Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 20, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

NON BLOGGING....I'm having a hard time lately deciding what not to blog about. For example: Should I not blog about the Obama plagiarism non-scandal, surely the silliest campaign kerfuffle since — well, since the beginning of the month at least? So far I've managed to not blog about this very successfully.

Or how about the Obama backlash meme? I failed to not blog about that, and got several emails telling me that I was just feeding the meme by commenting on it. Which is true. And yet, it was all over the place. To ignore it seemed like putting my head in the sand.

Then, today, we have the kinda-sorta-maybe-John-McCain-had-a-non-affair non-story in the New York Times. Should I not blog about that? If I didn't, I think I'd be the only blogger in the galaxy to avoid it.

I'm curious: what do y'all think about this? Should I stick to my guns and avoid this kind of stuff? Or is that just a ridiculous affectation? I mean, if it's good enough for CNN and the New York Times, who am I to think I'm too high-minded to blog about stories like this? Do you, my loyal readers, deserve the chance to comment on this stuff even if I think it's silly? Does it seem weird to come over here every day and see boring charts about real wage declines while the entire rest of the world is talking about other, juicier things? Would the blogosphere be a better place if I avoided navel gazing like this in public and just wrote whatever I damn well felt like? Should I just shut up? Inquiring minds want to know.

Kevin Drum 11:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (105)

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Huh? You seem to be under the impression that the McCain story is merely "McCain might have had an affair".

The story is potentially far more important than that. McCain might have had an affair with a woman who he is known to have pushed for governmental favors for.

Posted by: huh? on February 20, 2008 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Stick to your guns. I like TPM for this kind of political minutae. I like you for your analysis of policy and issues that you care about, like healthcare and economics.

Posted by: jfrey on February 20, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Definitely stick to your guns Kevin. That's why I lurk around here. I can get that other bs anywhere.

Posted by: Sid's Id on February 20, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's a legit issue. Especially given his stand on lobbying, he should answer questions about whether this particular lobbyist improperly influenced him to intervene with regulators.

However, I don't think the NYT should have insinuated a romantic relationship when both sides deny it and they're going solely on the suspicions of staffers (at least apparently.) The Washington Post story avoids that insinuation all together. Maybe hit the press coverage angle if you feel dirty talking about sex?

Posted by: Wagster on February 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'd be interested to hear your take on the McCain Affair thing. Don't care too much about the Obama non-stories.

Maybe blog about science or skepticism. Always nice to read a good thrashing of religion or hear about something knew in the wide world of science.

Barring that, cats.

Posted by: Huh on February 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Some of these stories are hard to figure out. For instance, the issue with the "plagiarism" story isn't whether he took lines from Patrick, something that seems highly unlikely due to the fact that what we're watching is basically just an updated version of the Patrick campaign. Kinda like when Proctor & Gamble decides to sell a dishwasher detergent that's been successful in the U.S. in Canada. Usually all they have to do is change a few words, maybe add some french, but pretty much it's just the same old retread.

Canadians might think they're buying a new, improved product, but we Americans can (yet again) snicker at them because it's been sold here for years.

That said, if Kevin Drum would like to branch out, perhaps he can crack Obama's code. It's obvious he was speaker in code; the only question is: to whom?

[Note: this comment may be deleted or edited by WM and/or KD, as has happened many times in the past]

Posted by: The annoying LonewackoDotCom on February 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Stick to your guns Kevin--mostly. But if you've got something to say other than the usual blather, then by all means add a different perpsective.

Posted by: cyntax on February 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

What's to blog about? You're not in possession of information anyone else doesn't have. "Look over there, something nasty happening. No, go on, look!" Leave it be.

Posted by: Andrew on February 21, 2008 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

What's Paul Krugman's beef with Obama? Don't understand.

How about you post some interesting links from your bookmarks? Nonbloggy stuff, whatever random interesting things you have to share.

Posted by: Huh on February 21, 2008 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Would the blogosphere be a better place if I avoided navel gazing like this in public and just wrote whatever I damn well felt like?"


This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Posted by: Eric on February 21, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK
However, I don't think the NYT should have insinuated a romantic relationship when both sides deny it and they're going solely on the suspicions of staffers (at least apparently.)
They're not merely going on the "suspicions" of staffers.

