Joshua Marshall

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

Recent Articles

Say It Is So, Joe!

W hen Al Gore tapped Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman to be his Democratic running mate last August, there was plenty of concern among party liberals: Why was Gore (who many thought was already too much of a New Democrat) teaming with the chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)? And was Lieberman, best known for remaining above the partisan fray--and for being the first Democrat to condemn Bill Clinton's sexual shenanigans publicly--really a good fit for a deeply partisan campaign? At first it looked like maybe not. Even as Gore was steering the campaign in a decisively populist direction with his convention speech, Lieberman was spending much of convention week having to assure skeptical delegates of his Democratic bona fides on key issues like affirmative action and privatization of Social Security. But something happened over the next four months. Lieberman grabbed hold of the Gore message more fulsomely and effectively than almost...

Let's (Not) Make a Deal

"I love a 50-50 tie," Senator John Breaux of Louisiana told me recently. "This is the kind of thing you dream about being involved in. It's a mandate for getting things done." And, boy, does he want to get things done. Breaux has a reputation in the Senate as a consummate deal maker, a people person, a backslapper. He's a Democrat who more often than not agrees with Republicans on signature issues like Social Security and Medicare, so his penchant for compromising and deal making has many Democrats worried. According to the prevailing wisdom, Breaux looks perfectly poised to serve as George W. Bush's go-to man in the Senate. But there's something funny about Breaux's deals: They never quite seem to get made. And with President Bush and Senate Democrats on a collision course, Breaux's quest for deals may get harder still. Some politicians come to compromise out of necessity; others just have it in their blood. Breaux is in the second group. No one doubts that Democratic...

Payback Time

I f you would strike at the king, said Machiavelli, kill him. The underlying logic here applies to democracies as well as monarchies. If you put your all into bringing down a presidential candidate and come up short, expect him to come at you--hard. And that pretty much describes organized labor's current predicament with George W. Bush. Though the percentage of unionized workers in the American labor force remains at a post-Depression low, the political profile of organized labor has risen dramatically over the past decade--particularly since the election of John Sweeney as AFL-CIO president in 1995. After a disappointing attempt to pick off freshman Republican House members with vast advertising in 1996, labor shifted to a mixture of on-the-ground organizing, paid media, and aggressive voter-education efforts among union households. Labor pulled out several swing states for Al Gore in the 2000 election. This approach played to labor's inherent strengths in a way that the 1996 "air...

Inside Job

I f you've caught much of the TV commentary about the "war against terrorism," you've probably seen a lot of Richard Perle, the portly, Ronald Reagan-era assistant secretary of defense who kept the defense-hawk home fires burning throughout the Bill Clinton years from a perch at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. On such shows as MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, Perle advocates taking our fight against Osama bin Laden to the next level and using American military power to overthrow Saddam Hussein. And if the president's recent comments are any indication, his media blitz is having an effect. Politics is a rough business, so it's no surprise that Perle--a veteran of vicious turf battles during the Reagan administration--is hitting the airwaves to push his point of view. But that's not the whole story. Though Perle draws no government salary, he holds a Pentagon appointment and he has an office in the Pentagon's E-Ring, a...

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...

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