OTB at 20

A look back at two decades of blogging.

On Friday, January 31, 2003, I started a blog called Outside The Beltway on Google’s BlogSpot platform. My first post, with the clever title “FIRST POST,” was pithy:

I’ve finally decided to join the blogging community. Everyone else has one, so why not me? Until now, I have just provided my commentary to my unfortunate friends via a constant stream of e-mails.

That pretty much describes the origin story of the site. While there were several “unfortunate friends” in said stream, far and away the most prolific was my then-recent Troy political science colleague and now-longtime co-blogger Steven Taylor. And they very much resembled 2003-era blogging: links to articles with perhaps a short excerpt and then some, often snarky, commentary.

That first post was followed by another twelve on that same day! Several of them reflected the run-up to the Iraq War, of which I was a reluctant supporter, but I don’t regret the tone of any of them. In particular, my pushback against Jonah Goldberg’s invocation of Colonel Jessup and rejection of Ann Coulter’s assertion that those who disagree with the war are guilty of treason would very much reflect the nature of the blog going forward. My takes on Annika Sorenstam’s planned venture into the PGA Tour and Lebron James’ amateur status ahead of his being drafted by the NBA stand up pretty well.

Constant outages and other frustrations with BlogSpot over the next couple of months would prove the old adage You Get What You Pay For, so I purchased the outsidethebeltway.com domain and paid someone to set up a website on Movable Type software and had it hosted at HostingMatters. The site launched at this domain on April 4, 2003.

The earliest Wayback Machine archive was 10 days later. The screenshot is too large to embed here but a screencap of the top of the site adorns the top of this post. The logo and site design aren’t terrible, considering I did it myself using free software, but essentially three months in, it’s a full-on 2003 blog, replete with caption contests, a blogroll, various Javascript embeds for visitor counters and various meta blog gaming ventures, and other artifacts of the era that have long seemed silly.

But it also reflects the fun of blogging’s heyday. There were various ecosystems and other ranking systems to game, yes, but also a lot of cross-linkage and community. That lasted maybe two or three more years before fading away. Many of the best bloggers “took the Boeing,” getting hired by major outlets to take their hobby professional, or just lost interest over time, either unable to garner traffic or tired of the vitriol that gradually displaced the early playfulness.

A quasi-random stroll through the Internet Archive, looking at the closest scan to January 31 each year, shows the evolution, for good and bad, of the site.

The look and feel was still pretty much the same in January 2004, aside from a more pronounced blockquoting style to more clearly set off excerpts from my own commentary. Still a lot of blog-centric silliness but already an evolution to somewhat longer-form commentary.

January 2005 shows the emergence of BlogAds on the site, representative of a rather short period (maybe four or five years) in which the site brought in a fairly significant amount of revenue. (Although never as much revenue as the Gone Hollywood spinoff a couple years later.) It also shows the appearance of front-pagers other than me. As noted on our About page,

On November 6, 2004, Steve Verdon, Robert Garcia Tagorda, “Rodney Dill,” “Dr. Leopold Stotch,” and Kate McMillan began a guest posting stint while James was on vacation and they stayed on as co-bloggers upon James’ return. OTB has been a group blog ever since. Current front-pager Steven L. Taylor joined the team in November 2006.

In terms of personal milestones, I got married in October 2005 to the former Kimberly Webb, just weeks shy of my 40th birthday. Amusingly, I blogged several times on our wedding day but only tangentially about the wedding. (In fairness, there was a wedding blog that has, for whatever reason, disappeared into the ether.)

My 2006 third anniversary page is captured. The site layout was largely unchanged, other than the cluttering of the sidebar with ever-more doodads representing blog-related affiliations, most notably the Media Bloggers Association, Milblogs, and various ad networks. The writing was still relatively pithy, featuring far fewer long excerpts than would become the norm later, but with less meta-coverage of the rest of the blogosphere than had been the case a year earlier. My third anniversary post was much shorter than the one you’re reading now:

My first post at Outside the Beltway was at 9:37 a.m. on Friday, January 31, 2003. You are reading my 11,642th. My co-authors have added another 1270: Rodney Dill, 355; Steve Verdon, 270; Robert Tagorda, 240; Kate McMillan, 215; Leopold Stotch, 152; Richard Gardner, 28; Robert Prather, 5; and Athena, 5.

