Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

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...

Clinton-Hating

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...

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