Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

Zellout

W hen the Senate voted 51 to 50 to provisionally accept the outline of George W. Bush's budget, the sole Democrat who crossed the aisle was Zell Miller of Georgia. (He was offset by Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, with Vice President Dick Cheney breaking the tie.) Of all the wavering Democrats in the Senate today, Miller is the most difficult to figure out. Official Washington expected John Breaux to be the president's favorite Democrat, yet the Louisiana senator has resisted Bush's tax-cutting entreaties. Democrats may get heartburn when they see a Max Baucus, a Max Cleland, or a Mary Landrieu hedging bets on some White House initiative; but these are senators with lukewarm popularity who face heavily pro-Bush electorates in 18 months, so their reasoning is hardly obscure. Yet none of this describes or explains the recent behavior of Zell Miller, the former Georgia governor who left office in 1999 as the most popular governor in the country. Miller was appointed to the...

Elephantiasis

Republicans spent a generation bludgeoning Democrats with those dreaded "wedge issues." Maybe it's time to give the GOP some of its own medicine.

T hough it now seems likely that the Republicans will retain—and perhaps expand—their narrow majority in the House of Representatives, the House GOP caucus remains riddled with vexatious regional and ideological divisions. The din of presidential scandal may have kept Democrats from exploiting those divisions in this election season, but the fissures are real and are sure to grow. To hear Republicans tell it, such divisiveness is just the price of being the majority party. But there's a problem with this "big tent" view of the GOP. Every governing coalition is built from multiple and even conflicting constituencies; but their effectiveness depends on how they are able to hold together and act in concert. And on that count the current Republican Party comes up very short. The last several years have shown that the modern conservative coalition is not only unstable, but inherently so. Thus the party's problems are neither the abrasive personalities of its leaders nor the over-exuberance...

With Friends Like These...

G eorge W. Bush and his advisers, stumbling toward the presidency in the aftermath of a bloody election, believe that early compromise and conciliation (or at least the appearance thereof) are crucial if the administration is to attain any kind of political legitimacy or success. But extremists in Bush's own party have other ideas: Despite the infinitesimally small margin and dubious means by which Bush won the electoral vote--and despite his having lost the popular vote--Republican factions in both the House and the Senate want to use their own razor-thin majorities to govern as though they won the election with a decisive mandate. And precisely because Bush has been so weakened by events, it's the extremists in the party who are calling the shots. That's bad news for a Bush presidency. Nowhere has this fissure in the Republican ranks been clearer than in the now evenly divided Senate. Ever since Maria Cantwell finally defeated Slade Gorton in Washington...

Log Rolling?

Is George W. Bush gearing up to play the gay card against John McCain in South Carolina? Political pundits were genuinely perplexed on November 21 when Governor Bush told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he would "probably not" meet with the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay Republican group that John McCain had met with only a couple weeks earlier. Bush explained his reasoning like this: Well, because it creates a huge political scene, I mean, that this is all--I am someone who is a uniter, not a divider. I don't believe in group thought, pitting one group of people against another. And all that does is create kind of a huge political, you know, nightmare for people. I mean, it's as if an individual doesn't count, but the group that the individual belongs in is more important. Huh? Anyway, given all his campaign's talk about compassion and inclusion, it's hard to figure out why Bush would be so skittish about...

Coelho and Company

The late H.R. Haldeman, Richard Nixon's chief of staff, once said, "Every president needs his son of a bitch. And I'm Nixon's." In May, Al Gore decided that he needed one too. Gore's decision to hire former California congressman Tony Coelho as his campaign's general chairman was met at the time with a mix of relief, bewilderment, and disgust. Few doubted Coelho's organizational talents, but those talents came with undeniable baggage. Coelho made his name in the 1980s by pressing up against the outer frontiers of legality and propriety in his efforts to raise money for the Democratic Party, first as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and then later as majority whip. And though Coelho was forced to resign from the House in 1989 in the face of a looming campaign finance-related ethics investigation, the influence of the work he did back in the 1980s has ramified powerfully into the present. Coelho's former finance director back at the DCCC, Terry McAuliffe,...

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