While the blogging phenomenon was well underway by the time I joined in, it was just beginning to catch the attention of the mainstream press. There was a wave of stories “discovering” blogs that, without fail, explained what a blog was. Now, there is a wave of stories on the growing significance of blogs that, without fail, explain what a blog is. Three years is a long time in the field of big journalism!

It’s been a good run. Certainly, we’ve received more visitors and attention than I would have imagined possible. As always, thanks to all who visit, comment and link.

That I produced 11,642 posts over the course of three years is mind-boggling; I’ve only written 16,382 more posts in the subsequent seventeen. That I have only a vague recollection of “Athena” (the former associate of terrorism scholar Cori Dauber) blogging for me—and that her posts do not still appear in the site database—is, well, odd. Tracking down our email conversations, she started blogging for me circa July 2005 but her own blog, Terrorism Unveiled, disappeared at least by August of 2006, at which point emails to her started bouncing. I have no record of conversations with her since then, much less a request to delete old posts. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯*

January 2007 reflects a site mostly written by me again, as most of the early co-bloggers drifted away from the medium (or, in Kate’s case, to her own, very popular, blog). The site design had changed only modestly but reflects the spin-off sites OTB Gone Hollywood and OTB Sports. The former became a huge moneymaker for a few years before that bubble burst. The latter never drew much interest and eventually became Bill Jempty’s solo joint. Also, there’s a logo commemorating our winning of the  2006 Golden Dot Award for “Best Blog,” awarded by The George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. It was the last year that particular award would be issued, with niche categories replacing it in subsequent years until the novelty of blogging wore off. (Indeed, links to the Golden Dots and IPDI are both now dead. 2006 was a long time ago.)

Early February 2008 (there was no Wayback scan in January) shows the first professional redesign of the site, albeit one that retains the color scheme I established almost from the outset:

Most notably, the I-495 (the Washington DC “Beltway” from which the site takes its name) shield has morphed into one with “OTB” inside. The writing is a mix of longer-form pieces and short commentaries on news items. The non-me writing team had evolved to include Chris Lawrence and Alex Knapp, both of whom had blogged elsewhere for years, and Richard Gardner, a retired Navy officer who I believe originated as a site commenter.

The year would close, literally, with the birth of my first child, Katharine Webb Joyner, on New Year’s Eve.

January 2009 and January 2010 don’t reveal much evolution but the latter reminds me of the late, lamented “OTB Radio” program, in which I, usually accompanied by Dave Schuler and occasionally other co-bloggers, discussed the week’s events with various guests. It went from a paid venture to one we did for free but stopped once they wanted me to pay for the privilege of providing them weekly content. The sidebar points to the relatively short-lived MANzine blog, my ill-fated effort to do a GQ/Esquire-style blog with a different sensibility. Mostly, there just wasn’t a market for that. Also, I just didn’t have the bandwidth to do multiple blogs anymore.

On a personal note, my father and namesake, James H. Joyner, passed in January 2010 at only 66. Given that he was 22 when I was born, I’ve made up more than half the difference since.

January 2011 shows a major evolution in the site design, which actually launched in May 2010, from a traditional weblog into more of a magazine style:

It’s a precursor to the site as it still exists today, with a front page consisting of thumbnails and excerpts rather than full articles. The move proved unpopular with some commenters. While it’s still possible even today to read the site blog style, it hasn’t been the default for a long time now; indeed, it’s been a “magazine” longer than a traditional blog.

It’s also noteworthy that Steven Taylor (who started guest posting for me in November 2006 but mostly blogged it his old PoliBlog site for years thereafter) and the late, lamented Doug Mataconis (who joined in May 2010) were major contributors to the site by this point.

On the personal front, the year was filled with joy—the birth of my second daughter, Elizabeth Webb Joyner, on the Summer Solstice—and tragedy—the sudden death of my first wife, Kimberly Webb Joyner, on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s hard to believe those events are both more than 11 years ago. (I reflected on life “10 Years On” from Kim’s passing on that anniversary.)

