Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

A Liberal Tax Revolt

Liberals ought to start playing offense on taxes. Progressive tax policy can be good politics.

Republicans think they've hit pay dirt with their crusade against the tax code and the Internal Revenue Service. And perhaps they have. But Democrats should pay particular attention to this irony: the political resonance of the flat tax is rooted in public concerns over simplicity and equity. And those should be Democratic issues. Liberals should be in a far better position to capitalize on them than conservatives. How is it that Dick Armey can exploit middle-class antitax resentments to support a proposal that would increase taxes for the lower 95 percent of taxpayers? How, indeed? Many liberal programs and policies are simply a hard sell. We shouldn't expect it to be easy to get the electorate to pay for assistance to the poor, to support affirmative action, or to fund foreign aid. To gain support for these policies, politicians must appeal to our foresight and the better angels of our political nature. But progressive taxation simply does not fall into this category. Progressivity...

Is It All Over?

It was a later night than Al Gore wanted, but in the end, he got the result in New Hampshire that he needed--a slim but measurable victory over former Senator Bill Bradley in the state where Bradley arguably had the best shot of beating the vice president. But by making Gore's margin of victory so narrow, Bradley also achieved a victory of sorts, earning the right to keep the fight going at least until the California and New York primaries on March 7. The real story coming out of New Hampshire, however, was less the margin of victory, or even victory itself, than the biting edge of anger and personal confrontation that was introduced into the race in its final days. As their New Hampshire campaign drew to a close, Bradley and his senior aides collapsed the difference between engaging on the issues and mounting fierce personal attacks--a fact that seemed both to help and to hurt Bradley. Voters sensed that he was finally fighting back, but not enough of them liked the nasty...

Democrats Adrift

S ince the mid-1990s, Democrats have played a deftly executed but ultimately evasive game on fiscal policy. As surpluses began to appear on the horizon, they parried Republican calls for tax cuts with their own proposals for paying down the debt and "saving Social Security." This was effective--even ingenious--politics precisely because it ducked the root question of whether unspent revenues should be directed toward tax cuts or unmet social priorities. With Congress in Republican hands, Democrats were hard-pressed to do otherwise. But ballooning surpluses have rapidly undermined the efficacy of this approach. If you're not willing to spend projected revenues on substantial new programs or direct surplus revenues explicitly to buttress Social Security (as opposed to just "saving" it by hoarding surpluses), then there really isn't much else you can do but cut taxes. And that's right where Democrats are today. Without control of Congress or the White House, it simply may not be possible...

Cheney-Lieberman Chronicles

October 6, 2000 -- Cheney-Lieberman Thursday night's set-to between vice presidential candidates Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney turned out to be the set-to that wasn't. By tradition, the veep debates are the ones where the fur really flies. But this one was remarkably civil. Yes, Dick Cheney has a habit of talking into his hands. He seldom talked to the camera, as Lieberman consistently did. But his command and expertise were a welcome reminder that Republican candidates for high office don't have to be bumbling dolts. Joe Lieberman did fine. But people expected him to. Dick Cheney showed he can be affable and intelligent. The end result: Cheney won, but the loser wasn't Joe Lieberman. It was George W. Bush. Viewers had to come out of the debate thinking well of Dick Cheney as a man, regardless of what you think about his politics. But that's not what Republicans needed. They needed Cheney to take the fight to Al Gore, something he conspicuously...

The Money Chase

V isit the Web site of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and you'll be greeted by an animated banner ad blaring: "Contribute! In the '98 elections, Democrats were outspent 3 to 1." Fair enough. As a whole, Republicans routinely outraise and outspend Democrats, and that's been especially so since Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994. As long as they held the speaker's gavel, Democrats could use the power of their majority to offset the fundraising "liability" of their inherently less business-friendly policies. But when they lost that power, business money especially swung decisively toward the GOP, with roughly two-thirds going to Republicans in the last two election cycles. But not this year. The House is up for grabs, and if Democrats don't make it, it won't be for lack of funds. When the final Federal Election Commission filings for 1999 were released in early February, they showed that while the...

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