Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

ChiTrib follows up on Speaker Hastert's earmark bonanza.

"The complex structure of a real estate transaction in Kendall County last December left House Speaker Dennis Hastert with a seven-figure profit and in prime position to reap further benefits as the exurban region west of Chicago continues its prairie-fire growth boosted by a Hastert-backed federally funded proposed highway."

Oops. Turns out the Department of Homeland Security has that letter from Duke Cunningham recommending Hookergate's Shirlington Limousine after all. We'll be posting it momentarily.

My favorite line from Duke's testimonial: Shirlington CEO Chris Baker "has been of service to me and other Members of Congress over the years."

And how ...

Get the full story and letter here.

Head for the hills! The Dems in the firm of Copeland Lowery (the firm at the heart of the Jerry Lewis investigation) are bailing out on the GOPers. I guess they didn't sign on for the federal bribery and kick-back probe side of the arrangement that Lewis' cronies on staff have gotten them tied up in.

A sad passing. Barbara Epstein, co-editor and founder of the New York Review of Books died this morning of lung cancer.

She was 76.

Only met and spoke with her once. About a year ago.

Ugh, the reviews just keep coming in on Joe's rendezvous with imbecility ...

From TPM Reader JM ...

Putting aside the bizarre premise and truly rookie-league production values, what does it say about Lieberman's campaign that they felt compelled to run this ad? Here's a staid former vice presidential candidate, a would-be statesman, lowered to running a straight-up attack piece more befitting an unknown, low-budget challenger. If there were any doubts that Lamont was for real, this settles it.

But it doesn't even do what a classic attack ad is supposed to do. How many Democrats who were mildly annoyed with Lieberman will see this ad and actually think worse of Lamont? How many will think worse of Lieberman?

Lieberman could have lost the Senate seat and retained his own dignity. But he may lose both, thanks to his own inexplicable bad taste.

Then there's TPM Reader TS ...

Pardon my unPC-ness, but that ad is retarded. Being born and raised in CT, I can honestly say that even I don't understand it. Lowell Weicker is ancient news... funny thing is, a lot of people really liked him, especially when you consider that he was governor just prior to to John Rowland. Once Rowland started getting sketchy, a lot of people wished they had Weicker back. Lieberman needs to screw his brain back in.

It ain't pretty.

Does the feeble Lieberman ad point to a deeper problem? Do Dems have to confront their inner doofus?

I wonder if, with Lieberman's campaign against Lamont, we're seeing the Democratic party's ineffective campaign tactics from the other side. What I mean is, aren't these the same geniuses who run campaigns against Republican opponents every two years? As we're people who regularly root for the Democratic candidate, it's hard to for us to accurately assess the effectiveness of Democratic campaign ads, since criticisms from opponents are often brushed aside.

Now that we're watching these same tactics in action against our guy (or in your case, someone towards whom you're ambivalent) everyone's response has been, "My God, this is horrible!" And really Josh, you'd have the best perspective in this case, playing the role of the independent voter.

Regardless of who wins the primary, maybe this can be a learning experience and/or a wake-up call for Democratic campaign strategists.

Carter Eskew?

Crazy like a fox? Or crazy like a moron? TPM Reader JH checks in ...

I'll chime in as someone that thinks the Lieberman ad is crazy, and not crazy like a fox.

I work in graphics and advertising, and the thing that strikes me hardest about this ad is how amateurish it looks. You can get away with a crappy cartoon ad if what you're selling is the local tile and carpet dealership, but Lieberman is supposed to be a serious person, not to mention a U.S. Senator. As an incumbent he should be selling his gravitas and experience, and he should be at least implicitly referring to his deep roots to his constituents (after all, he's been their Senator since '88). Ad hominem attacks are pretty standard for political advertising, but at least most pols try to be a little dignified when making them. For a senior U.S. Senator (and former second on the national party Presidential ticket), this is embarrassing.

He's right. It is embarrassing.

If you weren't able to view the new Lieberman 'bear cub' ad, it's up at Youtube now. And you can see it there. And, remember, it was reportedly not made by one of Lieberman's grandchildren. Apparently, an actual adult was involved.

About that weird Lieberman ad attacking Ned Lamont as Lowell Weicker's stalking horse, TPM Reader AS writes in ...

It's about the perception of strength: Lamont as Weicker's lapdog (or in this case, bear cub). Dovetails perfectly with his other game, which is that Lamont is lapdog of the lunatic left wing Internet nerds. Whether Lamont tacks center or left, Lieberman the groundwork will be there for arguing he's somebody's puppet and not his own man. And it's not an attack that's easily defended: how do you get up and say, "I'm not so-and-so's lapdog?" Weak. Added bonuses: (1) It's somewhat Rovian. Rove's rule is to attack the enemy's strength, hard. One of Lamont's strengths as a personality is that he's a self-made, home grown Connecticut success. (2) It turns one of Lamont's primary lines of attack back around, namely, that Lieberman is Bush's/Hannity's lapdog.

I may not be subtle enough to understand Carter Eskew's genius in putting this ad together. But I have to go with the brain I have. And to me it's a dumb ad. If Lieberman wants to go with the Internet nerd argument, he should go with that argument. Getting into Lowell Weicker just makes him seem like he's in a time warp, in his own little world. And that goes to what's actually Lieberman's big liability, the perception that he's out of it, out of touch with his constituents' views. And, honestly, a bit whacked.

As for it not being easy to respond to, I don't agree with that. The pretty obvious and I'd figure pretty effective response would be for Lamont to say, "What's Joe Lieberman talking about?" I think most voters would think, Yeah, what is Lieberman talking about?

Sounds totally above board. Shirlington Limo, the outfit embroiled in "Hookergate", not only had Duke Cunningham pressing DHS to give them a big contract. But Shirlington CEO Christopher Baker was trying to get advance payment on the contract before he'd even gotten the contract.