The site didn’t change much by January 2012. Looking through the OTB History archives, I note that the much-commented-upon edit feature essentially died way back in February 2012. For whatever reason, it’s been wonky ever since.

Ditto January 2013. My “OTB Turns 10” post was underwhelming in its reflectiveness. On a personal front, August 26, 2013, coincidentally 11 years to the day after I started my first job in the DC area, I started my current job at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

A visit to January 2014 reveals nothing significant in the site’s evolution. The design remained unchanged and Doug Matconis, Steven Taylor, and I remained relatively equal contributors in terms of output, with Rodney Dill continuing to contribute caption contests.

Ditto January 2015, January 2016, and January 2017—although it appears that my blogging had already started to slow down. Occasional contributor and longtime commenter John Burgess passed in February 2016. Sadly, I didn’t learn of it until two years later. Longtime contributor Rodney Dill retired from the site in July 2017, having hosted some 1200 OTB Caption Contests over 13 years.

January 2018 shows a site that had largely become the Doug Mataconis Show, with Steven and myself as occasional contributors. My “OTB Turns 15” post was not all that reflective.

We launched a minor site refresh in February 2018, making it much more friendly for those visiting via their smartphones and tablets. It’s essentially the site you know now. It’s apparent in the January 2019 scan:

The sidebar reflects my April 2019 decision to make the site ad-free after almost fifteen years of featuring advertising in the sidebars. For a variety of reasons, mostly my own lack of flogging for contributions for what is, after all, a hobby I can afford, we’re not bringing in enough in contributions to pay for the hosting costs. But the ads weren’t bringing in much, either, by that point and they had gotten increasingly spammy and are missed by no one.

March 24, 2019 was the first of the Open Forum posts, spawned by a lack of posting after the sudden, unexplained, disappearance of Doug Mataconis from the site two weeks earlier. It was initially biweekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) but soon evolved into a daily feature, remaining even after Doug’s (alas, brief) return on April 13.

On a personal front, my mother, Waltraud Raule Joyner, passed, aged 75, in December 2018. I re-married, to the former Beverly Funkhouser, in July 2019, adding three stepchildren (then aged 16, 19, and 20) and moved into a larger house 45 minutes away the next month to give the combined family a fresh start.

The January 2020 scan reflects the absence of Doug Mataconis, who had disappeared from the site for the second time, this time for good, and the resultant picking up the pace of Steven and yours truly.

Not much had changed by January 2021. My longtime friend and co-blogger, Steven Taylor, reflected on his own “Eighteen Years of Blogging” in February. The year was not a great one for OTB. We experienced the death of longtime front-pager Doug Mataconis in July and longtime commenter Steve Story in September.

The January 2022 scan and the latest, January 2023 scan, don’t show much evolution. Steven and I continue to hold down the fort when we can, with occasional contributions from Kingdaddy, Matt Bernius, and a couple of others. Open Forums, Tab Clearing, Photos for Friday, and the like take up a greater share of the total posts than we’d like but we’re both pretty busy guys in late middle age at this point.

While I’m nowhere near as prodigious as I was in the site’s early days and no longer feel the pressure to generate content, I’ve certainly picked up the pace in Doug’s absence. Moreover, especially with the demise of the Quick Picks section with the 2018 redesign, I have all but stopped the Instapundit-style “Heh, indeed” posts that were so common in the site’s early days. I seldom post if I don’t have a few paragraphs to say about a subject—which is often the case.

Partly, I’m 20 years older and a hell of a lot busier. Work and family commitments mean I’m not sitting in front of a computer scanning for new content ideas every waking hour. Further, I’m more pessimistic about the state of American and world affairs than I was in 2003—or even 2015—and no longer think rational discourse will change enough minds to matter.

While the community feel of the old blogosphere has new been gone way longer than it existed, we’ve managed to capture it in another sense in the interactions with the commentariat, some of which have been with us since the very early days. As noted in two posts from March 2019 (“Where Have All the Commenters Gone?” and “Missing Commenters Redux“) there’s a real sense of loss when regular commenters drift away from the site, often without any explanation.

