Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

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...

Does the Center Hold?

A decade ago, if someone had told the president of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), Al From, that Al Gore would be heading up the Democratic ticket in the year 2000, he would have thought the DLC millennium had truly arrived. Today, though, it's not so clear. Gore's support for free trade, welfare reform, and what some consider balanced-budget fetishism makes him seem like a DLC-style New Democrat. But some in the DLC are not so sure; and perhaps with good reason. It's easy to overlook how much the second Clinton-Gore administration, even in its more centrist moments, has already departed from DLC orthodoxies. Consider a few examples: What used to be called "entitlement reform" has always been a central goal of the DLC. The Council favors retrenchment, means testing, and, more recently, partial privatization when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. The administration has sought to buttress these programs with new general-revenue funds while...

The Firewall Next Time

Harry Dent assures me that George W. Bush is going to win big in South Carolina on February 19. "He's Mr. Handsome," the South Carolinian recently told me, "got a gorgeous wife, good family. And he believes in Jesus Christ. That's pretty strong down here." Dent should know. A longtime adviser to the state's nonagenarian Senator Strom Thurmond and a storied figure in the history of the post-civil rights era South and the Republican Party, Dent is widely credited as the principal architect of Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy. If Republicans can't figure out that George W. Bush is their man, Dent said, "they might as well go back into the hills again." Maybe so. But Bush isn't taking any chances. In addition to lining up most of the state's Republican establishment behind his campaign, Bush has also retained the services of Ralph Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition. In the past three presidential cycles, the South...

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