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.