As remarked in countless posts over the years, the commentariat has evolved. Whereas it was mostly Republican/conservative folks agreeing with likeminded front-pagers, with a handful of Democrats/progressives mixing it up, it’s now almost entirely the latter. Partly, that’s a function of the hosts having gradually become less conservative. Mostly, though, it’s a shift in the national political landscape, with very little representation available for relatively conservative political junkies who enjoy intellectual discourse.

While Steven and I still get frustrated by the interactions from time to time, OTB has long since coalesced into a community. It has been years since I even checked the daily traffic numbers. At this point, the only reactions that really matter are the comments to the posts. Indeed, the site would likely survive quite a while if it were nothing but daily Open Forum posts.


*UPDATE: I stumbled on my Fourth Blogiversary and Fifth Blogiversary posts and see that her five posts are mentioned in the former but not in the latter. Thus, for reasons I have forgotten if I ever knew, her writings disappeared from the site between February 4, 2007 and January 31, 2008.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Best of OTB, Blogosphere, OTB History, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tony W says:

    Fun trip down memory lane! In the 14 years or so I’ve been hanging around here I have definitely noticed you and Steven becoming less conservative – which is a credit to you both, not for agreeing with the majority of commenters here, but rather because your mind remained open to other viewpoints.

    At the same time, you have pulled at least one commenter the other direction here and there.

    I have found this blog and community to be the best of all political sites around, and I value my interactions with the commentariat.

    Cheers to the next 20 years!

  2. Scott says:

    I stumbled onto OTB around mid-2008. Explored a few other blogs but OTB is the one that seemed more suited to my tastes (more rational/thoughtful/conversational than trying to one up someone). I’m glad it is still going. I also appreciate the interesting characters that hang out here. So congratulations on making it to 20 and thanks for putting up with us.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Damn… I’ve been coming here for I have no idea how long, at least 10 years and I’m pretty damned sure it’s longer than that tho not quite 15. This place keeps me level. I’d forgotten all about Rodney’s caption contests and now that I’ve been reminded I miss them. They were a lot of fun.

    Thanx for all the work you do here, James.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Definitely more than 10 years. Looking at that 10 years on post I well remember when Kimberly died and what a gut punch it was. I’d been hanging around for a few years by then, tho I can’t say exactly how much longer.

  5. Kathy says:

    I think a traditional Yiddish blessing applies here: May OTB live to be 120.

  6. CSK says:

    So glad someone mentioned this place to me back in the summer of 2012. It’s far and away the best political/current affairs blog/magazine around.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Congrats on OTB’s anniversary and thanks for summarizing the history.

    I’ve been coming here for 10-12 years, far longer than any other blog that I’ve followed, guess I value the opinions of the contributors and the commentators and at the risk of alliteration, let’s sum it up as community.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    Man, I remember starting to comment here around 08, 09, still in college and having a unique perspective on some of the posts about The Youths.

    Now I have grey hairs and I’m working on a respectable beer belly. My kids are closer to my when I started posting than I am now.

    No one ever warned me about how time just doesn’t seem to ever stop, does it?

  9. BugManDan says:

    I clicked on the ManZine link to see what the articles were like. Oh boy, do I want to read the article “Man Drunks” with the short description

    Making close-enough alcoholic cocktails with nothing but sports drinks. And some booze.

    Alas, it is unavailable…

    I started reading sometime during the Obama years, but rarely commented and I think under a different name. Then drifted away for a couple of years because of life. This is one of the better communities on the interwebs.

  10. Kenny says:

    According to the Wayback Machine, my blogroll — remember those? — includes both OTB and Poliblogger back in early 2005. I wonder how long I was reading this site before that.

    Dave Winer keeps banging the RSS* drum, and, hopefully, recent events and more developers like him will get us somewhere back to a better web experience.

    *Speaking of which, OTB’s posts didn’t load in Feedly this morning. I had to visit the old fashioned way.

    Happy 20th!

  11. mattbernius says:

    I came to OTB during the heyday of political blogging 07/08 and have stayed ever since. I definitely was attracted to the “sane right-of-center” commentary from James, Steven, Alex, and the late Doug. Also scrapping in the comments with folks who represented the emergent populist right was kinda fun too (though often in a punching down sort of way).

