OTB Turns 15

Yesterday marked fifteen years since I launched Outside the Beltway on the old Blogspot service. 

Yesterday marked fifteen years since I launched Outside the Beltway on the old Blogspot service.

Amazingly, I put up 13 posts that first day.

Amusingly, one of them references the Colonel Jessep character in a “Few Good Men,” which I’ve done many times since, including my previous post this morning. Fifteen years later, my views on the character remain unchanged as, alas, does the propensity of too many in our country to take his side.

In the old days, when blogging was the hot new thing and navel-gazing about it was the subject of approximately every fifth post, it would have been customary to write a long piece reflecting back. I haven’t done one of those in years, so perhaps I’ll get around to it. But, as has often been the case lately, I don’t have time to do that at the moment.

Many thanks to all who visit and comment—as well, of course, to my collaborators over the years and especially to Doug Mataconis and Steven Taylor, who have written more here than me the last couple of years.

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. Old enough for Roy Moore to hit on us.

    I’ll show myself out.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:


  3. CSK says:

    OTB may well be unique in that the vast majority of commenters appear to be literate and sane.

  4. John Peabody says:

    Ah, I’m still miffed that the excellent Doug Mantaconis dropped his own blog when he joined. Way to sell out to the man for the good gig, dude (heh).

  5. @John Peabody:

    I keep thinking about getting back to doing something with Below The Beltway, but I’ve never quite figured out what that might be. It’s still there, though, and I realize that i’ve been here since May 2010 and began there in July 2005. That will make 13 years of blogging this year, and I was a late adopter relatively speaking.

  6. SenyorDave says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Old enough for Roy Moore to hit on us.

    I’ll show myself out.

    Kind of like George Costanza leaving on a high note.

    Congrats on the anniversary.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday Outside the Beltway,
    Happy Birthday to you.

    And belly butt scratchin’s toooooooo…. (for dogs among us)

  8. Joe says:

    Happy anniversary,
    happy anniversary.
    happy anniversary.
    haaaaaappy anniversary!

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I still recall a young James Joyner, dressed in knickers and tattered stockings, but full of enthusiasm and hope. In those days James loved nothing so much as playing hopscotch and duck, duck goose with his pals, Dougie and Stevie, down by the old sawmill. Oh, he was a dickens, but already he was marked with the signs of future blogging greatness: lots of opinions, a tendency toward secretarial spread, love of snack food, a glazed, unblinking gaze. . . And now, 15 years on, and our James has grown up.

    Well done, James, Doug and Steven. Thanks for a place to hang out.

  10. Franklin says:

    Congrats on the longevity! It’s been so long that I don’t remember who pointed me to this blog and when, but I’m relatively confident I’ve been reading it for well over half of the 15 years.

    Happy anniversary/birthday, and many more!

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well done, James, Doug and Steven. Thanks for a place to hang out.

    My sentiments exactly …

  12. gVOR08 says:

    Happy Anniversary. And Thank you.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    Congratulations. But this fifteen year anniversary definitely shows a gap in my memory. My recollection is that I started reading OTB when looking for contrary but reasoned opinions on the Gulf War, other than my own. But we went there in March and that would mean the blog had just started up and I remember it as already having a track record. Worse (at least as far as my memory is concerned) the earliest of my postings I’ve been able to find anything on google (using “OutsideTheBeltway: MarkedMan”) is form 2010. And the earliest thing I have in my email is a Jan 2009 direct mail to James Joyner. Which just goes to show the fallibility fo memory, or at least my memory. I would have bet dollars to donuts I was posting as early as 2004. Of course, it’s quite possible that I was reading but not posting. I normally don’t even read comments on a blog.

  14. Monala says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You win the Internets today, sir!

  15. Tony W says:

    I didn’t show up until 2011, and it looks like my first comments took another year. This has been a wonderful place to get diverse perspectives from intelligent people of all backgrounds and political leanings. There are always a few trolls – and occasionally they make a good point – but they are generally handled properly.

    OTB has done a great job with moderation and community building. I genuinely appreciate having this place to come for important discourse.

  16. Kathy says:

    @CSK: Partly, I think, because there is no message board.Those things are flame-war breeders.

    Hey, how about a message board? 🙂

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Happy Anniversary. And Thank you.

    Indeed! Thank you…

  18. Scott says:

    OTB is pretty much the only blog I bother to comment on. This is due to the ability of most commenters to engage in decent discourse and disagree without being disagreeable (for the most part). It also taught me the art of speaking your piece without directing invective at any particular target. As an oppressed political minority, it has benefited me in interactions among my friends of opposing views. I hope this blog keeps going for a good long time. Congratulations on a great 15 years.

  19. Boyd says:

    I don’t remember exactly when I started reading and commenting, but the blog was pretty young. Needless to say, it’s a very different place these days.

  20. Matt says:

    This was one of the first political blogs I ran into. I have no idea how I ended up here but it was back in the early days. It all started when a fellow from a private forum posted a link to crooksandliars at a later point OTB became my conservative counterpoint. Probably linked to by someone else on the private forum. I’ve since been banned from crooksandliars for daring to defend gun ownership and/or pointing out blatant lies expressed there. This is the only blog I post on as the conversation here is quite enjoyable when you’re not being dogpiled.

    Remember when Little green footballs was rabidly anti-muslim and pro “conservative” cheerleading Bush all the way?