Taylor Marsh (born 1954), the pseudonym for Michelle Marshall, is an author, political analyst, writer and strategist, as well as founder and publisher of the new media blog TaylorMarsh.com. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband. Marsh is best known for being a "die hard Clintonite," as the Washington Post described her in a 2008 profile, "For Clinton, A Following Of 'Marshans'." However, Marsh started out skeptical of Hillary Clinton, as the National Journal's Hotline OnCall revealed early in 2007. "TaylorMarsh.com" became a central hub for Hillary supporters during the 2008 primary election cycle. It's part of the reason why The New Republic profile of her in 2008, "The Hugh Hefner of Politics," chronicled Marsh's professional career. She's a contributor to The Huffington Post, as well as other new media sites, reporting from the 2008 Democratic Convention for Pajamas Media, covering SEIU events, and the AFSCME Democratic debate during 2007, and has written for many other new media sites.
Taylor Marsh was born in Columbia, Missouri, but spent most of her life growing up in St. Louis, raised by her mother after her father died. She came of age during the modern feminist movement, which imprinted politics in her persona. Gloria Steinem, the woman who impressed Marsh as the spokeswoman for the women's liberation movement, represented a new breed of smart, beautiful women who wanted more than what was possible for their mothers and were determined to make it happen.
Taylor competed in the beauty pageant scene to pay for college, starting with Miss Teenage St. Louis and earning the title of "Miss Friendship" in the Miss Teenage America Pageant. Years later, she was crowned Miss Missouri, of 1974 going to the Miss America 1975 pageant. NOW picketed the year she was in the pageant, confronting Marsh one day in front of reporters as she came out of her hotel. One angry National Organization for Women supporter got in her face and asked: "How can you demean yourself like this?" Marsh simply replied: "You want to pay for my college tuition?"
Marsh went to Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, a liberal arts school, on scholarship, where she performed in the modern dance troupe and as lead dancer in productions, as well as the drama department's "Sweet Charity", in the lead role of "Charity." Marsh graduated with a B.F.A. in three and one-half years.
Taylor Marsh's interest in politics began when she was a kid, through her older brother Larry R. Marshall, who was an assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri when John Ashcroft was Attorney General of Missouri. (Years later, Marshall would interact with Senator Orrin Hatch's office, providing a statement for Ashcroft's confirmation hearing and also appearing on CNN to debate the desegregation issue.) Marsh's sister, Susie, was married to the late Joseph Stephen Simon, Vice President ExxonMobil. Mr. Simon testified before the United States Congress during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on gas prices.
Jerry Herman cast Taylor Marsh in her very first audition that landed her in "The Grand Tour," starring Joel Grey and Ron Holgate, with the show receiving several Tony Award nominations. Marsh also did other shows, including bit parts and acting as understudy, living in New York City for several years. Marsh was cast in numerous national and regional commercials, beginning from the time she was a teen, and extending into her time in New York, then in Los Angeles, where she lived for almost two decades.
Taylor worked at the alternative newsweekly LA Weekly in the personal ad department, starting in the early 1990s, as online dating was hitting. "Relationship consultant" became her official title. Marsh was responsible for starting the first "alternative" personal ad section at the LA Weekly. When the web exploded in 1996, Taylor started writing short pieces online about dating and the personals, marriage and relationships. Taylor Marsh's trademark column inside the LA Weekly was "What Do You Want?" It was a mixture of dating and personal ad advice, with political opinion included periodically.
In 1997, Taylor Marsh became managing editor to one of the first sites online to make money, a site covered on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The big drawback for Marsh was that it was a soft-core adult site. But Marsh also knew that the sex industry would exploit technology, as they did with the VCR. Marsh wrote about politics daily on "The Editor's Desk," covering the fight between Ken Starr and Susan McDougal regularly, as the Monica Lewinsky imbroglio unfolded. Marsh lasted barely a year, because one day a model turned in pictures that showed her on an elementary school playground. Marsh refused to publish them and when the boss bucked her, Marsh resigned and walked out. She wrote about her brief excursion in her self-published chronicle, My Year in Smut... David D. Waskul, asst. professor of sociology at Minnesota State University and author of empirical articles covering Internet cybersex, featured excerpts of Marsh's story in his book, "nets.sexxx - Readings on Sex, Pornography and the Internet". He called Marsh's book "a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a major Internet pornography corporation."
Taylor was quoted in the Los Angeles Times in a 2000 article titled "L.A.'s Long Strange Tryst with Democrats," just after the time she began freelance writing, consulting and strategizing, which lasted throughout the 2000s (decade). The Times quoting Marsh about former Pres. Bill Clinton: "I think Clinton understands the messiness of being human. Clinton knows how bright he is, but deep in his soul he has some sexual healing that he needs to go through, that he has some sexual urges that take him in an opposite direction [from] his intellect. Whole people are messy and incongruous and terribly, terribly flawed."
In 2005, Marsh wrote, produced and directed “Weeping for J.F.K.” at Two Roads Theater, a one-woman show staged in Los Angeles that traced the intersection of politics, John F. Kennedy and her life, from the 1960s to the early 2000s.
Taylor Marsh took her long established eponymous site, where she'd been writing on politics, to the platform of blogging during the John Kerry primary campaign of 2004. But it was the 2008 Democratic primary season that catapulted her into the political forefront. Marsh backed Hillary Clinton in July 2007, after reporting on the candidates. What drew her to support Clinton in the race was the media bias and sexism] coming from traditional and new media, even progressives, which is detailed in her upcoming e-book.
In 2009, Marsh moved to the Washington, D.C. area. She spent the year attending foreign policy lectures at think tanks like the CATO Institute, as well as at the New America Foundation, attending events conducted by Steve Clemons that included reporting on foreign policy events with British Foreign Minister David Miliband; covering U.S.-Saudi relations; and events with Daniel Levy, to name just a few.
Marsh has been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Al Jazzera, among others, including radio from coast to coast. Marsh has been featured in the The Hill's "The Washington Scene", covered in the National Journal's Hotline's OnCall; and quoted on NewYorkTimes.com and many other new media and traditional news venues.