They're also going on the claims of staffers that, when he was confronted about it, "Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately".

Posted by: ahgoqihig on February 21, 2008 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Stick to your guns.
If we want other blogs, other bloggers with less or different scruples, we know where to find them.

This is the world's only source for ...

aw, man, I really really miss Fafblog.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 21, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

if i wanted to read the exact same stories that are taking up the mainstream media's attention, i'd rely on the mainstream media.

i read blogs for the stories and angles i'm missing.

Posted by: howard on February 21, 2008 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

if i wanted to read the exact same stories that are taking up the mainstream media's attention, i'd rely on the mainstream media.

i read blogs for the stories and angles i'm missing.

Posted by: howard on February 21, 2008 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

I could think of a number of ways to look at this:

The Ivory Tower Approach

Whatever is actually happening out there in meatspace, you feel this story ought not to be covered. So you strike your little blow within your own domain - HERE at least, That Fluff Shall Not Prevail.

High-Minded Bottom Feeding

This is the favored mode of self-styled "serious" journos. While they would never stoop to digging out such trash themselves, once their semi-acknowledged overlord Drudge has decreed something to be "out there" then they must hold their extremely serious noses and cover it too. Even if it is ever so distasteful to do so. (Psst., BTW, have you heard anything new about, you know... that?)

Crowd Pleasing Time

Hey, this is those unwashed commenter's blog too, so if they're all on about some topic, hey, what the hay?

Eventually Bending To The Hurricane

If a stupid story eventually becomes unavoidable (see Lewinsky, Monica) you can't avoid talking about it even if you are trying your damnedest to stick in your Ivory Tower. To qualify as doing this instead of #2 above, you have to have waited till the story is so old and stale that that everyone is sick of it before you get around to mentioning it.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 21, 2008 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: the McCain story is a right-wing manufactured torpedo on his campaign. I said in another thread that it explains why the Wurlitzer propagandists have been so damned apoplectic about McCain even when he appeared to have flat-out won. This contravenes what we know about the Right Wing noise machine: thou shalt not speak out against the GOP (unless it serves a higher purpose--the switcheroo Harriet Meiers Supreme Court fake-out).

Nope--this thing will be huge. I think this was pulled to humiliate McCain and deny him any semblance of a victory lap. Shortstop felt that it was simply careful sourcing, and that is hard to dispute with my tin hat on. But I think this will torpedo the bus. And it was intended to do just that. Red meat for the GOP (sex!?--Oh Boy) and it will outrage democrats and independents because of its lobbyist pandering angle. Ouch. He seems toasted. Bush must have been snickering in that hard-to-tolerate "heh-heh" pattern from here to Zaire. You know, McCain was pretty disloyal to those guys a couple of times and got uppity on torture. He apologized and rolled over, but I am not sure these guys ever forgive.

Posted by: Sparko on February 21, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think you should blog about things you find interesting if you have thoughts about them that you think we would find interesting.

Posted by: Swift Loris on February 21, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

blog about kitties!

Posted by: talesoftwokitties on February 21, 2008 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

What Jfrey said (in the 2nd comment).

Posted by: Steve on February 21, 2008 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

The controlling meme of my blog is "An Arab-American Woman Sees Signs of Hope." I started it in January of 2004, as a reaction to all the bad news. I tried blogging about good news, good political activism & grass roots efforts, in the Middle East, especially between Arabs and Jews.

Things rapidly got so miserable there that I began blogging signs of hope on the environmental front. At the time that seemed a quirky combination to people. Middle East peace issues and the environment? I knew they were related. Well, soon things were going to hell in that department, and by April 2004 I was blogging food. Usually Middle Eastern food but not always.

"When there's no hope left, you can always make dinner" became my tagline.

After the November '04 election, when I was in despair, I began blogging "My America" - people, activities, cultural events that reflect the America *I* know and love, not the America of GWB. Well, at least we can say that W is on the downswing and my America is on the way up. Barack Obama, like me half WASP American and half funny furriner, is part of my America; even though I was an Edwards supporter until he withdrew, I look at Barack's success as part of the success of my multi-cultural America.

Now I find I am blogging food like crazy. My latest thing is to blog frugal food, because Wal-Mart complained in the NY Times that their customers were buying food with their Christmas gift cards this January - not I-pods or DVD players.

