Kevin Drum’s 20th Blogiversary

One of the OG blog pundits has reached a big milestone.

Kevin Drum, the erstwhile Calpundit, celebrated his 20th anniversary of blogging yesterday. His comment is sufficiently short that I’ll share it in full:

That’s right, I’ve been blogging for 20 years: first on my own; then for the Washington Monthly; then for Mother Jones; and now back on my own again. This is longer than I spent on my allegedly “real” career in the high tech industry from college graduation through 2001.

But I haven’t yet achieved my primary blogging goal: persuading someone to change their mind. Someday it’ll happen!

While likely true in the grand scheme of things—it’s just really hard to get people to change their minds on hard-held opinions—it’s almost certainly false in actuality. Indeed, while I can’t point to a particular instance, I’m sure he changed my mind on more than one occasion.

We’ve only met in person once, at a New Year’s Eve party hosted by one of the Juicebox Mafia (probably Matt Yglesias but possibly Ezra Klein or Julian Sanchez) sometime in the mid- to late-aughts. But I’ve read his stuff and interacted with him virtually for most of the 20 years he’s been blogging. The photo at right is how I remember him from the very early days.

Kevin was one of the handful of “reasonable liberals” that conservative bloggers were reading back in the days when blogging was more communal. He never seemed to take political disagreements personally, simply presenting his case using facts and, before too long, various charts, spreadsheets, and other visual aids that would become a trademark. That’s a style that’s inviting to those who disagree and thus most likely to make them open to persuasion.

For a whole host of reasons, I don’t read and cross-talk with other bloggers nearly as much these days. Kevin’s is one of the handful of sites that I still have bookmarked an check in on from time to time. He’s been fighting a thus-far-incurable form of cancer since 2014 but seems to be persevering through it. I very much hope he has another two decades to share his thoughts on the world—and photos of his cats—with us.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kylopod says:

    Around 2017 or so I remember one of his posts on Mother Jones including an offhanded remark (which made his commenters rather upset) implying he wouldn’t make it to 2020.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Big fan of Drum. He’s gotten a bit crankier since going off on his own, but still insightful and incisive. As people here know, I’m a “the data comes first and let it speak for itself whenever possible” kind of guy so it’s no surprise I get so much out of his posts. And he has brought that same ethos to his battle with cancer. Of interest to some, he has been put on the “go” list for an experimental treatment that he has high hopes for.

  3. inhumans99 says:

    His site is a daily destination for me and has been for more than a decade. Sometimes you check-in on his site and find a note that is a day or two old that he might not be on much because his meds are messing with his sleep patterns, etc..

    On rare occasions, no note, just no new posts or even daily pics (or lunchtime pics as he has been calling them for quite some time), and that was because he was at the doctors/hospital, or just feeling like super crud, which we would soon know as he would put up a post explaining his absence (usually not due to tech issues with his sites host). He has provided folks with regular updates on his health.

    I think one of the biggest positives of sites like this one and Drum’s is that it helps to prevent regular readers from becoming too “sorted,” that is the cool word to use when pointing out how many folks have just gone all in on whatever political team they claim to belong to, correct?

    I like that sites like this one do not chide me for not going all in on being “woke,” or if you are a Republican and agree that the DOJ and NARA had to come at Trump like they did and raid Mar A Lago to try and start to make things right, do not simply look at an individual and declare that person is a RINO or Never Trumper because they do not fall all over themselves in praising how great Trump is, and how wrong it was to raid his home.

    This site understands that the world is not just black or white, and there are plenty of shades of color in-between.

    Once again, you have to appreciate blogs that prevent their readers from falling into the trap of becoming too sorted, sorting has led to all sorts of nastiness and bad behavior by government/military types, heck, just civilians in general all across the world, oftentimes in places in South American, Africa/Middle East, certain countries in Europe and Asia, and we need to slow down any type of sorting that is taking place in the United States, as oftentimes sorting leads to lots of folks getting hurt of killed regardless which bucket you claim to belong in.

    I did not want to end this post on such a downer point to make. Oh well, for what it is worth my morning is going well and I hope everyone else is having a good start to their day. Take care folks and I will talk to you all later.

  4. Ol' Nat says:

    I’m regularly challenged and educated by both Drum and you all at OTB. His charts are amazing!