Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Agree with Matt on this one: I found Richard Cohen's column in the Post this morning a bit ugly and more silly. Glib in a way that addresses none of the serious issues in play on either side.

President dives into the diplomatic route head first?

No, I'm not sure either.

Foreign Affairs has a online 'roundtable' up on their site: "What to do in Iraq." In what is perhaps a sign of the times, there's actually pretty decent representation of well-known bloggers (Kevin Drum and Marc Lynch) among the participants.

A reader disagrees on CNN's fronting the Bush remarks ...

Man, do i disagree w/ you on CNN putting that up front. Yes, of course, this little 'shit' reference in and of itself is not really newsworthy. But look at the video--his insouciant air, as he chomps on his butter role, Blair hunched over him--the ignorance (Syria has much less influence over hezbollah than it did a year or two ago)...It all encapsulates a moment, almost a zietgeist. We've got no effing leadership at the top, and he's fiddliing incoherently in the midst of this like a child w/ a tantrum.

TPM Reader WD reacts similarly ...
I'm not sure this is such a minor story. Many people who frequent this and other blogs have internalized the fact that Bush is, at best, less than statesmanlike when not scripted and surrounded by political props. Outside of this, this message does not appear as much outside of the late night talk shows.

People ask why the U.S. is in the midst of this crisis. This recording provides a simplistic but understandable answer. While none of the major media will directly offer this intepretation, I think it's clear that they feel that this brief clip captures a president who does not look emotionally or intellectually capable of leading in this crisis.

In a world where our media is incapable of directly stating that view, clips like this exist as a proxy for honest analysis. It's news because of it stands for what the media feels it cannot say.

It seemed to me that CNN's headlining was all about the expletive. But these readers may be right that the broader context of the statements is the issue. And it's difficult, both in economy of language and within the canons of objectivity to convey what those mean.

Summary of Bill Odom's new piece at Neiman Watch: "A reverse domino theory may be playing out in the Middle East: Gen. William Odom says Vice President Cheney has it all wrong when he warns that the U.S. must stay in Iraq because failure there could prompt collapse elsewhere. In fact, now it looks like a new Arab-Israeli war could be breaking out precisely because our actions in Iraq have emboldened Iran and Syria."

Is this really front page news?

President Bush, discussing the Middle East crisis, uses a fairly low-tier expletive in conversation with Tony Blair when he thinks he's not on the microphone. And that's front page headline on CNN?

I might post on it. Atrios might. It's kind of funny. And it puts some of the lie to the now presumably rather degraded notion that the president is above such things. No one likes to poke the president's eye more than me. But this is the headline, with everything that's going on today?

That strikes me as fairly odd news judgment.

I just wanted to make sure everyone saw TPMmuckraker's post from yesterday on Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA). If you don't think the criminal probe into the House Appropriations Chair is a big deal, why are like 90+% of his campaign expenditures going to his legal defense?

In the last week I've heard a number of people ask why bloggers, or I guess spefically progressive bloggers, have devoted so little column space to the events in Israel-Palestine and Lebanon. And I've joked, as I've ventured onto this terrain, about how nothing is more likely to heighten the temperature of your in box like stating any opinions on this vexed subject.

But none of these lighthearted words can do justice to the sorts of email you get.

It's funny, if that's the word for it, because I'm much more accustomed to getting critical emails from hypernationalist and/or hypersensitive Jews taking me to task over this or that viewpoint I've expressed about the Middle East. (Of course, nothing compares to sublime ridiculousness of having a gentile right-winger warn me that my views on the Middle East verge on anti-semitism. For some, it seems, Bush-loyalty is the new sign of the covenant.) Just a week ago I was foolish enough to exchange a series of emails with a reader who was offended that I hadn't booted my guest blogger TPM Reader DK for having the temerity to print an email hostile to Israel as an example of the range of opinions he'd received on the subject.

For some of my Jewish friends and, it seems, more and more non-Jews of a certain political persuasion, there is just an inability to recognize that the dispossession of Arabs was an essential element to the fulfillment of the Jewish people's national aspirations in Palestine. (That was a blindness that a ben Gurion or a Dayan never made. Read their writings, their speeches, especially their letters. They understood this.) There is too often an inability or I suppose simply a willfull refusal to recognize the roots of Palestinian militant violence and terrorism (and I don't equate the two) in the fact that the population of the West Bank and Gaza have been living under military occupation for some forty years.

As some of you know, before I became a journalist I was studying to be an historian. And the topic of my doctoral dissertation was the nexus of economic relations and organized violence between Indians and English settlers in mid-17th century New England. And over several years as I researched and wrote and pulled together my ideas on the subject there were troubling and disconcerting moments because I could see the echoes and patterns of what happened there in the 17th Century in what happened between Jews and Palestinians in the 20th. There continues to be this dangerous obtuseness among the political classes in this country that 'terrorism' is just terrorism whether it's bin Laden's buddies trying to figure out how to blow up the world or Palestinian militants trying to drive settlers off the West Bank.

But on a day like today I see a different picture, though magified perhaps by the febrile intensity of email. It comes when I'm again exposed to the other side of the coin. American politics leans heavily in Israel's direction; and so does the American media. But there is out there a broad constituency of ignorant and malevolent hatred of Israel and, really, Israelis, that, I think, masks its malevolence even to itself through being awash its own self-righteousness. I think I understand the Palestinians' rage. In any case, I respect it. For this trash from Americans who only seem able to see Jewish evil in the midst of this protracted conflict I can't have anything but contempt. And it puts me on my guard.