"You can't eat an I-Pod" was my first frugal food post. The series is a public service to those Americans who are feeling the pinch and don't know how to eat healthily and well on the cheap.

I'm sure I'm blogging food so much because I don't care to blog the Middle East mess any longer, and politics in the USA is not that uplifting of a topic.

Your Friday cat blogging meme is a winner, Kevin. I wouldn't blame you if you posted early cat pictures instead of fussing over this plagiarism-lobbyist-mistress-not-proud-enough-of-America silliness. Not every "news" item is worth comment.

Posted by: Leila A. on February 21, 2008 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Swift Loris at 12:13. Nice try on the non-blogging end around, though, Kevin. Almost made you appear high-minded.

Posted by: junebug on February 21, 2008 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Why ask us? It's your blog. Blog about what you want. If you ignore something, it's because you don't want to blog about it. Simple.

Posted by: ThomasC on February 21, 2008 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

I love your blog. Do whatever the hell you feel like.

Posted by: JonE on February 21, 2008 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

All of your post, including this one, are just fine.

At the present, in this whirlwind frenzy of the primary, your blog is a little island of thoughtfulness and sanity. Stick to your gut.

Posted by: psmith on February 21, 2008 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

It remains unclear why the paper sat on the story since December. But whether or not the New York Times has had the goods on him, it didn't stop the Times from endorsing John McCain in the state's Republican primary last month.

For the details, see:
"NY Times Endorsed McCain Before Running Scandal Piece."

Posted by: Angry on February 21, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm delighted with your reticence. You're a sane and very readable guy; don't use up your capital just for the sake of creating chatter.

Posted by: Andy James on February 21, 2008 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Stick to your guns, Kevin!

You're like the economist of American politics. You do an outstanding job filtering out the day to day noise and focusing on what's most important.

I come to Washington Monthly ("WaMo") primarily 1) to see what important stories I'm missing from more mainstream news sources; and/or 2) to find an intelligent, unbiased summary and commentary on important stories.

Sometimes it seems like you're the only person who notices what is really going on in the world that actually matters. Your posts on health care have been phenomenal. You take these incredibly complicated and (arguably) boring but critically important stories and present them in a digestible, understandable format complete with a reasonable and rational summary.

I was going to say it's a little like hearing an attorney break down a legal case by relaying the material facts, explaining what rule of law is applied, and then how the case should be decided. Except you're more like a neutral party, like a judge, rather than a biased advocate for any one side.

If you'll forgive the snarky conceit, it's like having another me who can spend the whole day following the news, then reporting back to myself on the things I know I'll find most important with my limited time.

At the moment the McCain story is just a sensational, unsubstantiated rumor. I don't expect to find that kind of thing here (besides, I can find that on every other blog and news source - so you really wouldn't be adding any value to me, a reader, but instead would be diluting the value of your excellent posts by cluttering it up with trash I can get anywhere).

But the day I see you comment on the McCain story I'll know the story has finally gone from a sensational rumor to a story with real meat and legs, with serious political implications.

That's why I love WaMo. Oh, and the people that post here tend to be several cuts above any other political blog I visit. No need to attract more trolls by commenting on the flavor of the day type stories.

Thank you very much for all that you do!

Posted by: Augustus on February 21, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Blog about what you want, but please read the full story you are debating about blogging about before asking us to weigh in.

This story has sex as the teaser, but it isn't about sex, it is about lobbyists and a re-intro to McCain's ethical lapses, past and present.

If you think it merits comment, great. If not, great. But please at least spend a moment to wrap your head around what the story is about and what its implications are, or are not, before wondering aloud whether it is worth your blogging time and effort.

Posted by: abject funk on February 21, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Stick to your guns, Kevin. If you want to blog about McCain, blog on his campaign promise to continue Bush's policies. That's much more relevant.

Posted by: cmac on February 21, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Definitely the fifth option:

"Would the blogosphere be a better place if I avoided navel gazing like this in public and just wrote whatever I damn well felt like?"

Yes. Yes it would. For by publicly navel gazing, you are forcing us to gaze at your navel as well. You're wearing a rhetorical belly shirt.

