Marshall watch: He finally becomes Maureen Dowd!


Chewing through the bottom of the barrel: Over the past several years, the dumbing down of the liberal web has been quite a thing to behold.

In some cases, this process of self-dumbing marks the way some liberals decided to go for the gold. In some cases, it’s a marker of an obvious fact—our heroes believe we are dumb.

For ourselves, we’ve always thought Josh Marshall’s process of self-dumbing has been one of the web’s most remarkable stories. Below, we’ll link you to one of his posts from last work. But good God! Just look at the crap he has posted today.

This is a total embarrassment:

Herman Cain is now saying that his plan to electrocute Mexicans trying to come in illegally over the US-Mexico border was a joke. And now it turns out that back in August—when he was still in Newt/Santorum/Gary Johnson territory—he suggested building a moat filled with alligators. And presumably that was a joke. But how do you know other than by the increasingly hard to spot criterion of objective ridiculousness?

Last night I had actually jokingly suggested that Romney might try to one-up Cain by proposing a moat filled with crocodiles, only to discover that Cain was ahead of me.

But I think electric fence, moat, deadly piranhas, whatever only underscores the central point: Republican primary politics has descended into something like right-wing performance art. So it's basically impossible to know what's serious and what's a joke since it's all both. And neither.
Now it turns out that Cain suggested a moat with alligators? This is news to no one who has been paying the slightest bit of attention. Several debates ago, on August 11, Cain got a huge laugh from the crowd when he said, in response to a question, that this suggestion had been a joke—saying that the country needed to get a sense of humor.

This Q-and-A got a lot of attention. The NewsHour played tape of the comment the next night, August 12.

“Presumably that was a joke,” Josh says, referring to Cain’s original proposal. “But how do you know other than by the increasingly hard to spot criterion of objective ridiculousness?” Here’s one way a serious person would know: He would look at the tape that was posted this morning, on Josh’s own site, as part of this article—the article to which Josh himself links in his post! At that link, you can see the videotape of Cain making his original comment about the moat.

In fact, that original suggestion was made back in June, in Iowa. And duh! It’s obvious that Cain was telling a joke, playing off a sarcastic remark by Obama. In part, it’s obvious because he gets a huge laugh from the crowd, as he grins, as you can see on that tape.

You can see that on the very tape to which Josh linked today, presumably without watching it.

By now, Josh has become so Versailles-ized that he rarely knows what he’s talking about—and he doesn’t even seem to realize that it has started to show. The real topper today is his second paragraph, where we’re supposed to marvel at the idea that he imagined Romney proposing a moat, before he knew that Cain had already done so.

What a complete embarrassment. "Republican primary politics has descended into something like right-wing performance art?" Possibly, but so has the liberal web, thanks to CEOs like Marshall.

To see what Josh was doing last week, go ahead—just click here. No, really—click that link, then marvel! Even sadder, some readers replied to his sillybill question. He posted at least two responses. If we may quote:

Hey, rubes!

We thought Marshall had hit rock bottom last week. Displaying incomparable self-restraint, we let the incident go. Today, he descends even further. Isn’t it time for an intervention—for someone to tell him to stop?

We're so old, we can remember when Josh Marshall did smart, detailed, intelligent work about serious topics that actually matter. Then, he became a businessman.

As of last week, he had achieved his real ambition—he had finally become Maureen Dowd. Today’s post is just that much worse.

In the case of Dowd, it hasn’t worked. But will somebody tell him to stop?


  1. He hasn't yet become Dowd, because she keeps sinking still lower -- it's a pace hard to keep up with. I almost never can bear to read her, but today I glanced at whatever her column was about (Hemingway in Latin America? something like that) and wasn't even disgusted. Just sort of, wow OWS and such have made her feel truly and completely irrelevant. She's flailing.

  2. Jeebus Bob. Did Josh Marshall run over your dog or something? That's some personal anger you've got going towards him. Was it that bad, really?