Political Animal


January 25, 2012 5:20 PM Hello and Goodbye

By Paul Glastris

When we were first creating the Political Animal blog on this site a decade ago, my first choice to fill it was the only blogger I personally knew, someone who was then a staff writer for the magazine—the amazing Josh Marshall. But Josh had already started Talking Points Memo and thought he could make a go of it (good call). As an alternative Josh suggested a blogger I hadn’t heard of, Kevin Drum. One look at Kevin’s site, CalPundit, convinced me Josh was right.

Kevin was an instant hit. He became an integral part of the magazine, and he and I became friends. But alas, all good things come to an end; one day a few years ago, he told me had received an offer he couldn’t refuse from Mother Jones. I panicked. He was the tent pole holding up our whole website; I could never replace him, I thought. But Kevin suggested another writer who had guest blogged on Political Animal, Steve Benen. That made great sense to me. But still, I wondered, could anyone fill Kevin’s shoes?

Steve, of course, did, brilliantly. In fact, he took the blog in wonderful directions I’d never imagined. As with Kevin, he became part of the Monthly family and a personal friend.

Then, a few weeks ago, Steve let me know that Rachel Maddow at MSNBC had made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

My first reaction, also expressed by a commenter, was “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

But I tried to comfort myself with the thought that Steve is just following in the tracks of so many others who have worked at the Washington Monthly and then gone on to great careers in the major media (James Fallows, Jonathan Alter, etc).

It’s hard for me to fully express how proud and grateful I am to have had Steve in the Political Animal slot these last three-and-a-half years. In addition to his amazing talent, his industriousness, his keen and wise political and policy insights, and his dead-on news instincts, he’s a pleasure to work with. In Sunday’s New York Times, a reviewer of the new biography of Dave Grohl dubbed the Foo Fighters frontman “the nicest man in rock.” Well, Steve Benen is the nicest guy in the blogosphere. I am going to miss him terribly.

But what all of you are probably wondering is who will next have the wheel of Political Animal—the person with whom, if you’re like me, you will begin and end your workday, and whose reporting and analysis will keep you going during the hours in between. It’s my pleasure to report that that person will be Ed Kilgore, another longtime friend of the magazine. If you’re a reader of the magazine, especially our book reviews, you’ll know Ed’s work (see here and here). And if you were coming to the site in mid-December, you’ll know his blogging. Ed is a brilliant observer of Washington and the broader political scene, a fast and graceful writer, and like Kevin and Steve, a hell of a nice guy. Welcome aboard, Ed; we’re proud to have you.

Paul Glastris is editor in chief of the Washington Monthly.


Post a comment
  • 4jkb4ia on January 25, 2012 5:24 PM:

    Good choice, good choice. This is a far better institutional platform for Ed Kilgore than TNR and much bigger than Democratic Strategist. Will happily read regularly.

  • RMcD on January 25, 2012 5:26 PM:


    Hard to replace Steve, but Ed's a perfect fit. Thanks

  • c u n d gulag on January 25, 2012 5:27 PM:

    Ed is a great choice!

    Welcome Ed.

    You have a tough act to follow.

    And to Steve - best wishes on your further success!

    Hopefully we can one day say - "We knew him when..."

  • howie on January 25, 2012 5:30 PM:

    I feel a little better now.

    I won't be removing my bookmark anyway.

  • rusty chainsaw on January 25, 2012 5:34 PM:

    Not Kilgore Trout?

    Welcome aboard, Ed

  • Mark Kleiman on January 25, 2012 5:34 PM:


  • Terry on January 25, 2012 5:35 PM:

    Best wishes Steve. I got used to those first posts showing up at 8am and would check in throughout the day. Rachel scored one, big time.

    Welcome aboard Ed. I'm familiar with your work at TNR. Looking forward to your insights.

  • Anonymous on January 25, 2012 5:35 PM:

    Thank you for choosing Ed!!!! This is wonderful.

    Welcome home, Ed!

    Now, can you do something about captcha?

  • threegoal on January 25, 2012 5:36 PM:

    Good choice and good luck, Ed. The bar is REALLY high around here thanks to Kevin and then Steve.

  • wvng on January 25, 2012 5:37 PM:

    Ed is a very good choice. Not that I won't miss Steve terribly, but then ..... in four years when Ed gets his call to the big time, I'll be scratching my head trying to remember the pretty good guy that came before him. What was his name again? Benney, Benobo, Bonbon, something .....

  • Kutab on January 25, 2012 5:38 PM:

    Good. Yes, very good.