Posted by: mjm1138 on February 21, 2008 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

IMHO, bloggers should not blog about blogging. Other than that, do what you like.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on February 21, 2008 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK


Stick to important stuff. At least on some degree, I rely on blogs like yours as a filter of what's actually important and what isn't.

Posted by: evermore on February 21, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK
I mean, if it's good enough for CNN and the New York Times, who am I to think I'm too high-minded to blog about stories like this?

You're better than the New York Times. Or another way of stating it, you provide more value to me than the New York times because you don't throw 90 stories at me a day (including borderline tabloid stories like the McCain affair) like the NYT does.

Again, the day I see you comment on the McCain story I'll know the story has finally gone from a sensational rumor to a story with real meat and legs, with serious political implications.

Posted by: Augustus on February 21, 2008 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

How many hundreds of posts have you done on your cat? And you think the McCain story is inconsequential?!

Posted by: Jason Schiller on February 21, 2008 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

"It remains unclear why the paper sat on the story since December. But whether or not the New York Times has had the goods on him, it didn't stop the Times from endorsing John McCain in the state's Republican primary last month."

No, it doesn't remain unclear at all.

My hat's off to the NYT. They set McCain up.

They endorsed him, witheld the story until after it became clear that he would become the GOP nominee, and then they drop the bomb.


Posted by: mkultra on February 21, 2008 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Well Kevin, I certainly think you should blog about whatever the hell you want - it's gotten you this far, it works, and its won you a lot of fans across the aisles. However, try not to get too far up your "I won't blog about" high horse. The reality is, most liberal blogs are specifically ignoring this story (compare that to the recent Michelle Obama quote, the Beauchamp story and the infamous Graeme Frost countertop investigations on the right). As of this writing, here is a list of the blogs that I read that have ENTIRELY ignored this story - John Cole's Balloon Juice, Brian Beutler, The Daily Dish, Eschaton, Glenn Greenwald, Ezra Klein, TAPPED, and Matt Yglesias. You'll just have to trust me when I say that's 80% of my entire blogroll.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Augie on February 21, 2008 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Besides until or unless there appears some fire where there is now only a wisp of smoke, you can stick to more substantial stuff. The navy claims that missle and satellite made their scheduled meeting. Rats I was looking forward to having an expensive piece of intact government issue spyware land in my yard, now the best I can hope for is debris!

Posted by: bigTom on February 21, 2008 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin I've been reading you for years. Usually I stay out of your comments section, but your question really struck me. I think you should indulge yourself in 'highmindedness' unless you really feel you have to say something about the bs of the day. I have almost removed you from my blogroll a couple of times but I keep coming back because I like your temperment. People can go anywhere for the usual crap.

Posted by: Frank on February 21, 2008 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect most of your readers look forward to the type of thoughtful substantive posts that often grace the pages of your blog. Your blog, for a blog, has the tone of a quality monthly or quarterly magazine that should not be confused with a daily paper or weekly newsmagazine. Quantity can impede or obscure quality. No blog can be all things to all people. The fact that you worry about the merit of certain stories is to your credit.

If the MSM showed a little more restraint, fairness, and perspective, people would find it easier to concentrate on the important issues. The endless din of irrelevancies, improperly elevated to importance, can, in effect, disenfranchise. A fact that is no doubt not lost on the enemies of democracy.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on February 21, 2008 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Stick to your guns. Yeah, if I'm bored I might go elsewhere, but then, I'll always come back here.

Posted by: jerf on February 21, 2008 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever you do, don't blog about cats.

Posted by: craigie on February 21, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Along the same lines .... This is an effort by the NYT to undermine their endorsements, which they never sincerely made in the first place.

The McCain story ultimately helps Obama the most, by reminding voters of the past scandals of one of the two other major candidates. It fits Obama's message.

I would suggest that everyone go back and read the NYT's editorial endorsements for clues. A neat parlor game.

Posted by: mkultra on February 21, 2008 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, so you feel silly blogging about events that are, in your view, trivial and/or inane. But when they catch enough interest, you feel sort of like making a comment, if only to entertain your legions of readers. You also like cats. (So do we.)


How about getting an appropriate picture and slapping on a lolcat caption, like you did with teh Very Serious People. Simple, quick, cat-oriented, and amusing. Plus, you'd be treating the subject with the disdain you feel it deserves.

Jus mai too sens...