    I feel really lucky to be an occasional contributor and remain in constant awe of the volume of posts that James and Steven are able to sustain. Despite feeling like I have far fewer responsibilities, I still struggle with a few a month. Hopefully one day.

    I’m also really impressed by both of your (James and Steven) public growth in your views and your honesty about those changes. I think it’s unique in the political commentary space and perhaps an aspect of blogging primarily out of a desire for writing and sharing versus becoming a pundit or audience monetization (despite the occasional commenter claiming we’re only expressing a given view to be popular).

    I also greatly appreciate the community that has remained and the triumphs (and very real-life tragedies) we’ve been through.

  12. Andy says:

    A very nice summary and happy blogging anniversary!

    I don’t remember exactly when I started coming to the site, but I think it was 2005-ish.

    Further, I’m more pessimistic about the state of American and world affairs than I was in 2003—or even 2015—and no longer think rational discourse will change enough minds to matter.

    In the history of my commenting here, I think I can remember perhaps 2-3 occasions when someone admitted that my arguments had gotten them to reconsider their view.

    I’ve been commenting online since the BBS days in the 1980’s and learned very early that changing minds is a rare exception. I’m OK with that – commenting is fun and lets me expose my arguments to criticism and forces me to think a bit more deeply about my own positions which has become the main purpose for me.

    I very long ago stopped trying to change anyone’s mind – my strategy is to appeal to non-commenting readers and present alternative views for them to consider. This is especially the case over time as the commentariat has become much less politically and ideologically diverse.

    But I agree that online discourse generally has changed for the worse. I mean, Twitter still exists. and I see that snarky and combative style bleeds over into other spaces. The number of responses that ignore material points and are instead some version “how could you be so dumb/evil to think/say such a thing” or “only a liberal/conservative/Democrat/Republican/man/white/cis/etc. person could say that” has materially increased. It’s hard to have any kind of competition on ideas or arguments when responses are ad hominem.

    But anyway, OTB has had a good ride, one that is still going and hopefully will continue, and I’m happy that I’ve been along for the journey since almost the beginning.

  13. MWLib says:

    Congratulations on such a long running blog, that is a tough act. I really appreciate the community/commenters as much as the diligent hosts. Please keep up the good work for another 20 years!

  14. Stormy Dragon says:


    I think a traditional Yiddish blessing applies here: May OTB live to be 120.

    Next year in Georgetown? =)

  15. Mikey says:

    20 years, wow. I’m going to try to figure out how long I’ve been commenting here but it’s been at least 10 years because I remember the discussions about Benghazi (and specifically with the now-disappeared commenter JukeBoxGrad that started pushing me leftward on the political spectrum).

    This is the only blog on which I regularly comment, which probably wasn’t my intent at the beginning given the lack of effort I put into coming up with my “handle.” Pretty much nobody calls me “Mikey,” I just picked it as a throwaway. Now I’m stuck with it, lol.

    Congrats to our esteemed hosts on 20 years, a milestone reached by very few blogs.

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Wa! It has been a long time. Happy 20th! I started visiting a short while after I came to Korea, so sometime in early 2008, I would guess. I discovered OTB as a suggested link in the days when Yahoo and others were trying AI-esque things to “help” their users/product “design customized web home pages”–My Yahoo, My Google, I think My Netscape may have been the first, but I wasn’t a Netscape user very much. OtB was offered as a choice alongside NYT, WaPo, and Christian Science Monitor (at my request as an add on)–there were always 4 or 5 items in an interest section, IIRC, and OtB was one that appeared in the rotation sometimes and I eventually clicked on it to see what was going on. I soon added OtB and became a regular visitor.

    Again, congratulations on your anniversary.

  17. Moosebreath says:

    I came here around 2008-09, following some stints commenting elsewhere under another moniker. As others have said, I came for a place to discuss issues with sane conservatives, something which seems like is in short supply these days.

    I do miss the caption contests, though.

