether or not the murder of Abraham Lincoln was a good thing. Happily, henceforth the bar will be set higher, it seems: any cavorting with crypto-racist whackjobs will simply be beyond the pale.

Now, which very-nationally-prominent Republican politician, as recently as 1998, told Southern Partisan ...

Southern Partisan: On the local and national front, we have another effort at twisting meanings and twisting history. It's this idea of national history standards ...

Republican Politician X: Revisionism is a threat to the respect that Americans have for their freedoms and liberty that was at the core of those who founded this country, and when we see George Washington, the founder of this country, called a racist, that is just total revisionist nonsense, a diatribe against the values of America. Have you read Thomas West's book 'Vindicating the Founders'?

Southern Partisan: I've met Professor West, and I read one of his earlier books, but not that one.

Republican Politician X: I wish I had another copy: I'd send it to you. I gave it away to a newspaper editor. West actually disassembles all of these malicious attacks the revisionists have brought against our founders. Your magazine also helps set the record straight. You've got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like [Robert E.] Lee, [Stonewall] Jackson and [Jefferson] Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.

P.S. Extra credit points for identifying the mysterious 'perverted agenda'.

Well, it turns out that a big plug on the OpEd page of The New York Times generates a fair number of visits to the site.

Who knew?

In case you haven't seen it the lead-in in Paul Krugman's column today said ...

"Right now we're debating whether the Republican Senate majority leader is a racist who yearns for the days of segregation or just a good ole boy who says a lot of things that make it seem like he's a racist who yearns for the days of segregation." So writes Joshua Marshall, whose talkingpointsmemo.com is must reading for the politically curious, and who, more than anyone else, is responsible for making Trent Lott's offensive remarks the issue they deserve to be.
Actually there was another piece in The New York Post by John Podhoretz ("The Internet's First Scalp" -- where do they come up with those Post headlines?) which mentioned this site and others in making the broader point that the Lott story was a watershed for Internet journalism.

Let me just say thanks to Krugman and Podhoretz and a lot of other people who've privately and publicly said kind things about this site. It's appreciated.

In any case, I'd certainly like to think that this site played some role in keeping this story alive while the bigs were ignoring. But I'm certain that the web generally -- and particularly a lot of different weblogs -- kept this story in front of people and forced attention to it long enough that it became impossible to ignore.

As long as I'm being given some of the credit, though, for getting this ball running it's only fair for me to tell you that I have retained the services of a particularly muscular security consultant whom I've instructed to be on the look-out for any shellac-headed middle-aged men who might make a lunge at me with violence in their eyes or malice in their hearts.

Okay, I haven't retained anyone yet. But, ya know, I'm thinking about it. So if anybody's got any ideas, just put them out of your head!