Posted by: JayS on February 21, 2008 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

right or wrong this story will be front and center for a while even if it's disproven in short order. if you aren't talking about it, you won't be talking about the news.

Posted by: trypticon on February 21, 2008 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

If there is evidence that McCain did favors for her clients, then this could be very big.

Posted by: Louie on February 21, 2008 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Blog about whatever you want. Look where it's gotten you.

I don't know if the contrived Obama non-stories should be placed in the same category as the story about McCain having an affair. McCain made such an event an eligible topic when he voted for Clinton's impeachment. Of course, that distinction doesn't require that YOU provide coverage.

Posted by: c-bo on February 21, 2008 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK


This is a story that deserves attention and discussion because:

- It involves a lobbyist and McCain's argument for his presidency is based almost totally on his claim that he does not do things like this;

- McCain voted to convict President Clinton. In doing so, he implicitly but nevertheless clearly stated that a person who commits adultery should not be president.

- The NYT held the story. Please, please, please ask Mitt Romney how he feels about the NYT's decision to do so. And I would bet dollars to donuts that the NYT was not the only one who both had and held this story.

- If you would like to have fewer tawdry stories of politicians' personal lives, then run with this one all the way. Do what they did to Bill Clinton. Interview every female McCain has ever spoken to. Put the most outlandish ones on 60 Minutes. After all, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

The only way to convince the corporate press/media that they should restrain themselves on such stories, have one of their own go down in flames from one. They will very quickly get religion on the subject.

Posted by: James E. Powell on February 21, 2008 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Avoid commenting on anything that first appeared on the Drudge site. We all have bookmarks to the blogs that will spend the next week hashing over maybe sorta scandals like this one. And keep posting those graphs and charts. It's what the NY Times used to do when it was a great newspaper, and someone needs to fill the gaping hole that the Corporate Media have become.

Posted by: fyreflye on February 21, 2008 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

well, it's your blog, Kevin, but since you asked for input.

blog away on this. not only might it be mccain's apostasy on family values (of course, since no one's alleging gay sex, maybe the snake-handlers of the GOP's base will greet this with a yawn), it may end up letting the air out of this "straight-talking" gasbag.

the allegation cuts away at the core of the press's fluffing of mccain---the myth that he's a maverick above the lure of cartoon-character political corruption. maybe more significantly, the story provides the glue that can glom the keating five scandal and the campaign finance-reform, immigration, and tax cut flip flops into a public image of john mccain that finally reflects the real john mccain.

and as the press begins to critique just how far the straight-talk express(TM) has run off its rails (if it was ever on them) mccain may well lose his main electoral advantage.

besides, the story has legs. it fits neatly into the narrative that sets the beltway press's hearts-a-pounding: politician cheats on wife & peddles influence. what a two-fer! with the potential for weeks of denials eventually exposed as lies.

and for the pure schadenfreude-inity alone, I'd love to watch the chris matthews man-love clones devour the object of their desire.

Posted by: mencken on February 21, 2008 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, this blog entry is nothing but cutesy affectation. I'd rather just see a picture of a cat and an invitation to take part in an open thread.

Regarding John McCain, what a shocker--not! (Yes, I'm a thirteen-year-old boy who speaks in an idiom that's probably years out of date and who loves to comment on political blogs.) Gee, I wonder how McCain's wife Mitzi McCain (okay, Cindy McCain, whatever) feels about knowing that he's already found the younger, prettier version who will be Mrs. McCain Mach III. Oh, well, he'll put off the marriage until Mitzi is dead since Mitzi is too rich to give up.

The story is, as ever, very, very pertinent to Republican hypocrisy and low morals.

Posted by: Anon on February 21, 2008 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

Blog the gossip please.

Posted by: Dilbert on February 21, 2008 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the stories that are being talked about everywhere else, even if you're take is that they're not big stories. after reading of the mccain "bombshell" at the plank i clicked over to the times and found it to be... maybe not so much of a bombshell. but to find myself in agreement with james kirchick is worrying. so it was interesting to see you had the same response.

but keep posting those graphs about wage declines too! more content is always good, i think. we'll skip the stuff that doesn't interest us.

