First things first. I like Josh Marshall. This is nothing against him. But his latest--"Broken Windows, Broken States"--which is intended, I suppose, as some sort of blockbuster revelation, is instead simply dismaying.
I quote, with my emphasis appropriately added:
[N]o honest observer can deny that the rise of crisis governance and various forms of legislative hostage taking comes entirely from the GOP. I hesitate to state it so baldly because inevitably it cuts off the discussion with at least a sizable minority of the political nation. But there's no way to grapple with the issue without being clear on this single underlying reality.
The "underlying reality" is unmistakable to those who follow politics closely, yet he hesitates to state it "so baldly." In God's name Why?
Well I hesitate to attribute a deeper motive, but I suppose his hesitation also comes from a fear of being labeled by his journalistic colleagues as "polemical." Egads, the shroud of shrillness!--even when the polemical is no longer intrinsically polemical at all. It's just the plain truth. But put it plainly and you might be marked by the toady scribes of conventionalism as shrill.
Marshall's piece unhinged me a bit. I admit it, so some of what I'm writing now may in fact be shrill. Yet being journalistically subtle and tame and country-club sophisticated has failed to evoke the public's proper consciousness about much larger and far more important matters--which, in so many words, Marshall admits:
[Republican radicalism] has become so pervasive that I believe it's lost on many of us just how far down the road of state breakdown and decay we've already gone.
Journalists--all journalists--had an ethical obligation to baldly point that out long ago. It was, after all, impossible for them to miss.