Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

In the dozen hours since the end of last night's Republican debate, I've seen a lot of people with very different takes on who did well and how the debate shook out. Nate Cohn has a very sophisticated take at the Times which looks at the very different audiences for debates - particularly the difference between the crowd and the immediate response from viewers and the more complex battle for buy-in from party elites. All good points. He thinks Rubio, Walker, and Kasich were strong and Trump and Bush did poorly. A lot of my shrewder friends think Rubio did well, too.

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Todd Courser (R) is a high-flying, freshman tea party patriot in the Michigan state legislature. On the way to reforming government, he started sleeping with fellow tea partier newcomer Cindy Gamrat (R). And in an innovation that puts all Silicon Valley 'disruption' to shame, he decided to concoct a fake gay sex scandal about himself, on the reasoning that when the gay sex scandal fell apart and got discredited that his adulterous freedom affair with Gamrat would seem "mild by comparison."

Foxbots to Trump: Are you not a fraud, a cretin and a scoundrel.

Trump: I'm very rich. Fuck yourself. I have no time for your nonsense.

Crowd: Cheers wildly.

On balance, I think this debate went about as we'd expected. Donald Trump dominated the debate. Even when he wasn't talking. Fox took it upon itself to go after him hard. But mainly they didn't land a punch. With one key exception (when and how he became a Republican), Trump managed to parry pretty much all the questions sent his way, despite most answers totally lacking any substance, lacking any logical coherence, or in most cases not even addressing the questions. Perhaps I'll be wrong. But I don't think his refusal to pledge not to run as an independent will hurt him. He didn't equivocate. He just said it. More than anything, he knows his audience.

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10:09 PM: Always interesting to see Huck somewhat pivoting against his opponents. Also, was he saying he's going to get the pimps and prostitutes to pay taxes?

10:11 PM: I'm really not sure Chris Wallace wins this. We're supposed to feel bad that people who invested in one of Trump's companies lost their money when the business failed?

10:13 PM: I'd like to thank Time Warner Cable and their amazingly bad cable TV service for making it hard for the staff here to watch the debate for the last few minutes. I would like Donald Trump to buy TWC so he can drive it into bankruptcy so maybe we can get service from a different company.

10:28 PM: Okay, I think the last part of Trump's answer about when he became a Republican was his first sour note. The abortion answer was reasonably okay as ridiculous answers go. But the 'when I became a Republican' answer was almost incomprehensible. I became a Republican because the last few months of W's administration was terrible so I became a Republican? What?

10:30 PM: Again, Kasich just too normal a person to be on this stage.

10:40 PM: Frightening the amount of ignorance and nonsense coming from Ben Carson. Smallest Navy since 1917? As President Obama once said, there are these things called Aircraft Carrier Groups.

10:43 PM: Listening to these jokers talk about military and security policy is sobering as I get more pessimistic about the Democrats' chances in 2016.

10:54 PM: Consensus Republican answer: God speaks to me all the time. But in fairly conventional ways.

9:25 PM: Trump knows how to do this. Always go on offense. Ignore the question. Assertion. Aggression. And Jeb looks terribly weak.

9:27 PM: Every time Trump speaks, you can see the GOP paying a price for years of politics as a fact-free zone.

9:30 PM: I'm not sure Chris Wallace can really beat Donald Trump on this. Is he really going to have the rest of the questions be asking other candidates to say Trump didn't answer his question?

9:39 PM: It may take a bully like Chris Christie to cut a fraud like Rand Paul down to size.

9:41 PM: Cruz is an aggressive, tendentious bullshit artist. But Trump just does it better.

9:43 PM: "A caliphate the size of Indiana."

9:45 PM: Carson unwilling to answer the question because if he does the terrorists will win. Got it.

9:47 PM: So Trump thinks single payer works pretty well in Canada and Scotland and would have worked in a different era (here?), i.e., 2000? But he wants to get rid of state based insurance regulation and also institute something like Obamacare. But Obamacare is a disaster. And yet, answer seems to have gone over pretty well.

9:52 PM: I think what Ben Carson's talking about is just a single tax rate.

So here we go.

9:04 PM: Okay, so Trump owns the debate. Won't pledge to support the nominee. Tells host yes he understands. And still gets a big round of applause. Curious how it plays. But I thought he did well not equivocating, just no, won't make that pledge. No.

9:07 PM: Is it just me or did Carson seem nervous?

9:09 PM: "Maybe the bar is even higher for me" - line that will haunt Jeb.

9:11 PM: So much of this from Trump is just insanely offensive. But he knows his audience ... With his answer to the "PC" question, totally owning the debate. Again, knows the audience.

9:13 PM: Watching Cruz's answers brings home just how bad Trump's entry has been for him.

9:21 PM: As a reasonable person, Kasich seems out of place on the stage.

Campaign forced to insist candidate said "Ronald Reagan" not "Ronald Raven".

He'll go far this year.