Posted by: greg marx on February 21, 2008 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

If you hired a consultant to advise you on this, he/she would tell you that you have to first figure out what your goals are. Maximize hits? Be remembered as a quality journalist? Please your current readers? Have fun? Something else?

Once you know your goals, what you need to do pretty much follows.

Posted by: JS on February 21, 2008 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Go with your gut. If you don't feel like something is worth commenting on or you don't think you have anything to add, skip it. There are plenty of sites that will parse the McCain lobbyist story like the Talmud, but I'm here not at one of them.

Pandering will just make this a "me too" site and attract the type of people who want to have flame wars about trivia.

If you want to spice things up, you can always add other areas of wonkery...


Posted by: Tentakles on February 21, 2008 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Write whatever you feel like writing about. I read you for your insight on whatever topic you pick.

Although, to be honest, I do feel like you are avoiding things sometimes.

Here's an idea. Lately I've taken to reading the comments here and at TPM. Call it boredom. There are some good comments to be read and points made in response to yours. Maybe if you are bored or don't know what to blog about, take one of the comments and respond to it.

Or just write whatever you want. I'm happy just to see you posting. You, TPM and Billmon (oh how I miss Billmon), you guys were the trifecta.

Posted by: bill on February 21, 2008 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Keep the faith, Kevin: keep wonking it up! That's what we all read you for.

Posted by: Nils on February 21, 2008 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Could you post about:

Why the story is silly.
Who is pushing the silly story.
What other silly stuff they've pushed.

It seems like if you focus on the source and putting it into context you'd be doing us a service.

Posted by: doug on February 21, 2008 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

The core question is whether you want to blog about the important issues, including the ones that will no bearing/impact whatsoeber on who is ultimately elected President or whether you wanna blog on the things that are going to impact who is going to be elected, even the trivial ones.

Posted by: Benjamin on February 21, 2008 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

As a regular lurker, I say ignore all this trash. There are a million other blogs where one can go to get the latest cut and paste of some headline from the NYT or drudge (personally, I get that crap from the diary topic lines at kos). It isn't interesting there, and it isn't interesting if you repeat it with some tiny bit of commentary.

If you run across a bit of that trash that you actually have some major insight on, please do post it, but otherwise you should leave repeating headlines and gossip to the blogs that specialize in it and stick to the stuff you do well.

I do think you are possibly missing the meat of the McCain non-story, but given that you are, all the more reason not to post on it.

Posted by: Charles S on February 21, 2008 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Blog about MY cats.

Posted by: lindsay on February 21, 2008 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

There was a great post at Carpetbagger on 02/20/08 called 'Why Doesnt McCain want to go after Al Queda Terrorists' graphically exposing his lack of competence. Couple that with the NYT 'bomb?' and one has to wonder if the thugs are going toss the ol' strait-talker to the sharks.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on February 21, 2008 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Real wage declines, please.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on February 21, 2008 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Here's my suggestion: if others are beating a topic to death, then write about something else, unless you think you have something to say that hasn't been said, and you care enough to bother.

We're sure to hear plenty about McCain's "friend" elsewhere. No need to pile on.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 21, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, I read it for the graphs. There are sadly, for you, people who are better at the partisan stuff, and about the sexy stuff. But they are crappy at policy analysis. Seriously, we are good at the political stuff, but actual policies, interesting graphs. That's what I care about when i read your blog. And I bet that is true for most people here.

Posted by: Scu on February 21, 2008 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Write about what you want, and ignore what you don't. Your analysis is worth much more than repeating mere gossip. However, since you appear to be approaching burnout, how about having Inkblot and Domino guest blog on technological change in mousetraps and the resulting effect on real wages?

Posted by: oldfool on February 21, 2008 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

Long time loyal reader, first time commenter. I say join the fray, not just to echo conventional wisdom on silly campaign tactics and quasi-scandals, but to apply what I love this blog most for: the connect-the-dots observations and investigations you're so good at. There is so much intense focus on the election and so many voices out there, some clear and balanced, some brutally unfair, that we need our best bloggers on the scene to ridicule, laud, supplement, and cross-reference for those of us who don't have the time to follow all the stories or don't have the clarity to sort them out. Of course, I will still read this blog if you just stick to charts.

Posted by: Nick on February 21, 2008 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

What a charming post from Drum.

