Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks (R-AZ) here lists off a number of 'Valley Forge Americans' who could take the reins as House Speaker. Notably, they include hard core conservatives and Paul Ryan. For good measure he includes Newt Gingrich - remember, you don't actually have to be in the House at all to be Speaker, though the idea has never before been seriously considered.

What's notable here isn't so much the list but this harrowing, 'their finest hour' phrase "Valley Forge Americans", as though the US were Britain after the Fall of France or well ... the US facing the early death of the republic at Valley Forge.

Quite simply they've actually convinced themselves that they're in the midst of some grand world historical moment when in fact they're just floundering in derp.

We keep hearing how the Speakership is a thankless job and all the rest. Two hundred and twenty five years and no one has ever thought that. It's always been a job people have spent years, even decades striving for. It's always been wanted. Until now. It's comedy. Also, Valley Forge Americans ... We all know individuals like this. It's known as Borderline Personality Disorder. It's a clinical diagnosis. Not sure if there's a parallel for political parties.

I was just watching MSNBC run through the Speaker scenarios which they define as 1) Paul Ryan caves 2) Boehner takes retirement mulligan and stays Speaker through January 2017 or 3) Miscellaneous freaks who can't possibly unite the caucus or be ready for prime time run. Then I saw Rep. John Mica (R-FL) being interviewed on CNN who said that Ryan has to become Speaker for the good of the country and that he himself had just told him that in person. So he can't refuse, says Mica.

The whole situation is comical. But the alternatives are just so ridiculous and the desperation of the House Republicans so manifest that I'd bet Ryan caves and becomes Speaker, possibly even with the Freedom Caucus telling him in advance they'll depose him. I just doubt there's any way he can resist the pressure.

Clearly from everything we're hearing, basically every Republican is hoping, begging, pleading with Paul Ryan to run for Speaker. And it seems clear he has the votes and then some. But here's what's not clear to me. The premise of the Ryan boomlet or avalanche is that he has so much heft and power - or popularity which means power and heft - that the Freedom Caucus and associated folks will essentially say, Okay, cool no shutdowns or debt default hostage taking.

And that seems like a very questionable proposition.

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Over the years, as I became more and more of a publisher and small business owner, and devoted more and more time to those roles, I sometimes thought that I'd write a better blog about Internet publishing than politics since so much of my headspace was necessarily involved in everything that goes into publishing. I've had to learn quite a bit about it because the success of TPM has depended heavily on that knowledge and being able to act quickly on it. At the same time, if you're interested in the future of the U.S. economy, technology, and how it all plays out in our economic and civic lives, there's no more important and frankly fascinating topic than the long-term struggle between a three-way nexus of companies fighting over the future of technology, telecommunications, and what we awfully but now inevitably call "content" - songs, articles, images, everything that minds devise and want to share with others, almost always for money.

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