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: I originally posted under my own name–first initial and last name like my email address. I soon changed over because I saw that most people went anonymously. I chose cracker in homage to the fact that a black student from Portland had told me that he’d chosen my section of English 101 because he’d been warned that I was the most unrepentant degenerate cracker on the faculty and figured that if he could get good grades from me, any other classes he ever took would be a breeze. It turned out that he became too busy at his job to continue the class and he told me about his choice on his last night before he thanked me for what I did as a teacher.

  19. James Joyner says:

    @Mikey: JukeBoxGrad seems to have disappeared after this July 2016 post on Debbie Wasserman Schulz’s ouster. It would be difficult to figure out when you started blogging given multiple “Mikey” posters over the years but the oldest with your name/email combo I can find is this October 2011 post on Obama embracing OWS.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    Oldest comment from me I can find is 3/7/2007, although that could just be limitations on how far back google can see.

  21. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Under that moniker, at least, the earliest posting I can find is on a January 2005 caption contest. The first substantive post comment I see is from February 2005.

  22. Dave Schuler says:

    Congratulations, James. Maintaining a quality blog for 20 years is an accomplishment.

  23. Dave Schuler says:


    One explanation for the “tone” matter that makes some sense to me is that some of the same conversations have already been hashed to death on Twitter.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    I don’t know when I started reading OTB. Earliest reference to it I found is 2010. As many others have said, I arrived looking for intellectually honest conservative commentary. I fear we’ve lost that side of it, but I appreciate James sharing his journey with us. Another 20 years and he may recognize the only people you can trust are lefty bloggers and have become one. OTB has become the first thing I look at in the morning and something I check through the day. The front pagers and commentariat here are an island of reason and tranquility compared to most news/political sites. Thanks for maintaining this, James. I recently subscribed to Brad DeLongs substack, the second “blog”, after OTB, I actually pay for.

  25. JohnSF says:

    Ha! In the very best traditions of OTB, my earlier comment seems to have vanished. 🙂

    IIRC I first stumbled across OTB back around 2004; and actually commented a very few times, though it may have been under a different name.
    Then looked in occasionally; but didn’t start making a nuisance of myself on a regular basis till around 2016 re. the Brexit referendum.

    2004. A lot of water under the bridge since then; but in other ways it feels just like yesterday.

    Many happy returns OTB!
    Here’s a raising of the glass to ye!

    God bless her, and all who sail in her!

  26. Stormy Dragon says:


    Regarding minds changing, I have, over the course of this blog’s history, gone from one of the most right-wing commenters to one of the most left-wing commenters, so at least in my case, my mind can be changed, the right has just for going on two decades now failed to be very convincing to me.

  27. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    your name/email combo

    Yeah, that email too…another indication I wasn’t planning on sticking around, haha.

    I wish I could remember how I found OTB. Seems likely it was linked from another blog I frequented but hell if I can remember which one.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I would suggest that while some of the shift is probably indicative that you have moved left, even more of it comes from the right having moved to a place where people like you and me can’t even wave at it on the horizon.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:


    One thing that I’ve noticed about conservative pundits who have left the R party due to TFG and populism, is that they no longer slant their opinions to be in alignment with the R party line. Their philosophy is still conservative, but there is nuance in their analysis. In the past they may have dismissed liberal concerns and positions out of hand, but now are much more likely to concede that the concern is legitimate, an example maybe disparity in wealth or the shrinking middle class, but are willing to propose conservative solutions and more importantly negotiate on the issue. Unfortunately, none of those folks are in public office.

    I also miss the thoughtful conservatives that once commented here and wish a few would return. Perhaps if Trumpism fades after 2024 they may or a new group will join.

  30. Franklin says:

    Just a well-deserved congrats to James and Steven and other contributors alive and dead!

  31. steve says:

    Congratulations James!


  32. Mimai says:

    Memories beautify life, but the capacity to forget makes it bearable.

    Cheers to you James et al!

  33. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I didn’t realize you’d made that shift, but I have a hard time remembering what I did 20 years ago much less people I barely know on the internet.

    I don’t think I’ve changed much ideologically (I could definitely be wrong about that – unconscious rationalization is a thing), but I’ve had some substantial changes on various policy preferences. The problem I’ve always had, though, and continue to have is that the things and policies that I think would be best on the merits or best for the country are things neither party supports.