Posted by: Lucy on February 21, 2008 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

Coming a bit late to the party here, and probably being redundant:

I think that the biggest thing any blogger has to offer is his/her judgement and analysis, incluting on the question of what subjects are worthy of posts. No one is perfect, but I think your judgement and analysis is as good as that of anyone else out there, and has been for a long enough time that you should trust your instincts.

Although, in fairness, using your readers as a check on those instincts is itself a good instinct, and a great safeguard against big errors.

Posted by: Adam on February 21, 2008 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

Why is it a non-story that a candidate who makes people faint over his supposedly heart-felt vision of hope and togetherness is really peddling focus-group-tested PR?

Carolyn Kay

Posted by: Carolyn Kay on February 21, 2008 at 5:16 AM | PERMALINK

Silly question. When did this word "meme" become a word and start being used on every website in the world?

And do people take the word to mean "idea" with a negative twist to it? How do you guys define "meme"?

And I have to say I just hate it that so many nouns are made into verbs and nowadays, verbs into nouns. And made up words.. meme...

I know, English is an "evolving" language and all that...

Posted by: Clem on February 21, 2008 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

As has been already noted above, it depends on your goals. However, I think there may be an inverse relationship between what you really want to write about and the number of loyal readers.

If you gave into your impulses completely, readership might come down to only you and the cats, I'm afraid -- and Al, of course.

Posted by: Econobuzz on February 21, 2008 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

Or you could write a post about writing about it since it's clear there's not much more that can be said about this story.

Posted by: Trevor J on February 21, 2008 at 6:33 AM | PERMALINK

You should write about everything. I like reading your thoughts on the big news stories of the day.

Posted by: Susan on February 21, 2008 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, in my opinion you're at your best when dealing with data. Your blog has done a great job in the past explaining some pretty difficult ideas both in word and graph form. For example, your writings on peak oil were fascinating, as have been your writings on economic issues. You've also always struck me as more sane than the average news outlet. Similar to Josh Marshall, actually. When you blog about a _story_, I've always found your comments on _the stories_ surrounding the story to be fair.

Posted by: Noogs on February 21, 2008 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

Keep blogging the same as you have been. Ignore most of the personality angle, unless, of course, a Republican is involved......

Posted by: bubbaokie on February 21, 2008 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you should write about whatever is in the news. That is, if the story's a non-story but getting a lot of attention anyway, let us know your opinion about it.

Posted by: Psyberian on February 21, 2008 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

You went with "the Clintons are making this about race" meme. Even put in a post with a bunch of unattributed quotes from random people across the universe with the underlying implication it was somehow orchestrated by "the machine".

I'd say anything is fair game to post or ignore.

Posted by: people on February 21, 2008 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

I think, somewhat uninterestingly, that you should blog about topics to which you feel that you can contribute something new or different. Blogging is personal. If you're interested, and have something unique to say, say it. Of course, be responsible!

Posted by: Stacy on February 21, 2008 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

I like your measured approach. Have you looked into the claims of this Larry Sinclair guy? Seems bogus, but who knows?

Posted by: hollywood on February 21, 2008 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

When non-topics become topical, my suggestion is not to ignore it entirely. Rather, pull an Atrios: "This is really stupid." End of story.

Posted by: Matt on February 21, 2008 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Trust your instincts. I read you everyday because you are consistently interesting. And I like the charts and graphs.

Posted by: Cappy on February 21, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I generally find what you post to be interesting, except for your very occasional descent into popular culture gossip (Your Brittany Spears entry).

I think you should post what you find to be interesting and not worry about what your audience thinks. Isn't that what has resulted in a very large readership?

There will always be those who respond with flames and others with praise.

Posted by: Chris Brown on February 21, 2008 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin -

Write about what you feel is important to comment on as always.
This might include scandals, might not, based on your perception of their importance.

Posted by: ClareA on February 21, 2008 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Clem Are you memeing to me?

Actually, I believe the term 'meme' originated in Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene and referred to self-replicating ideas. Dawkins was expanding the concept of natural selection and adaptation beyond the biological.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on February 21, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Does this lobbyist story segue with his Keating 5 "lobbyist" problems?

A 71 year old senator entrenched for 30 years carries a lot of baggage.

