Saturday, June 16, 2007

Best of the blogs?


This post is being made with the hope that some of my colleagues in Virginia’s political blogosphere will help me out. I’m working a writing project which has to do with political blogs, and I’d like to get some other opinions. As much as some bloggers seem to like to compare and rate blogs, maybe this will be fun.

So, dear reader, please lend me your opinion.

In each of the three categories listed below, which Virginia blogs -- from both sides of the aisle -- do you think are consistently the best? If you want to say why, that’s fine. It’s OK to put the same blog down in more than one category, too, but please don’t list more than three in any one category; no blogrolls.

By the way, no anonymous comments will be accepted this time around (they will be deleted ASAP). And, don’t bother to mention SLANTblog, I’m not fishing for compliments. Likewise, I’m not trying to determine which blogs you think are the most popular or influential in Virginia. Instead, I want the names of the blogs you respect the most for their top-shelf content.

Of Virginia’s political blogs (on both the left and the right), which do you consider to be the:
1. Best written
2. Most responsible and honest
3. Best at analysis/the most politically astute


Franklin said...

Best of the Virginia political blogosphere?

Quite a bit to chose from. A mention of the ones that I read and the reasons why . . .

A special category is needed for RaisingKaine. In terms of influence it's raised something in the neighborhood of $25,000 for local candidates during the 2007 election cycle (a large chunk going to one candidate--but even a $6,000 or $7,000 bottom line isn't chump change for local elections). In terms of coverage, it's the first place that I go to check out Virginia politics--especially with a leftward slant. Multiple authors, some good content; good statewide coverage; a top-tier state blog by any measure.

In terms of single author blogs, there are quite a few good ones that I read with varying degrees of regularity:

Slantblog--a shameless nod in your direction F.T. Good writing, good illustrations, and good political analysis. A unique and articulate voice in the blogosphere.

Vivian Paige--very good analysis, excellent launching pad for discussions and good variety of subject matter. High standards of discourse.

Richmond Democrat--very good coverage of political, military, and the periodic legal matter. At times a devastating wit--especially in pillorying sacred cows on the right.

Waldo Jaquith--short and too the point posts, but first-rate topics for discussion, very good selection of links to news stories that I might otherwise overlook.

Bearing Drift--I'm not a regular reader, and I don't share Jim Hoeft's political viewpoints, but in terms of commentators from the right he is a force to be reckoned with. His analysis doesn't usually get personal, and his political judgment is first-rate (if Hoeft had been advising George Allen during the general election on the Macaca fiasco instead of Dick Wadhams the story would have been dead in two news cycles--he recognized immediately how to put the kabosh on the story. Instead the Allen campaign dished out contradictory explanations and had to take a poll in order to determine what Jim recognized at the outset of the media frenzy).

NotLarrySabato--highly partisan, not entirely reliable news source, but good election analysis intermixed with a biting sense of humor. One of the few sources where bloggers from the right and left collide regularly. Out of all of the blogs in the Virginia blogosphere this is the one that stays most faithful to the pamphleteering tradition in the early years of the republic (an observation more than a judgment).

Commonwealth Conservative--occasionally has some good discussions break out on highly charged topics.

Brian Patton--very good coverage during the past election cycle, no nonsense blog.

A nod to the now defunct South of the James blog too--some first-rate writing and great political analysis. I suspect we'll find that Conaway's ideas concerning a non-partisan bloggers union and code of ethics was ahead of its time.

On balance some excellent options statewide.

Jason Kenney said...

Should we assume this is just for currently active blogs or can blogs past be considered?

F.T. Rea said...


Thanks for getting the ball rolling. And, I appreciate the kind words about my work.

But I want to say again that I'm not trying to boost anybody into heaping praise (or the opposite) on SLANTblog. I am interested in which blogs, other than SLANTblog, my readers see as the cream of the crop.


Since this isn't a contest, I see no reason to limit the discussion. Still, I was thinking of active blogs when I posted this call for opinions.

Ward Smythe said...

I guess it would be a little too much to say "Me! Me! Me!" Especially since I know I'm not the best in any of those categories. But a boy can dream, can't he?

That said, I'd give a tip of the hat to Bearing Drift and to Vivian on all three counts. The provide substantive reporting from differing viewpoints. And they don't engage in temper tantrums and sensationalism.

There are others who get more traffic. But I don't always consider them as credible.

Bryan J. Scrafford said...

I'd say Vivian on all three counts too.

Vivian J. Paige said...

Since you've taken yourself out of the running, I'd have to go with Waldo Jaquith, Bearing Drift (with the exception of contributor Brian Kirwin)and Bacon's Rebellion.

Brian Kirwin said...

Luv ya, Viv!

Kathy said...

Agree with maybe 75% of what you all wrote already. I love this blog because I have an achilles heel when it comes to Richmond.

And of all blogs Vivian's is the source of most positive commute ride conversation. It's not like we EVER say - did you see what that dumb ass vivian paige wrote about blah?? Never. Trust me - that's a compliment :)

But I want to add the to the categories some that haven't been mentioned so far -

1. Best written - AIAW
2. Most responsible and honest - Kenton Ngo
3. Best at analysis/the most politically astute - Democratic Central

FortyFour said...

Bearing Drift on the Right, and Vivian J. Paige on the Left get my votes.

The Richmond Democrat said...

1. Best written

Pen and Sword - Jeff Huber

2. Most responsible and honest

Armchair Generalist

3. Best at analysis/the most politically astute

The Richmond Democrat

I love sacred cow--medium to medium-rare with Lea & Perrin's steak sauce.

Vivian J. Paige said...

I completely forgot about Democratic Central. Those guys are doing a wonderful job over there.

Jim Hoeft said...

Yea, that Kirwin guy, he's kinda the achillies heal of the blog. But, like new shoes, once you get over the pain you kinda get used to him.

F.T. Rea said...

Thanks to all.

By the way, this isn't a contest. I'm writing a piece for a magazine about blogging and I wanted some input. I don't mean for this to be taken as a proper measure of anything.

Comments on the topic are still welcome.

Bryan J. Scrafford said...

You'll have to let us know when the piece is published, Terry. I'd say I hope it turns out well, but with you writing it, it's a foregone conclusion that it'll be a great piece.

Jason Kenney said...

1. Best written


2. Most responsible and honest

Vivian Paige

3. Best at analysis/the most politically astute

Bacon's Rebellion

Sisyphus said...

Don't overlook Geistweg + Genocide ( -- this is a pretty top notch blog on international human rights written locally.