Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

Coelho and Company

What kind of company is Al Gore keeping?

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,...

Gore Or Bradley

Bill Bradley bailed out on some of the big political battles of the 1990s. Is that what’s behind the former New Jersey senator’s surprising strength?

Late last February, less than two weeks after Bill Clinton's Senate acquittal, the Pew Center for the People and the Press released some startling poll results. The American public wanted two things in their next chief executive. He or she should continue the Clinton administration's policies more or less, but not be weighed down by Clintonesque personal indiscretions. This was hardly surprising. Prosperous and at peace, the nation had just endured a year of mortifying scandal which, even if it had been exploited by the President's most loathsome enemies, had been caused by his own inexplicable transgressions. The surprise was the poll's other finding: Al Gore was running a good ten points behind his most probable Republican challenger, Texas Governor George W. Bush. And thus the mystery. If the public wants Clintonite policies without Clintonite character flaws, Al Gore doesn't just fit the bill: he is the bill. Mature and experienced, intelligent and educated—by any measure, Gore is...

Where Have You Gone, Nelson Rockefeller?

Impeachment may have hurt conservatives, but it also revealed just how weak GOP moderates are. The plight of northern Republicans isn’t just temporary; it’s structural.

Last December fifteenth, Republican Congressman Jack Quinn stepped before the cameras in his district office in Buffalo, New York to announce that he would be voting to impeach the President of the United States. Quinn was the quintessential GOP moderate—just the type the White House had been counting on. Only a month before, he'd handily won re-election with the overwhelming backing of the local AFL-CIO. And for weeks he had been on record as opposing impeachment. The very day before his announcement, Quinn held a morning meeting with his Labor Roundtable and assured them he continued to support censure, not impeachment. But just hours later, evening editions of the Buffalo News reported that Quinn had changed his mind. "I don't know why he did it," recalls Bob McLennan, head of the Letter Carriers local, who was there that morning. "We thought he'd at least contact us if he decided to change his vote. A lot of us feel we were lied to. People were pretty outraged. They couldn't...


Beginning in Arkansas when Bill Clinton first decided to run for president, a cluster of the future president's die-hard opponents set about trying to derail his quest. They plied eager journalists with tales of Clinton's immoralities and illegalities. Aficionados of the Clinton scandal stories will recognize many of the names. Cliff Jackson: Clinton's contemporary and onetime friend, a fellow Rhodes scholar, and later an embittered foe who played a key role in publicizing damaging stories and helping launch the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit. "Justice" Jim Johnson: a colorful and determined Clinton enemy who founded and led the Arkansas White Citizens' Council. The oddball duo of Larry Case and Larry Nichols: a sort of Clintonhating Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who flitter in and out of the narrative, making mischief and providing comic relief, taping friends and enemies alike, plotting against Clinton one moment and his...

Letter from a Mad Political Junkie

October 26th, 2000 -- The slippery, see-sawing polls have created a volatile and manic environment in Washington. This week we go to the Washington Memo mail bag to get a taste of the whip-sawed emotions around the capital. Our featured letter this week comes from a political junkie who would only identify himself as Mr. X. Dear Washington Memo, I read last week's Washington Memo and watched for the possible Gore surge that you said might be coming after the debate. But on Saturday morning I made my decision. Gore was going to lose and I had to make the best of it. I'd lived and breathed this race for 18 months, kept my cool through the dismal summer, wrongly thought that April was the cruelest month and not October, but now I couldn't face seeing it all come to nothing. Especially after we'd been so close. I was sure Gore kicked butt in the third debate and would start to move in the polls. I gave him a few days. Let...