Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TPM.
A Big, Big Miss and Why You Should Never Listen to Larry Summers Prime Badge

The Labor Department reported today that the US economy added 266,000 jobs last month. Normally that would be a healthy number. But it’s roughly three quarters of a million jobs short of what most economists were expecting. In other words, it’s a massive miss and as economist Justin Wolfers puts it, it is a “big miss that changes how we think about the recovery.”

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What Drives Cheney? Prime Badge

I think TPM Reader AM somewhat clouds the issue by using the old money/new money analogy. It sounds too snooty and snobbish. But I think he’s really on to something. One of the things about Liz Cheney is that she clearly has as much or more contempt or lack of respect for Kevin McCarthy as she has for Donald Trump. She’s repeatedly and gratuitously embarrassed him in public. She likes disrespecting him publicly. As I mentioned in yesterday’s discussion with Kate in the podcast, Cheney has literally been around the highest echelons of the GOP since early childhood in the 1970s. Through her parents and her own life and political experience, she sees herself as part of the older, grown-up GOP.

I take her core conviction here – Trump’s danger, the danger of The Big Lie and the insurrection – as very genuine. But her refusal to ‘look forward, not back’ is, I think, both characterological and rooted in her deep-seated belief that guys like Kevin McCarthy and especially Donald Trump are just beneath her.

Here’s TPM Reader AM

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COVID, Caution and Science #2 Prime Badge

From TPM Reader DT

I am a research active scientist and have been doing my best to “follow the science” with how I behave during the pandemic. It is another story entirely about how that has been hard, even with a very rigorous scientific training at the best institutions in my field.

What shouldn’t be forgotten here is the history of the current moment. During the first 10 months of the pandemic, we were essentially left out in the cold. With the notable exception of Dr. Fauci (who very understandably flubbed the mask question at first), where could you go to figure out what to do? It was nothing but quackery and disinterest from the White House, a weak, compromised, subservient CDC director, a scarf-wearing clown show of a coronavirus task force, and on and on and on. All the state and lower levels of government had to define and address the problem in their own ways, with many falling victim to politicization that came straight from the top. News journalism was largely on point from the good typical outfits, but there were many messaging issues in headlines and some stories that made many scientists roll their eyes, not to mention the misinformation peddled by the bad typical outfits.

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COVID, Caution and Science #1 Prime Badge

From TPM Reader RE

My wife and I are both fully vaccinated. She is having a hard time adopting new behaviors, and still seems truly frightened at the possibility of mutant strains taking over. Even though there is no evidence of this currently happening, it shows the lasting trauma people are feeling. But I don’t understand how Nate Silver’s tweet could get someone like JG so wound up. And I don’t understand why people get vaccinated if it doesn’t help ease their felt trauma. To start healing the wound will require behavioral adjustments. This is understandably uncomfortable for some people, but it’s necessary.

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Kevin’s Dark Secret: He Briefly Did the Right Thing Prime Badge

Kevin McCarthy has plenty of motives to cater to Trump and keep the congressional party united behind the Big Lie. But this report focuses on one of the most fascinating ones. McCarthy is apparently highly worried about being compelled to testify before any possible Jan 6th Commission. He should be, for two key reasons.

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Power and Lies and Elise Stefanik Prime Badge
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., questions Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, as they testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Aaron Blake of the Post dug up these statements from Elise Stefanik, the representative from New York State who is likely to replace Liz Cheney once she’s ejected from the House GOP leadership. Stefanik was a garden variety Upstate New York Republican before she hitched her wagon to Trump around 2018 and went all in with the Trump personality cult.

In the lead-up to the January 6th insurrection most congressional Republicans were careful to avoid repeating Trump’s most outrageous lies about a stolen election. They focused on the purported unconstitutionality of pandemic-related changes to election regulations. In other words, they weren’t directly claiming a stolen election in the sense of stuffed ballot boxes or dead voters or other similar stuff. They were arguing that states had exceeded their constitutional authority in doing things that making voting by mail easier. So those votes were illegitimate though not ‘fraudulent’ in the way most of us understand the term. This allowed them to back Trump’s claims of an illegitimate election by hanging their hat on a very weak constitutional argument rather than racist lies about ‘inner city’ vote fraud and other conspiracy theories.

But Stefanik wasn’t so careful.

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Two Views on Science and COVID Shaming Prime Badge

From TPM Reader JS

Strongly disagree. Science is science. You can’t wrap yourself in it to justify the shutdowns and then appeal to “trauma” to be for them.

And from TPM Reader MH

Thank you, Josh, for your humane defense of people feeling cautious and traumatized, and for pointing out that most of the country is still not vaccinated.

The case numbers didn’t start dropping in New York until the first week of April. I didn’t get my “fully vaccinated” card until a month ago, and the data on variants and vaccine escape was also slow to arrive. We didn’t know *what* was keeping the cases up, but if you listened to the epidemiologists, they said “variants” a lot.

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Cheney Throws Down the Gauntlet Prime Badge

I’m not sure what the analogy is. But a new Post OpEd from Liz Cheney makes crystal clear that she is making her political fate – certainly her role in the Republican House leadership, which seems doomed – a test case for the future of the Republican party. Here’s the piece.

As I said in the podcast today, it would be simple enough for Cheney to ‘look forward and not back’ as they say. Not change her position on the disgraceful legacy of last winter but point to where she and her conference agree on opposing the Biden agenda. Rather she has deepened and sharpened her critique.

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Annals of Covid Shaming Prime Badge

I publish many great TPM Reader emails here. They’re one of the best things we offer as a site. But it’s seldom that I publish one that captures so palpably something I’m feeling or states more resonantly what I had, less coherently, had in my mind. As TPM Reader JG notes here I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that The Atlantic seems to have cornered the market on these tut-tutting articles about liberals or blue staters who apparently aren’t letting down their COVID guards quick enough.

From TPM Reader JG

I saw your tweets re: the Emma Green article in The Atlantic earlier and wanted to contribute some brief thoughts as a long-time resident of Somerville, Massachusetts. Specifically, I wanted to push back on the idea that it’s progressive politics and not the experience in the region that is the main reason for the attitudes of many COVID behavior.

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On Covid and Reform Prime Badge

From TPM Reader MW

I appreciated your think-piece on the pandemic as a catalyst for progressive reform. I absolutely agree with you that political reform can happen very rapidly—far more swiftly than people expect—and I share your optimism that we may be nearing such a period. As you note, America’s welfare state and civil rights advances were developed in relatively short sprints, emerging suddenly from periods of political stasis.

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