Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

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...

The Other Republican

H ad November 7 put an end to this year's campaign frenzy as election days normally do, political analysts would now be focusing much more attention on the Republicans' unexpectedly strong showing in the House--and on the man who has as solid a claim as any to credit for that outcome: John McCain. Throughout the fall, the Arizona senator crisscrossed the country in support of some 50 Republican congressional candidates, using campaign appearances to douse candidates with much-needed free media, headlining fundraisers (no soft-money fundraisers, thank you), and cutting commercials for radio and TV. "He was the Republicans' secret weapon," says Republican pollster Frank Luntz. According to campaign-finance-reform activist Fred Wertheimer, "McCain's really a hero in the House. Tom Davis [head of the Republicans' House campaign effort] treated him like he was their leader. Republicans really wanted him in their districts." Even a cursory look at this year's...

How Congress Acts

America's Congress: Actions in the Public Sphere, James Madison through New Gingrich , by David R. Mayhew. Yale University Press, 257 pages, $30.00 Why was the Clinton health care plan rejected by Congress in 1994? Was it because of big-money lobbying from the health insurance industry? Or was the plan doomed from the first because Americans--anti-statists to the bone--simply would not stand for "socialized medicine"? Perhaps there was more to it than those simplistic interpretations suggest. Maybe it was, in fact, a fine example of how Congress works and has always worked: with influential lawmakers, both attentive to and manipulating public opinion, ultimately laying the plan to rest. And maybe, given different leaders in Congress, it could have gone the other way, powerful lobbyists notwithstanding. Political scientists--and in a more inchoate fashion, much of the public--tend to view individual members of Congress as little more than agents of the...

Loving Lieberman

B y custom, vice presidential candidates get the nod because they appeal to some highly sought-after constituency. Perhaps it's a state rich in electoral votes. A prized ethnic group. Or maybe just the right or left wing of the party. Look diligently enough, though, and you'll almost certainly strike upon some group the nominee was trying to propitiate. Seemingly, it appears Al Gore ignored this rule in picking Joe Lieberman. But that's only because Gore was reaching out to a constituency you might not have thought of--that maddeningly small, but terribly important, constituency called the Washington press corps. Gore faces many challenges over the next two months. But his greatest obstacle may be the simple fact that most political reporters don't like him. I don't mean kinda--I mean, they really don't like him. For better or worse, most Beltway reporters view the vice president with a mix of bemusement and contempt. They may not think much of...

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