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Sporadic, Reporting in...

Matthew Yglesias calls me on my lack of productivity recently, with the kind of generosity that truly makes me ashamed: Commenting on the article on blogs by Matthew Klam in the New York Times Magazine Sunday, (which I could not muster any opinion about, because I thought it was just hilariously written, especially the description of Ana Marie Cox's Wonkette persona), Matt laments Klam's lack of attention to the relatively small number of blogs by real experts such as Juan Cole. He then says, "A related -- and expanding -- blogospheric niche is the DC wonk blog, as seen by the efforts of Rotherham, Kilgore, Clemons, and Schmitt (sporadically). This, I think, holds a great deal of promise."

Promise, indeed. (As in, "Those who the gods would destroy they first call promising.") And he is right that while my last post provoked a lot of great discussion here and elsewhere, I haven't posted anything since, and was pretty fallow in August also. I could lie and say that I was busy helping George Soros write his blog, but there's nothing there yet either. (And I'm not.) But I do have an excuse: I have not really been a DC wonk for the last seven years. But now I can reclaim, the honorific. The last three weeks or so have been consumed by moving, finding a house, and suddenly a staggering number of things I've committed to do or to write, all in addition to settling into a new city.

So, between now and the election, despite a lot going on, I hope to get my productivity above "sporadic," and then attempt to fulfill the potential of a DC wonk blog that's actually written by a DC wonk rather than a Brooklynite. I hope I can retain some of the perspective on things that one can sometimes gain by being outside of the city and not so consumed by what crap is on the House floor this week -- those short-term obsessions that can get in the way of a deeper understanding of politics and policy.

Speaking of DC wonk blogs, in my next post I want to comment on something prompted by Steve Clemons's Washington Note, in his very moving commentary about Daniel Ellsberg and Chalmers Johnson. I don't think there's anyone who's more suited to the long-form, not-quite-daily blog than Steve. And he reveals dimensions of DC that are almost unknown, so that he can explain the complex motives and role of the neo-cons better than just about anyone. If he can maintain the productivity, this too holds a great deal of promise.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on September 29, 2004 | Permalink


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Sad to see you leave the greatest city on earth.

Now when I think of DC I usually recall lunch at the Hawk & Dove just after the GOP sweep of the House in '94 when some painfully earnest Hill rat came up to us and said "I'm worried, man. I FEAR FOR THE CONSTITUTION!"

Best of luck. I hope you diagnose and to treat Washington Fever rather than succomb to it.

Posted by: Murphy | Sep 30, 2004 3:14:24 PM

Since you ended on this note: someone has to tell Clemons to cut back on the relentless name dropping, the self-importance and the self-aggrandizement. I know he's powerful in DC, what with New America and all. But those qualities are ruining his otherwise quite valuable blog.

Somebody had to say it.

Posted by: JL | Oct 1, 2004 12:09:44 AM

Put simply, the country needs more of you right now. Look forward to seeing it.

Posted by: Rob W | Oct 3, 2004 10:44:38 PM