Inception or Stalking? TPM’s Josh Marshall is Sweating Me

Inception or Stalking? TPM’s Josh Marshall is Sweating Me


They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – of course the “They” are probably movie pirating, music stealing bootleggers … you get the point. For the second time in a few months, one of my entertaining memes to describe the Republican contest of 2012 has been picked up by another crafty reporter and commentator.

The first was a couple of months ago when I and everyone else was writing about Herman Cain.

Since his fall surge in the polls began to show just how unprepared he was to run I had described Herman Cain’s entire campaign as a political version of the Producers. In that classic Mel Brooks film a couple of con-men had a plan: Produce a Broadway play that was so bad, so offensive and so over the top that it would fail and they could run off with all their investor’s money. Their plans went awry when the play actually became a huge hit, and they had no idea what to do next – sounds a lot like the Cain Train doesn’t it?

A couple of weeks later Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo (otherwise known in wonk and junkie circles as “TPM”) had the same idea.

And now I’ve been bootlegged again, from my brother from another mother Josh Marshall … yeah, the same guy at Talking Points Memo.

On January 6th, I wrote a column entitled How Newt Gingrich Goes all Liam Neeson on Romney, wherein I likened our former speaker to every angry old guy out for revenge in an action movie over the last decade.  Right after the Iowa Caucuses, Gingrich was furious, and went after Romney with a vengeance. He had dropped from 1st to 4th in just a few weeks after a barrage of attacks from Mitt Romney’s group of Super PAC henchmen. At the time I wrote:

It is the rage of an old man who feels betrayed by Mitt Romney and some of the Republican Party establishment. Newt Gingrich is Denzel in Man on Fire angry, Mel Gibson in Ransom angry – he’s straight up Liam Neeson in TAKEN angry.

And what was the lead story on Talking Points Memo yesterday? NEWT ON FIRE! In it, Josh Marshall describes how Gingrich has managed to snag some momentum after Iowa and New Hampshire due to his aggressive debate performances against Romney and now he’s within striking distance in South Carolina.

I’m telling you, either Marshall is performing Inception on me, or my story memes are being cyber-stalked.

Of course, I’m willing to give Josh a break. I’m sure these titles and ideas are just a coincidence and he and a team of crack thieves led by Leonardo DiCaprio are not having zero gravity battles in my brain over my latest political idea or column. However, if I ever read that he’s referring to an Obama vs. Romney campaign as Frasier vs. Niles, or comparing Barack and Michelle to Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil I might need to start spinning a top before I write my next column.

DR. JASON JOHNSON, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson