Power Line turns 10

posted at 5:01 pm on May 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

This past week, we celebrated the tenth birthday of our granddaughter, the Little Admiral, about whom readers of my old blog Captain’s Quarters read on a regular basis.  We hosted her birthday party at her request on Thursday night and Friday: a campout in our back yard with five of her classmates.  I had a great time hosting the event, as well as tweeting humorous messages about being under siege and hiding in my office, which wasn’t really true.  Well, mostly not true, anyway.

I had forgotten that another 10-year birthday, or as we call it a blogiversary, was being celebrated this weekend.  Normally I don’t write much about these — not even my own, which comes in October — but in this case, it’s something special for me and I suspect more than a few in the blogosphere.  Power Line turns 10 this weekend, and my good friend Scott Johnson reminds us of their origins:

It was ten years ago this weekend — ten years ago today, I think, but maybe tomorrow — that John Hinderaker went to Blogger and set up Power Line. On Memorial Day that weekend he gave me a call and invited me to contribute. Once one of my kids helped me get into the publishing platform, we were off and running. Looking back, I thought I might take the occasion to offer a few random thoughts that I hope might be of interest to readers.

1. John and I had already been writing columns and essays together for ten years. John was the brains of the operation. I was the one who spent time trying to place our pieces for publication. The highlight of our pre-Power Line work was “George Bush’s tax return,” published by National Review in May 1994. It was an attack on the incredibly shoddy (and influential) work of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele. Rich Lowry edited the piece for NR. We were excited about the publication of the piece in NR; we faxed a copy of the article to President Bush. President Bush wrote us one of his handwritten notes …

3. I think our first significant link came from Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy. Thank you, Professor Volokh.

I think the first serious notice anyone took of us was Hugh Hewitt, who I heard talking about our work on the Coleman/Wellstone (and then Coleman/Mondale) Senate campaign in the fall of 2002 one night as I drove to a fundraiser at which Karen Hughes was appearing. I just about drove off the road when I heard Hugh talking about Power Line. My colleague Gene Allen had mentioned Power Line to Hugh when he was doing an in-store promotional appearance in St. Paul. Thank you Gene, thank you Hugh.

The encouragement of Michelle Malkin also gave us a timely boost. Well before she had climbed onboard the Internet herself, we wrote and asked her to take a look at the site. She wrote back: “You guys have a great thing going.” That meant a lot to us. Thank you, Michelle.

Be sure to read all of Scott’s post, as he thanks a number of people, but more than a few people owe Power Line thanks, and that includes me.  Scott and John were the first to take significant notice of Captain’s Quarters.  Just a few weeks after I’d started blogging, I happened to catch Scott on a local show and posted something about it.  I got a link from that, and then a couple of more.  Power Line’s links helped me get noticed by Hugh Hewitt, especially after I commented on a debate that took place live on his show between Frank Gaffney and Grover Norquist.  Hugh invited me to be a guest on his show, and that’s when I “met” Scott for the first time.

People will sometimes call me one of the nicer people in the blogosphere.  Compared to Scott, however, I’m Morton Downey Jr.  After getting that invitation, Scott sent me his phone number and talked me through what I could expect during the segment, which he and I shared with Hugh.  It was my first time being a guest on radio, and the prospect made me very, very nervous.  I was amazed at Scott’s friendliness and openness to mentoring, especially given his very busy day job, and his willingness to calm me down and help me do well.  It was the first of many kindnesses from Scott over the years.

John Hinderaker has also been a very good friend to me and other bloggers through our work, but like Scott, the friendship is also personal.  John has a determination that, once seen up close, leaves no doubt that he must be one of the best attorneys in his field.  Like Scott, John’s also a hell of a guy, with a lovely family (again, like Scott, whose family might be even nicer than Scott, if such a thing is possible).  John and I go target shooting occasionally now, with Mitch Berg and just recently with my son and John’s.  Over the years we’ve collaborated on the air and socialized off of it, and I’m very fortunate to count them among my friends and my local community.

Had it not been for Power Line, I might not have started blogging at all, and had it not been for the mentoring and friendship I received from Scott and John, it might have taken me a much longer time to succeed, if I did at all.  Happy blogiversary to John, Scott, Steve Hayward, and the recently-returned Paul Mirengoff, true pioneers in the field and true friends to more bloggers than they probably know.

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*raise up glass* To another ten years!

BigGator5 on May 27, 2012 at 5:07 PM

I recall hearing about a thing called “blogs” around ten years or so ago and thinking, “What? What good would those things be?!”

And here we are…

Logus on May 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM

You have certainly evolved into a seasoned and polished pro over the years, Ed…

OmahaConservative on May 27, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Godspeed and fulleed ahead!!!

red131 on May 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM

I don’t read Powerline as much as I should! Happy anniversary to them!

SouthernGent on May 27, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Back in the old days, my two favorite blogs were Power Line and Captain’s Quarters. Happy Anniversary, Power Line!

petefrt on May 27, 2012 at 5:24 PM

debate that took place live on his show between Frank Gaffney and Grover Norquist.

…say. How is that relationship going? Haven’t heard much since the big dustup at CPAC.

bettycooper on May 27, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Congratutulations on ten years power line.

I hope that the house will see to it, when this comes to vote, the internet will not be under un control as they want? We gotta keep telling the truth even if bho/un/the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear it?
L

letget on May 27, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Very good. This is the new face of US media. It provides the ability for those previously unheard to have a voice.

AZfederalist on May 27, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Happy blogiversary!
‘clink’ /7%

bettycooper on May 27, 2012 at 5:27 PM

*clink*

To many more! Sláinte!

Fallon on May 27, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Powerline was the first blog I read. Then I started visiting some of their blogroll, and there was this nice guy at Captain’s Quarters, who ended up working for the wonderful Michelle Malkin at this little start-up called Hot Air. I hope Powerline re-publishes in two years the posts that put them on the map for most people: their debunking of the Bush National Guard memos. It got to be a pretty wild ride after that.

Here’s hoping for many more years for Powerline!

pookysgirl on May 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Power to Powerline! They pioneered so many things, and have remained true to their standard for excellence throughout. In the “army of little Davids,” they’re one of the biggest Davids on the block in terms of credibility and value. Thanks for a great piece, Ed.

J.E. Dyer on May 27, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Congratulations Powerline, and Happy anniversary!

dogsoldier on May 27, 2012 at 5:58 PM

I personally quit reading Powerline when they would not comment on Heller V DC. As I recall, it was because their law firm was on the team representing the District of Columbia. It seems they talk a conservative game, but aren’t too worried about the constitution.

Wackyg on May 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM

I think Power Line was the first blog I heard of. I would hear them on Bill Bennett’s show on the way to work. Very interesting gentleman and I always learn something new from them. Congratulations and may you last forever.

Cindy Munford on May 27, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Let’s not forget Power Line’s role in the 2004 C-BS/Dan Rather fiasco.

Thanks, Guys!

Del Dolemonte on May 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

It’s really amazing that Powerline and CQ emerged out of the strange politics of our fair state. The three main guys there have done remarkably good work over the years, especially during the Rathergate fiesta in ’04. And if they helped to inspire you, Ed, it’s even better.

Mr. D on May 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

I first started reading blogs during the 2004 re-election. It was a link from Rush’s site to “CrushKerry.com” that first pulled me in. From there it went to Captain’s Quarters, and then to HA. I also used to read Allah’s ramblings on his old site, then Power Line and Malkin’s site too. Little Green Footballs was early on my hit list, but I never waste a moment there any more.

I was not happy about Ed going to HA, as I knew Allah was a bleating eyeore, and I did not want to see Ed compromised by him. Even so, not a day goes by when I don’t read HA, for better or worse.

leftnomore on May 27, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Congrats to Power Line. One of the best and most important blogs on the internet. Exposing the “fake but true” Bush memos was a watershed for these guys, and they have been getting noticed ever since. Well done gentlemen.

simkeith on May 27, 2012 at 6:52 PM

At this moment in time, Power Line is featuring Ed’s Wisconsin Recall thread as their Top Pick. Big Time!

Del Dolemonte on May 27, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Congrats to Power Line. One of the best and most important blogs on the internet. Exposing the “fake but true” Bush memos was a watershed for these guys, and they have been getting noticed ever since. Well done gentlemen.

simkeith on May 27, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Over the past year one of their biggest accomplishments has been repeatedly debunking Leftist claims about the Evil Koch Brothers.

Del Dolemonte on May 27, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Congratulations to Powerline! It’s one of my main RSS feeds, along with MM and HotAir, on my Google home page.

I remember finding it in 2008 via this post: Conservatism Today’s 24 Best Conservative Blogs.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM

A very happy and well deserved 10th birthday to Power Line. A world class blog, to be sure.

Same for Hot Air, too. You can hit those two, and MM to make three, in an hour or less at night after a busy day, and learn everything worthy of note that went on that day or that’s going to be going on tomorrow.

Together, they could share a slogan: All the really good sh!t that’s fit to blog.

Have a great celebration, Power Line, and many more in the decades to come!

TXUS on May 27, 2012 at 7:36 PM

To John over at Power Line and Ed here at HG: we stand on the shoulders of giants. As one who lived through the blogless, fuming, angry silence and isolation of the 1980 election with only the stifling voices of the condescending MSM to “guide” me, I sincerely appreciate the antiseptic
sunlight of truth that the right side of the blogosphere brings.

(Sorry, I am starting a little early this Sunday evening; you all know what I mean.)

The War Planner on May 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Besides Scott Ott’s satirical Scrappleface, Powerlineblog and Captain’s Quarters were my first ventures into posting commentary and finding that I was not alone in my political thinking. Thanks to all of you pioneers for giving us a venue to share and form a community.

Eventually, I was able to register at Michelle Malkin’s site after years of checking out her terrific work.

I miss DrSanity, for she was a breath of fresh air from a psychological point of view.

Congratulations, Powerline! May you have many more years of keeping up the good fight. (And thanks for allowing that twit Calee Bovee to post, for she adds the necessary loony Left twist, lest we get too lulled by common sense.)

onlineanalyst on May 27, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Over the past year one of their biggest accomplishments has been repeatedly debunking Leftist claims about the Evil Koch Brothers.

Del Dolemonte on May 27, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Agreed, Del. I have saved those posts in their own designated “favorites” slot in order to rebut the zombies who only know slogans and talking points.

onlineanalyst on May 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

God bless you guys. You were there at the beginning. My hat is off to you.

minnesoter on May 27, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Powerline, Captains Quarters, and Hugh Hewitt were the first blogs that I read on a regular basis. These sites were a haven for me and like minded people. We lived in a world where information was controlled by a few left leaning media outlets, and all that has changed thanks to these pioneers but there is so much more to do. Keep up the good work Ed.

steel guy on May 27, 2012 at 8:46 PM

God bless you guys. You were there at the beginning. My hat is off to you.

minnesoter on May 27, 2012 at 8:10 PM

…without them…think were we would be!
(God helped us!)

KOOLAID2 on May 27, 2012 at 9:02 PM

onlineanalyst on May 27, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Is this the Dr. Sanity to whom you are referring? Apparently, her blog is still up and running.

Dr. Sanity

Thanks for the tip. It looks great. I’ve got it bookmarked.

PatriotGal2257 on May 27, 2012 at 9:42 PM

And, apparently we forget such a happy anniversary UNTIL the second paragraph of a post meant to celebrate it in the first place.

Seriously?

My apologies to the host, and I appreciate the ability to speak my peace while in his tent- but that’s typical of what I’ve come to expect from the attention-starved Captain Ed.

I’m a fan and regular pimp of Hot Air so don’t think of this as coming from an outsider. I applauded when Ed came aboard. I love this place, and feel at home within its walls.

But Ed, really man.

Sincerely,

Your brother,

Cz

ChipDWood on May 27, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Good place over there. I remember back in ’08, some excellent work by Hinderaker following the entire scenario and giving the details as Franken stole himself a Senate seat. Always nice to see a place that is able to give steady regular coverage of national issues, but also deeper more in-depth coverage on their locality that those of us in the rest of the country are hard-pressed to find otherwise. With the upper Midwest gradually shaping into the next battleground for the growth of conservatism, the sort of detail provided by Powerline in regard to Minnesota politics will only grow as an asset to the blogging community.

Congratulations on 10, Powerline! Here’s hoping for at least 90 more.

Gingotts on May 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Back around 2005 until right around the 2008 election, Powerline had the top conservative forum on the Internet at the time. It had massive membership, and vibrant discussions that went into the tens and twenty thousands of comments. Too many liberal trolls, but enough conservatives to counter their BS. It was largely unmoderated, and eventually became something other than what the three lawyers wanted to deal with, and they jettisoned the whole thing.

There were many of us there who would have gladly volunteered to help them get control of it and bolster it, but they never sought that kind of input from readers and members. Instead, thousands of regular readers and commenters were kicked to the curb without a warning.

Many Powerline commenters branched off to other forums. Our forum at http://www.itsaboutliberty.com is one such remnant. If you are a former powerliner and would like to reconnect, or just someone who would like to connect with former powerliners, that’s where many of us are now located.

IronDioPriest on May 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I personally quit reading Powerline when they would not comment on Heller V DC. As I recall, it was because their law firm was on the team representing the District of Columbia. It seems they talk a conservative game, but aren’t too worried about the constitution.

Wackyg on May 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Most large firms have clients who lack the personal approval of some of their members. Pretty much all of them have stiff rules regarding public commentary on the issues in the firm’s caseload.
I applaud PowerLine’s professional integrity, which is highly preferable to the increasingly common “trial by leak” practised by many lawyers.

Captain’s Quarters was my gateway drug to the poliblogs (including Hewitt and PowerLine), because of Ed’s demonstrable competence, knowledge, and personal integrity.

Thanks, Cap’n.

AesopFan on May 27, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Concentrated CONTEMPT for the Sacrifices Made By Loving Humans:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2012/05/27/chris-hayes-im-uncomfortable-calling-fallen-military-heroes#ixzz1w6mBDLvo

williamg on May 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Sincere congratulations to Powerline! I used to check in there every day, but I confess I started to feel that too many articles were just too long and dense when there was only so much time to keep up with events. With the current updated design of the site, it seems to me the articles value brevity more than they used to, and I usually check in once a week from Starbucks! And it’s still important to be able to go to a particular place that is sober, no-nonsense, where the facts are laid out in a common sense fashion and then evaluated. Of course that nearly always means the conclusion will be that the Democratic Party and its supporters have gone crazy, which is very true. I’m grateful there’s a serious place such as Powerline where one can see how true that is, in contradistinction to the leftist media industry, which is a despicable entity (I believe the worst in the country) that deals in propaganda, and willful omission, and overt support for leftists. I suppose the greatest praise for Powerline would be to point out that it’s the opposite of leftist media, and its authors are genuine, decent and true, unlike leftist authors and reporters, who are unethical and dishonest, and live the black lie of pretending to be neutral and not who they really are.

Allendundit on May 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM

I remember when Hinderaker went by Hindrocket and had an icon of a monkey with a rocket on it (if I recall correctly).

Claudin on May 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Powerlineblog and Little Green Footballs both nailed Dan Rather and CBS back in 2004. I don’t read Powerlineblog nearly as much as I should and Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs has gone insane. Johnson is living in an alternative universe.

SC.Charlie on May 28, 2012 at 5:10 AM

I was a great fan of Power Line, and still occasionally read the blog. That being said, I will never forget how they dumped their reader comment section unceremoniously, and without notice. It was as if Hot Air one day just cancelled the comment section, leaving this little circle of friends to fend for themselves.

Through the wonders of the internet, many former Power Line readers and commentors were able to reconnect and start their own little conservative home. (Insert shameless plug here for Itsaboutliberty.com, my little home port, so to speak)

Happy tenth birthday, PL. I’ll eventually get over it . . .

