Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We are off to a very solid start to our annual Prime sign up drive. We are already almost a third of a the way toward our goal after only a few days. But we have a decent way to go. I’m talking to you if you’re a regular TPM reader and you haven’t signed up for Prime. This is up to you. I know there’s a large pool of readers who are ready to subscribe but just put it off or haven’t had the time. Please make now that time. Take a moment out of your daily routine, get out your wallet and just take the plunge. It’s super important for the future of this site and you’ll be glad you did anyway because you get access to a better, fuller version of the site. Just click right here.

Thank you.

As John McCain moved toward the end of his terminal illness, I thought about how I would write about him when he died. I have been a great admirer of McCain’s but also a frequent and sometimes vociferous critic. When someone dies we should focus on the best things we can say about them. But we should, especially after a respectful interval, account for the fullness not only of their lives but the fullness of what we said about them while they lived. This isn’t simply a matter of not glorifying someone in death beyond what they merited in life. It’s also a matter of holding ourselves accountable.

The commentaries on his life have either praised McCain’s unique virtues or pointed out all the ways he never lived up to his billing. For me, the most interesting question to ask is what made McCain such a towering figure in our public life in the first place. Here I mean the term not in an evaluative but in a strictly descriptive sense. He was a towering figure, whether we think he should have been or not. McCain did not have a particularly lengthy or distinguished legislative record. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law is a critical part of his public reputation. But it’s one law and it’s largely been washed away by Citizens United. Senators are not only legislators. They also have a specific constitutional responsibility for the conduct of foreign affairs. The scion of a distinguished military family, that was clearly his real passion. But the invasion of Iraq, the defense and national security decision he is probably most closely tied to — both before and after 9/11 — is now widely seen as a mistake of catastrophic and historic proportions, a fact even he conceded by the end of his life.

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Mourning for high profile political figures always involves a balancing act for those who remain among the living. Politics is about controversy and disagreement. Mourning is about unity, finding the best to say about someone. Everything is in hyper-drive when it comes to Trump because he is a man who is devoid of class, decency and impulse control.

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As we watched the corruption comedy unfold in the Duncan Hunter scandal, let’s not forget that Hunter inherited his seat from his father, Duncan Hunter, Sr., who was first elected in 1980 at 32 years of age. The senior Hunter never got indicted for anything. But he gave it a good shot. Hunter was one of several Southern California Republican congressmen caught up in the Duke Cunningham scandal and the several military contracting sub-scandals it brought in its wake.

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We are in the second day of our annual Prime sign up drive. And we are closing in our goal for the day: 200 new subscribers. We are currently at a 149 new subscribers for the day. If you’re a regular reader and haven’t joined Prime yet, please take this moment to sign up. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive. Click right here.

Thank you.

I haven’t written that much in the last 48 hours. That may seem like I’m just focusing on our membership drive. But that’s not really quite it. There is a bunch going on at TPM right now. We had the roll out of the new front page. Even when things like that go pretty flawlessly it’s still a pretty all-consuming, complex process. But again, it’s not just that. In addition to the other things that have had my attention, the news itself has been hard to process. It is not simply the sheer volume of the news but the way it has changed in recent days.

I mentioned one dimension of this back on Monday. For some time we had one big investigation, with at least a basic sense of what it is was being investigated: Russia, Trump and the 2016 election. That could go in many directions and has. But it’s a basic question, a basic set of players and – critically – it’s all housed under a single investigation and office.

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First, thank you to everyone who signed up on the first day of our annual Prime sign up drive. We kicked off at 3:30 yesterday after noon and signed up 192 new Prime subscribers yesterday. That puts off to a very solid start. So thank you. Ready to join us now? Just click right here. It’s easy. It’s cheap – just 14 cents a day. You can do it right now and be reading all our best stuff and seeing fewer ads and all the rest. Just click right here. It’s really super important and it just takes a moment.

A few other points I want to cover.

First, we’ve heard from some of you who’ve said, I love TPM. I read it every day. But money is tight. I can’t afford it. We don’t want anyone to be excluded for financial reasons. If you’re unemployed, on a fixed income or have some other financial hardship, we have free subscriptions for you. 100% free, 100% of the features and access. If that’s you, go to sign up. Click the “apply” link near the top of the age and then apply for a “credit membership”. All the details and instructions are there.

Second, are you a registered student? If you are a currently registered student, part-time or full-time, we have a free membership for you. Just do what I said in the paragraph above but choose “FIN/Student Membership”.

Finally, I mentioned a few weeks ago that we’re planning to introduce a step-up to the Prime membership with no ads at all. We got a huge, positive response. And we’ve gotten a few questions asking whether that’s still going to happen. Yes, it definitely is. We are going to roll that out probably in late October.

Okay, today is the day. We’re kicking off our annual Prime membership drive. This is a critical moment for our organization. If you’re a regular reader of the site and have planned to join Prime but haven’t gotten around to it, please make today the day. I know about procrastination. You can’t just click a button. You need to take out your wallet. You need type in the numbers. It means taking a step out of the rhythm of the day. I get it. But it’s really important. I need you to just take the wallet out now. Just literally, stop reading. Take out the wallet and click right here to sign up for Prime. It’s super cheap, 14 cents a day. It’s quick. It’s critical to our independent journalism and what we are trying to build.

Thank you.

News is just breaking that in recent weeks President Trump sought his lawyers advice on pardoning Paul Manafort. His lawyers recommending he wait until after the Special Counsel investigation had ended. Earlier this afternoon, I got this from a former federal prosecutor …

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