Posted by: bakho on February 21, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I was disappointed that you didn't blog about McCain saying the CIA didn't have to follow the army field manual in interrogations. I read about that in a comment on a blog instead of on a blog.


I think you should give out a personal e-mail address to your family and friends, stop reading your blog e-mail, and write about whatever will hurt the Republicans and help us.

Posted by: Swan on February 21, 2008 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

If there's sex, money, or drugs involved go full bore! That's my motto, lol. I like the bankruptcy post and real wage charts too, no reason you can't do both. I like to read it all, but as for what you should do, do what you want.

Posted by: Rhoda on February 21, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

If you have something helpful to write to comment on a crappy media story, I guess you should just write about it so the charges aren't going around unanswered.

At the same time, that doesn't strike me as your traditional ground to cover, and if a lot of other people are doing it as regards a particular the-media-is-unfairly-trashing-a-Dem story, I don't think you have to.

Posted by: Swan on February 21, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Kevin, I like you just the way you are!! and have been reading you for 4-5 years. A comment here or there about the 'media hot topic of the day'is 'enough said' and greatly appriciated.

Loyal Reader

Posted by: g'mmoms on February 21, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

more thoughtful stuff and less traditional campaign non-events, please.

Posted by: kh on February 21, 2008 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK


stories like the McCain-whatever-the-hell-it-was or the Obama Appropriation get enough "press" elsewhere. Stick to the meat and the substantive, and let the droolers haunt Michelle Malkin's site or Wonkette.

Posted by: hdware on February 21, 2008 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, your blog is my favorite, and I think that's because (as other commenters have said, too) you blog about what matters to you. I believe that's key to any kind of writing--follow your heart and write about what obsesses YOU, not what obsesses other people.

Posted by: Winslow on February 21, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Your writing is what draws us here, again and again, the way your mind works. Everyone once in a while one of these "titillating" news items reveals a heretofore unseen serious element, and then you're all over it. You're not racing with the other dudes, I think that's the difference. I am so happy you keep your focus where it is.

Posted by: Susie Bright on February 21, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK
I'm curious: what do y'all think about this?

I think its ludicrous to compare the Obama's borrowing language from another politicians with similar interests in a campaign speech as somehow being an issue on par with John McCain's serious lapse in judgement involving his relationship with a person overtly seeking policy influence.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Wow! I never thought I would live to see it.

Augustus just gave Kevin a blowjob over the intertoobz.

Posted by: Inkblot's National Campaign Manager on February 21, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

American air strikes are killing Iraqi and Afghani civilians almost every day. Israeli aggression is killing Palestinian civilians almost every day. Perhaps all of this American tax payer supported killing has become too mundane to notice.

Posted by: Brojo on February 21, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Love the charts, Kevin!

Drudge is always available if I need the silliness/rumor.

Posted by: Bob on February 21, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I am casting a vote for cat blogging. It may not have great import, but it is my personal favorite. Especially so on news days such as this. Have you tried getting the inky one to vocalize?

Posted by: Ann on February 21, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

People read blogs because the people who write them find out what's going on and comment intelligently on the news. If it's significant to you, it's significant to us. Or we'll read something else.

Posted by: Jim Wallis on February 21, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think you should devote at least 1 blog post to EVERY non-maybe-sorta-actual story on the campaign and then ignore it.

It's a bit frustrating that your blog is boringly dwelling on relevant topics when the circus that is American elections, amplified ever more by the internets is blooming around us.

Have the same problem with Glenn Greenwald actually.

Posted by: MNPundit on February 21, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Blog about whatever you want, but I don't mind the juicy stuff.

Posted by: Alex on February 21, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

If you think the lastest Media Outrage of the Day is a waste of time, then say so. There's nothing wrong a short blog.

And if events prove it to be a bigger story than you first thought, that's no big deal either.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on February 21, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I may be too late to register an opinion but I'd like to see a sane take on the "Obama backlash" and a sorting of fact from fiction on the view that's getting so much play over his supporters being cultists.

Also..more cats.

And well, yeah - naughty bits. We need the whole gambit, I say.

Posted by: Miss Otis on February 21, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a little late to this party (discussion), but you should definitely not shut up.

Posted by: Jimm on February 21, 2008 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs are electronic machine guns. Use your bullets wisely.

Posted by: XinTianDi on February 22, 2008 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK



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