  34. Skookum says:

    I found OTB in the 2010s or before when my husband and I were farming and on a very tight budget. OTB kept me informed when we were unable to pay for newspaper subscriptions nor had the time to read a lot.

    I used to get so ticked off at James and Doug occasionally, but when Trump descended down the staircase, we were united in our alarm.

    Well, a lot has passed under the bridge since then. I can afford to subscribe and support journalism (including OTB), Trump is tarnished (although not vanquished), and we’ve all reflected (with sincerity for the most part) on America and being an American truly means.

    Thank you James, Steve, Doug (I know you’re looking down), and all who help us examine our shared experience with candor and diversity of opinion.

  35. Jc says:

    Happy 20th! I miss Doug. He was like the brother and James and Steven the fathers. 🙂
    Great blog, always has been. I enjoy the topics covered and the opinions shared by all, even those I do not agree with. OTB is a sanctuary of sanity in the crazy world wide web. Keep up the great work, and high standard!

  36. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I found this place googling a radio program called Outside the Beltway with Bruce DuMont

    I posted briefly under another handle but decided Jim Brown 32 was the perfect channel for my unabashedly black perspective. Hopefully I’ve given the comment mafia a side of black thought they hadn’t been exposed too.

    Congratulations to the hosts for a creation with stamina—very hard to do.

  37. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Congratulations to Steven, James, and all the other contributors to this site. IIRC, Cracker clued me into all y’all while he was in Korea, and like him, I’m not at all sure when I started commenting, although Dawg knows I took a lot of comfort in lurking in the tall weeds (especially 2011-2015, when I was actively chemo-ing), and occasionally poking my snout out when poked with a stick. It’s been fascinated watching our hosts being shifted to the center as the right has abandoned them in a small craft (somewhere off Pitcairn Island). It’s a tough gig you’ve picked, and I hope you’re around doing this for at least another 20.

  38. Dawn says:

    Congratulations to all here at OTB from a longtime (14 years or so) lurker and very rare commenter. Here’s to another 20 years!

  39. al Ameda says:


    Congratulations to all here at OTB from a longtime (14 years or so) lurker and very rare commenter. Here’s to another 20 years!

    I’m with Dawn on this. Congratulations. I’ve been lurking here for about a decade, I guess.
    I appreciate the hardwork that goes into what you all do.
    Wishing you all, peace and good health.

  40. Ol' Nat says:

    I also came for the thoughtful Center-Right commentary, which I value tremendously, and which balances the rest of my blog reading, which is far Left. Thank you James and Steven for being here, and thank you commentariat for being thoughtful!

  41. Richard Gardner says:

    Former contributor here from the ‘oughts – I’m still around and comment occasionally. Thought I’d made a comment earlier but not seeing it (operator error, oops). I found OTB from a link from Instapundit soon after OTB started and became a commenter. Looking at the old articles most posts before 2010 had at most 10 comments. I was living in DC (OK, Northern VA) at the time and was emailing James about the crazies, both right and left at the 2nd Bush inauguration in January 2005 and he invited me to guest post. I had to resize all the pictures to tiny size, use manual HTML for the formatting in WordPress (no easy buttons, but slashes – he sent me a quick guide). My most commented on post regarded gas prices possibly dropping to $1.15/gallon in 2006 (68 comments, absolutely huge at the time). My most viewed post was on what military bases were winning (gaining) in the BRAC process (most other overage was who was loosing) as it was linked from somewhere else (Netscape actually). I also did a posts on Cher’s support of the Armed Forces, RIP Louis Rukeyser, and the 2006 Hop Crisis after a warehouse fire in Yakima (No big deal “they” said – turns out it was major for craft brewers, most of the specialty hops were destroyed – I’d driven through the area just after the fire was put out but the odor was lingering – but craft beer wasn’t a thing then in most of the country).

    Anyway this was my Jan 22, 2005 new to blogging post on the Inauguration – reminder that crazy protests are not new and they are expected.

    Looking back I’m reminded at how much has changed (first Smart Phone 2008) on the tech end, not so much on the political end.