BigAlSouth on May 28, 2012 at 6:15 AM

I thought it was Buckhead on FreeRepublic who discovered the bad fonts in the Dan Rather scandal… And Dr Sanity still blogs.

catquilt on May 28, 2012 at 6:50 AM

PowerLine was the first web-log (eventually ‘blog’) that I read, lured in by the unfolding revelations of Rathergate. From there I discovered Captain’s Quarters, which I still miss (commenting there was far more considerate and thoughtful than here at HA). PL is still among my top three (the others being WUWT, with its long and fascinating Comment threads, and HA).

Like IronDioPriest, I was disappointed when the PowerLine guys unceremoniously shut down their free-wheeling Forum (rather than just moderate it). They have since reinstituted Responses on their lead posts, but I find they don’t work much of the time. I have visited a couple of the PL Forum spin-offs, but just can’t find time for more than my top three blogs at this point. The blogosphere is a black hole for time.

MrLynn on May 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM

I was a great fan of Power Line, and still occasionally read the blog. That being said, I will never forget how they dumped their reader comment section unceremoniously, and without notice. It was as if Hot Air one day just cancelled the comment section, leaving this little circle of friends to fend for themselves.

Through the wonders of the internet, many former Power Line readers and commentors were able to reconnect and start their own little conservative home. (Insert shameless plug here for Itsaboutliberty.com, my little home port, so to speak)

Happy tenth birthday, PL. I’ll eventually get over it . . .

BigAlSouth on May 28, 2012 at 6:15 AM

Same here, Big Al. When Power Line required comments to be posted thru Facebook, I bailed out. While a lot of folks do use FB to do their political ranting and raving, I absolutely do not.

BTW, one of these days I will stop by Itsaboutliberty.com…tell everyone there I said hi!

Del Dolemonte on May 28, 2012 at 9:34 AM

I thought it was Buckhead on FreeRepublic who discovered the bad fonts in the Dan Rather scandal…

catquilt on May 28, 2012 at 6:50 AM

That is true. Buck (real name Harry MacDougald) did make the original discovery. But Power Line did a lot of the subsequent heavy lifting.

So did what’s his name at the site named after little green things you kick thru a goal post.

Also doing some heavy lifting? National Review Online’s Jim Geraghty. And Drudge, who kept it screaming.

Del Dolemonte on May 28, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Same here, Big Al. When Power Line required comments to be posted thru Facebook, I bailed out. While a lot of folks do use FB to do their political ranting and raving, I absolutely do not.

Del Dolemonte on May 28, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Agree. It is like talking politics at a family reunion or a party. Not a good idea.

CW on May 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I used to read Power Line everyday, but several things happened that caused me to lose interest in the them. I don’t read them much anymore.

d1carter on May 28, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Powerline and LGF were the 2 blogs I started reading …
I could never get membership into LGF … and then it went hard crazy
and I really don’t want a membership there …
Made a lot of good friends at PL and had some very spirited debates
there … (that is when the hook got set) …
however PL shut the comment section down …
so folks wandered into the wilderness … and then I found
hotair and a nice little place called
the name was what got me …. and a happy group there ….
so good on you Powerline … thanks for all you did to
dan rather … (he was rather biased)
cant thank you enough ….

conservative tarheel on May 29, 2012 at 9:07 AM

the nice little place with the funny name is
www. grouchyconservativepundits.com

conservative tarheel on May 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Ironic the two blogs I read most, because they’re Minnesota based, became two of the giants in the field.

Congtats to both!

MNHawk on May 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM

As for the comment section fiasco, it took awhile, but I eventually if not forgave, at least forgot for the most part, thanks to a couple that stepped up and gathered the flock back together. The possibly late Nanoinvestments, and more recently, IronDioPriest. Thanks to both.

As for Powerline, they’re too good to ignore forever, and hell, I’ve even post under my real name a few times.

Lesson going forward? If Ed/Allah ever do away with comments, please let us know. Don’t just cut the cord and not say a thing. That’s what bit the most about Powerline a few years ago. The silence.

MNHawk on May 29, 2012 at 9:27 AM