Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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More on Kennedy.

Here's a Times article from March 8th of this year that documents how people taking Ambien have been known to sleep-walk, sleep-drive and sleep-a-lot-of-other-things.

Presumably, Kennedy can document that he had the stuff in his system. And that makes his claim at least plausible.

As I expected, we've gotten a number of emails from readers asking why we're giving as much attention as we are to the Patrick Kennedy story over at TPMmuckraker, given that it'll inevitably pull attention away from the various GOP corruption stories.

The answer is simple: when it comes to muck, we're on the case regardless of the person's party affiliation. We wouldn't be true to our mission if we didn't.

The simple fact is that when you have an alleged driving under the influence or sleep-driving story and it involves a Kennedy, the press is going to be all over that. What's new.

But here's what does get my attention. There's another pretty tawdry story that's out there -- one about members of Congress getting sauced up at rollicking parties and set up with hookers by crooked defense contractors in exchange for help bagging pricey defense contracts.

That's pretty salacious too. You'd expect the press to be all over it. As Justin reported yesterday, the legendary Watergate Hotel has already received mulitple subpoenas from federal investigators investigating the hotel's role in 'Hookergate'. So this thing's for real.

Yet, I'm not seeing any morning show's running with it.

And, while the Kennedy story is 'newsy' it doesn't really have any greater policy implications. And the public trust implications are minor. The Wilkes-Watergate-Hooker story, on the other hand, is both. It's salacious, which the press loves. And it's also directly tied to crooks ripping off taxpayers, probably allowing our service members abroad to have shoddy equipment or defense dollars going to worthless projects.

So, we're on the Kennedy case. But why the silence on the much bigger scandal bubbling up out of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee?

Cricket, cricket ...

Late Update: A number of readers have told me that NBC Nightly News has a piece on the story last night. Good for them.

Back on Patrick Kennedy, it's worth pointing out that Ambien can have some very weird side effects. And sleep-walking -- and presumably even sleep-driving, or, heck, possibly even sleep-voting -- is one of them. Still, I don't think that closes the book on this odd case. We're looking into it over at TPMmuckraker.

Bush at 33%. AP: "Six months out, the intensity of opposition to Bush and Congress has risen sharply, along with the percentage of Americans who believe the nation is on the wrong track."

This is interesting.

Yesterday we told you about Sen. Dole's GOP senate fundraising letter which begged for campaign money and suggested that allowing Democrats to launch investigations of President Bush would be even worse than letting them lose the War on Terror.

The AP wrote about Dole's fundraising appeal and the dire picture she painted of a Democratic senate. The piece quotes extensively from the pitch letter. But somehow the AP fails to mention this one most jarring, embarrassing and revealing passage.

Let me just post it again so we're clear what Dole said ...

If Democrats take control of the Senate in '06, they will cancel the Bush tax cuts, allow liberal activist judges to run our courts and undermine all Republican efforts to win the War on Terror.

Even worse, they will call for endless congressional investigations and possibly call for the impeachment of President Bush!

Please help the NRSC protect our President, our conservative agenda and our critical GOP Senate Majority by making an urgent online donation today.

I know Dole's campaign committee, the NRSC, was spinning reporters furiously on Thursday trying to keep folks from writing about this. I'd hate to think AP gave way to the hard sell.

Late Update: TPM Reader RM thinks it's even worse than I thought ...

The AP Did More Than "Give Way"

Josh, longtime reader here. Go ahead and re-read the first paragraph of the article you linked to:
WASHINGTON -- The head of the Senate Republican committee paints a dire picture of Democratic congressional control, warning that the opposition party would "put the war on terrorism on the back-burner" and maybe even impeach President Bush.
The AP actually echoes Dole by implying that Democrats might "put the war on terrorism on the back-burner" but, worse then that, they could "maybe even impeach President Bush." Apparently the AP not only covered for Dole but also agrees with her.

Yep, Sounds about right.

Let me say a few words about the Moussaoui verdict.

I don't believe in the death penalty, though I can certainly understand, and even feel, the desire for it in some cases.

But this whole case struck me as a crock, a sham, a tacit conspiracy between a Justice Department desperate to prosecute someone for 9/11 and a homicidal madman eager to be martyred for his role in an atrocity he actually didn't have that much to do with.

Juliette Kayyem reads the tea leaves here and concludes, fairly convincingly I think, that at least three of the jurors decided that even though Moussaoui is a very bad guy, and probably would have loved to have been in on the plot, the government's case was just bogus.

Life imprisonment sounds like the right punishment.

As for his "America, you lost. I won" that some people are so upset about, who cares what he says? I think we win because we're showing we respect our laws.

Ahhh, the fun truly never ends: Watergate Hotel subpoenaed in Wilkes/Cunningham Hookergate investigation.

Wow. Here are some great poll numbers for Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). Fully 29% of Montana voters believe he deserves to be reelected. Says GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who is working for Burns Republican primary opponent, Bob Keenan, and conducted the poll: "That is among the lowest 'deserves re-election' percentages we have recorded for an incumbent in a quarter-century of polling."

It is with a special anguish that I now read George Packer's New Yorker dispatches on Iraq. But I thought George captured the moral dimension of our current national predicament in one sentence in his piece in this week's Talk of the Town, where he describes the president's strategy as "muddling through the rest of the Bush Presidency, without being forced to admit defeat, until January of 2009, when the war will become a new President's problem."

This really is the issue. Brazen it out, burn off men and money, not admit there's any real problem and then pass it off on the next guy who will take the blame.

The president lacks the courage to change course. The whole country is paralyzed by his cowardice.