Sunday, November 26, 2006



The heat must be getting to him. Josh Marshall, whose TPM and TPM Central have been the spiritual homes online of the nail-Hastings movement (just as Marshall, back when TPM was just him and TPM Central didn't exist, spearheaded the get-Condit movement that only ended when some planes slammed into a couple of buildings on the East Coast and suddenly hounding Gary Condit didn't seem quite so important any more), wrote a post yesterday to insist that he's not really a Jane Harman booster: "But it's not about Jane Harman. It's about Alcee Hastings." Well, then if he's not really invested in boosting Harman, I suggest he start really getting behind Rush Holt or Sylvestre Reyes -- because unlike Alcee Hastings, Jane Harman is herself involved in a live, ongoing criminal investigation. Here's a TPM post that Marshall himself made made a little over a month ago:

(October 20, 2006 -- 06:06 PM EDT) Damn. Here's a story that must have about a billion volts of charge in it. Time says the FBI is now investigating Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) as part of their expanded AIPAC investigation. They are, says Time, "examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee." -- Josh Marshall
Why would AIPAC be so eager to make sure Harman gets the top job and to have oversight -- eager enough to get her in trouble with one of the agencies she'd be overseeing? I honestly don't know. The only reason I can think of is that they might be hoping that as head of the House intelligence committee, Harman might get the FBI to call off their dogs for good on the ongoing AIPAC espionage probe, which has already sent Larry Franklin to prison. One can argue that the long-settled charges against Hastings -- in which John Conyers himself is on record criticizing Hastings' actions -- are more serious than the legal and ethical hot water kettle in which Harman currently sits. But one cannot seriously argue that Harman's ethical problems don't exist, and that the only reasons Pelosi has to oppose her are purely personal. UPDATE: I should also mention that Pelosi, like Harman, is a strong backer of Israel, so it's not as if AIPAC -- if it were truly about backing Israel as opposed to backing Likud and the neocons in the US -- should have any reason to go to war against Pelosi. Pelosi, however, has another reason not to pick Harman: Namely, Harman's backing Bush on the destruction of our civil liberties, including wiretaps. That's probably why Marty Peretz of TNR and his fellow neocon travelers are going to be digging into Pelosi hammer and tongs forever should Harman not get the intel committee chair.

Josh says,
"I'm melting, melting."

You were out in front on this one Phoenix Woman.
Heck, I only covered the FBI angle. Glenn Greenwald did a masterful job of showing how she's Lieberman in a skirt as far backing Bush (and bashing Dems who criticize Bush) is concerned.

And Charles has pointed out that Harman might not survive a primary challenge from Marcy Winograd, so it makes even less sense to give such an important post to someone who won't be in it for very long.
Harman had a bit of a primary challenge from Winograd this past cycle. The California 36th is quite liberal including, as it does, L.A.'s Venice Beach. However, it's almost impossible to beat those self-financed House incumbents in a primary.

Wikipedia says:

Harman is married to Harman International Industries chairman and harman/kardon co-founder Sidney Harman, whose fortune helped finance her entry into electoral politics. She has four children (two by a previous marriage) and resides in Venice, California.

I wish neither Josh Marshall nor Arianna Huffington were quite so prominent in the lefty blogosphere.

Check out the last paragraph here.
CMike, the one unequivocally good thing Josh Marshall has done in the past six years is push the anti-privatization drive. He's been wrong on everything else when it counted, largely because he just couldn't comprehend the heretical idea that those of us in the Democratic base -- aka the "dirty effing hippies", the very people Marshall and his neoliberal/corporate buddies have spent the past two decades trying to destroy -- were and are right, and that he and his Nice Neat Powerful Friends like Kenneth Pollack et al were wrong.
Yikes, CMike. JMM is a Marshall Wittman fan???? That's scary.

I think Josh has done a good job on digging out corruption. I'll even spot him William Jefferson, because the optics of having large amounts of money in your freezer may trump the actual legality of whatever was going on.

One of the most interesting things on the Hastings matter is John Conyers's silence. The CBC supported Hastings, which would not have happened if Conyers had opposed it. On the other hand, the support was muted. No one came out and said, "Hastings was exonerated and deserves to be treated as such."

The one thing that's certain is that DC is a weird place.
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