  • CJinWI on January 25, 2012 5:38 PM:


    Thanks for hiring the one person that I hoped would not get the job. A political hack. Wonderful Steve goes to work for Ms. Milquetoast and WM hires a Rethug light. Thanks for nothing!

  • schtick on January 25, 2012 5:39 PM:

    Good choice. Very good choice.

  • filkertom on January 25, 2012 5:39 PM:

    This will work. Welcome and good luck, Ed.

    But I have to say this: Steve has been my go-to blogger for a long time now. Of all the blogs, of all the bloggers, if I want an accurate and insightful summation of what I really need to pay attention to, it's right here at Political Animal.

    I have no doubt that Ed will do famously... but, Steve, you were The Guy. Congrats on the RMS gig, and I'll be watching that as well (as if I stopped).

  • Danp on January 25, 2012 5:50 PM:

    I don't think Steve will mind that I think of him as the Dave Grohl of the blogosphere. Not just nice, but talented, prolific and insightful as well. Rock on, my friend.

  • vermontdave on January 25, 2012 6:06 PM:

    Looking forward to reading your posts, Ed!
    Big shoes to fill, but from what I seen you're up to it.

  • SadOldVet on January 25, 2012 6:07 PM:

    See you elsewhere Steve...

    Have really appreciated your work for the quality and have really admired your productivity. Many, many thanks.

    Welcome Ed...

    Your work in December displayed your quality to us. I hope that you are almost as productive as Steve. Good luck.

  • k l m on January 25, 2012 6:16 PM:

    The success of Washington Monthly alumni attests to the quality of the enterprise! Fallows?? Long, long time favorite. Alter? A sound and reasoned voice. As hard as it is to see Steve go, its great he's in great company. Maybe in 4-5 years we'll see Rachel on the masthead here?!!

    Welcome to Ed! Steve said no hazing, so we'll be good!

  • Gail Overton on January 25, 2012 6:27 PM:

    Thanks Steve, you ROCK! Best wishes!

  • bdop4 on January 25, 2012 6:28 PM:

    Welcome, Ed. I enjoyed your stint during Steve's absence, so my blogging world has expanded, which is always a good thing.

    See you tomorrow.

  • DAY on January 25, 2012 6:34 PM:

    Steve Benen has the writer's ability that, no matter the topic, makes the reader click that little red 'comments', and fight the Captcha beast in order to add our voice to the assembled throng.

    Barkeep, a round for the house, on me. . .

  • Mimikatz on January 25, 2012 6:56 PM:

    Ed Kilgore is a good choice. He is an experienced and astute observer of the political scene. But what I have always appreciated is that he brings a different perspective coming from the South. It is nice to read lots of people who write what I think but it is more enlightening to read someone who has basic progressive values but looks at things a little differently.

    I will miss reading Steve but will enjoy him on Rachel's show, and I will enjoy Ed as well.

  • jnfr on January 25, 2012 7:40 PM:

    Ed! That's excellent. I read Ed at TNR and other places and really look forward to seeing him here daily.

    So glad that Steve is going on to such a great gig, too. I loved Kevin here, and love him at MoJo. You've done a great job picking bloggers, Paul. Thanks for that.

  • Rich on January 25, 2012 8:06 PM:

    I wish Steve well. He's the reason I became a daily reader/commenter.

  • Keith G on January 25, 2012 8:13 PM:

    Paul, I came here with Kevin and was so happy to see Steve step up. Ed is a winner. I can't wait.

  • Suzanne on January 25, 2012 8:49 PM:

    I'm impressed with the talent that Washington Monthly has spotted and given a platform. I began reading your site with Steve Benen and was missing him before he actually left! Now, I'm encouraged that I will be meeting another excellent political analyst as well as following Steve to The Maddow Blog. Congratulations on a top notch team at Washington Monthly.

  • troglodyte on January 25, 2012 9:00 PM:

    Sorry to see Steve depart, but happy to have Ed arrive.

    In the words of Heraclitus, "You cannot read the same blog twice"

  • exlibra on January 25, 2012 9:34 PM:

    Ed's a great choice; I really liked him when he subbed for Steeve recently. I liked his choices of subjects and his analysis. But I especially liked his responsiveness; the first day, we got a few (very) posts of substantial length each. We whined and, the next day, we got something closer to "Benen fare" -- twice as many posts, at half the length (it does all writers good to learn to write short stories; they're harder than novels).

    Now, the question is where to find the time to read both of them :)

  • Elie on January 25, 2012 10:14 PM:

    Welcome Ed! Look forward to reading your posts and to reading and commenting here!