Joshua Marshall

Joshua Micah Marshall is the editor of Talking Points Memo and a senior correspondent for the Prospect.

Recent Articles

Party Crashers

A s with most political battles, the set-to over Social Security reform has produced competing dramatic narratives. For the Democratic faithful, there's Al Gore fighting the good fight against the right's effort to privatize Social Security, the crown jewel of the New Deal. For Republicans there's George W. Bush, courageously tackling the Social Security crisis while Gore panders. But another story line has captured the imagination of the national political press. It goes something like this: Bush proposes his Social Security initiative; Gore attacks it as a risky scheme. But then two respected elder statesmen from Gore's own party come forward to announce that Bush's approach is the only honest way to confront Social Security's impending collapse. Gore is thus exposed as either a hopeless policy Luddite or a demagogue, and perhaps both. The "statesmen" at work here, of course, are senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bob Kerrey, both retiring at the end of this year. The two have...

Say It Is So, Joe!

W hen Al Gore tapped Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman to be his Democratic running mate last August, there was plenty of concern among party liberals: Why was Gore (who many thought was already too much of a New Democrat) teaming with the chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)? And was Lieberman, best known for remaining above the partisan fray--and for being the first Democrat to condemn Bill Clinton's sexual shenanigans publicly--really a good fit for a deeply partisan campaign? At first it looked like maybe not. Even as Gore was steering the campaign in a decisively populist direction with his convention speech, Lieberman was spending much of convention week having to assure skeptical delegates of his Democratic bona fides on key issues like affirmative action and privatization of Social Security. But something happened over the next four months. Lieberman grabbed hold of the Gore message more fulsomely and effectively than almost...

Let's (Not) Make a Deal

"I love a 50-50 tie," Senator John Breaux of Louisiana told me recently. "This is the kind of thing you dream about being involved in. It's a mandate for getting things done." And, boy, does he want to get things done. Breaux has a reputation in the Senate as a consummate deal maker, a people person, a backslapper. He's a Democrat who more often than not agrees with Republicans on signature issues like Social Security and Medicare, so his penchant for compromising and deal making has many Democrats worried. According to the prevailing wisdom, Breaux looks perfectly poised to serve as George W. Bush's go-to man in the Senate. But there's something funny about Breaux's deals: They never quite seem to get made. And with President Bush and Senate Democrats on a collision course, Breaux's quest for deals may get harder still. Some politicians come to compromise out of necessity; others just have it in their blood. Breaux is in the second group. No one doubts that Democratic...

Payback Time

I f you would strike at the king, said Machiavelli, kill him. The underlying logic here applies to democracies as well as monarchies. If you put your all into bringing down a presidential candidate and come up short, expect him to come at you--hard. And that pretty much describes organized labor's current predicament with George W. Bush. Though the percentage of unionized workers in the American labor force remains at a post-Depression low, the political profile of organized labor has risen dramatically over the past decade--particularly since the election of John Sweeney as AFL-CIO president in 1995. After a disappointing attempt to pick off freshman Republican House members with vast advertising in 1996, labor shifted to a mixture of on-the-ground organizing, paid media, and aggressive voter-education efforts among union households. Labor pulled out several swing states for Al Gore in the 2000 election. This approach played to labor's inherent strengths in a way that the 1996 "air...

Inside Job

I f you've caught much of the TV commentary about the "war against terrorism," you've probably seen a lot of Richard Perle, the portly, Ronald Reagan-era assistant secretary of defense who kept the defense-hawk home fires burning throughout the Bill Clinton years from a perch at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. On such shows as MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, Perle advocates taking our fight against Osama bin Laden to the next level and using American military power to overthrow Saddam Hussein. And if the president's recent comments are any indication, his media blitz is having an effect. Politics is a rough business, so it's no surprise that Perle--a veteran of vicious turf battles during the Reagan administration--is hitting the airwaves to push his point of view. But that's not the whole story. Though Perle draws no government salary, he holds a Pentagon appointment and he has an office in the Pentagon's E-Ring, a...

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