So many blogs and so little time! So many blogs, yet most of them are just spinning variants of the top news stories that show up on Yahoo News. This means if you read many blogs then you are also dealing with a lot of noise, because you have likely read much of the content elsewhere. (I strive to make my blog different. It is my hope you get generally unique insight from my blog. I cannot say that of most of the blogs I read.) While blog sites offer a comfortable feeling of community for like-minded people, not that many of them can put it altogether. This is especially true in the complex world of American politics.
Many bloggers claim to be able to see the forest through the trees, but few have the combination of education, experience, content and depth of knowledge to see the forest clearly. Billmon used to share this amazing talent with the world. Alas, Billmon’s blog is no more. Steve Gilliard’s blog is no more either. (In Steve’s case, he actually died. Billmon just retired.) Therefore, for some time I have been hunting for a political blog site that could do both Billmon and Steve Gilliard justice.
Some have come close. Digby, for example, is full of useful political analysis of current events. In my mind is the best political blog written by a woman. Others are noteworthy. The Veracifier video blog hosted by Talking Points Memo has Joshua Micah Marshall dissecting current events by inserting actual recorded political events. Huffington Post is something like the National Inquirer of political blogs. It is sassy and spicy and throws in the latest celebrity news for our consumption. Juan Cole’s Informed Comment remains excellent because he is an academic specializing in Middle East studies. However, when he strays outside his area of expertise he is not as sharp. Atrios has a huge following but little in the way of detailed political analysis that I need. Still, Atrios may be the Strunk and White of bloggers. Each word is pungent enough to carry ten other words with it. He is a master of being expressive while being terse.
There are a number of journalists associated with The Washington Post worth reading. For general snarkiness and for meticulously documenting the context of Washington’s political events, Dana Milbank’s Washington Sketch is a must-read. He is not really a blogger though. He is a paid columnist. Dan Froomkin of the Washingtonpost.com’s White House Watch blog is full of useful insider Washington facts that generally do not appear elsewhere. He deserves book marking too.
I wait for the unlikely return of Billmon. Meanwhile, there is Kevin Drum who arguably is just as good as Billmon. If my blogging time is limited and I need someone who can both find the golden nuggets of political news and put it into realistic perspective, Kevin Drum’s Political Animal blog is the place to go. His blog on the Washington Monthly web site offers what I consider the best mixture of insight and content, much of which either cannot be found elsewhere, or which ordinary blogs do not deem worthy of comment.
So who is Kevin Drum anyhow? Thanks to Wikipedia, I learn that Kevin is a 48-year-old man who hosted the now defunct CalPundit blog. For someone who seems to understand Washington like the back of his hand, he hangs out in Long Beach, California. He is married and has two cats. Pictures of his cats tend to show up on Fridays, when he like many bloggers feels compelled to share the latest pictures of his furry friends lounging around the house.
For a career that included being a city editor, high tech marketer and an IT consultant, he seems an odd choice for being such a top-notch political blogger. In fact, his career does not look too different from my own. I studied journalism, but my bachelor’s degree was in communications. I moved into the information technology field because I found it fascinating and it paid much better than communications. I was never in the marketing side of IT, but I am currently in the management side, which pays very well indeed. Unlike Kevin, who now earns his money as the paid blogger for Washington Monthly, my blog site at best generates only a couple hundred bucks in Google Adsense revenue a year. I have a feeling that if Kevin lived down the street from me we would be great friends.
As you might expect his blog has a liberal bent. Unlike many political blogs though, he is not blinded by his liberalism. He can see merits in other points of view and is not hesitant to write cautions and concerns into his blog entries. Like the best bloggers such as Atrios and the retired Billmon, he can find the connections that elude most of the rest of us.
If you are a political animal like me, you too should be reading Kevin’s Political Animal blog regularly. In fact, if your time is very limited Kevin’s blog should be the only one you read. He is that good.
P.S. Thanks to my brother Tom for introducing me to Kevin’s blog