When pundit and O.G. blogger Mickey Kaus ran a longshot campaign for the Senate a few years ago, I assumed he was doing so to gather material for a book.
My reasoning was that his move from long-format journalism to blogging to microblogging to Twitter had reached its logical conclusion, and that he’d be more comfortable expressing his ideas in book form. With a book such as “Kamikazefiles: A Skeptic’s Crusade to Bring Common Sense to California Politics,” Kaus would have a great opportunity to broadcast his policy ideas in the context of a lively story full of wacky characters.
I wrote at the time,
Where does Kaus go next? I can’t see him returning to blogging. . . . after thinking about politics and policy for several months, it’s gotta be a bit boring to return to writing about how bad the L.A. Times is and bemoaning that the major news media isn’t picking up on National Enquirer stories. I’m not saying that these aren’t legitimate issues, just that it can’t be so interesting as a political blogger to be chasing down National Enquirer stories. . . . Having a high-profile blog can be a great opportunity for Kaus to get involved in the give-and-take of political ideas, but my impression is that he has less interest in this kind of day-to-day engagement and would be happier focusing more deeply on the issues that concern him most.
But I was wrong. Kaus is still blogging, not at Slate anymore but at Tucker Carlson’s house. Same old stuff: from the most recent entries, we have “Obama blew it” . . . “Obamacare” . . . “The more voters see of Obama, the more he drops in the polls” . . . “cocooning” . . . “digital hipsters” . . . “Ethnicity Police” . . . “John Edwards” . . . “Hollywood Liberalism” . . . the usual. (Sort of like my blog: I just cycle through the words Bayes, multilevel, rationality, voting, and Tucker Carlson.)
What happened? I blog as an extension of my real job. But is blogging all that Kaus does? I’m really surprised he didn’t write that book (and I assume he has the connections so that, if he did write the book, he could’ve found a publisher). I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a partisan journalist—there’s a long and esteemed tradition of this sort of thing—I’m just surprised Kaus isn’t doing something else. Standing in a trench throwing grenades, that’s gotta get boring after awhile.