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Taxonomy of Liberal Blogs
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, August 07, 2005

Recently, in a popular blog post, Mithras @ Fables of the Reconstruction presented a Conservative Blog Taxonomy. While midly amusing, it generally skipped the "funny because it's true" angle, preferring instead outright snark and venom.

In response, RightWingNutHouse put up his own "Moonbat Blog Taxonomy". While a bit more fair (unlike Mithras, he actually said some nice things about the Liberals before bashing them), it wasn't quite as pithy.

Unfortunately, neither taxonomy is particularly helpful to readers looking for new blogs on the other side of the fence. And since I think it's genuinely important for blog-readers (both left and right) to branch out and regularly read worthwhile blogs outside of their ideological tent—as Betsy Newmark writes "there seems to be little pleasant interaction between the right and left sides of the blogosphere"—I'll present my own little Guide to Liberal Blogs. The following, I think, is a fair representation of what you'll find on Liberal Blogs.

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(1) Atrios —- The Instapundit of the Left. Only, while Glenn Reynolds frequently criticizes Republicans and praises Democrats, Atrios (Duncan Black) is incapable of the reverse. Reaches new altitudes of Outrage on a daily basis. Not unfamiliar with inconsistency and inaccuracy. Still, so long as you understand that he's an uber-partisan, Atrios is a useful source of interesting links.


(2) Brad DeLong —- economist, whose commentary on economics consists largely of lengthy citations of other people writing about economics. Useful aggregator of other people's opinions, if you happen to be interested in whatever Brad DeLong read that day.


(3) Matthew Yglesias —- Genuinely insightful, thought-provoking Liberal commentator. Even when you disagree with him, his reasoning is solid and his conclusions are reasonable. Rarely drifts into the realm of Doctrinaire Democrat, and occasionally asks liberals to re-think some of their premises and policies.


(4) Huffington Post —- The Liberal Drudge...but somewhat more blatantly ideological. And completely superfluous celebrities! (plus, they promised to blogroll QandO and never did....so, you know, the heck with them)

ALSO: Rawstory (Drudge, but exceedingly Left)


(5) Daily Kos —- Sort of an uber-Liberal Valhalla, where liberals go to work themselves into a berserker rage before venturing forth to do battle with the Righties. Preferred weapons: party-line talking points; invective.


(6) Talking Points Memo —- Useful investigative blogging, so long as you understand that Josh Marshall sees everything through a liberal-colored prism. Read daily, but with a largish grain of salt.


(7) Washington Monthly —- Kevin Drum, in my opinion, is the quintessential blogger. (actually, he shares that honor with Tom Maguire) Good writer; clear thinker; honest; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Sometimes presents a rather tendentious, caricatured view of conservatives and libertarians, but generally very worthwhile.


(8) Oliver Willis —- Ridiculously partisan shill who spends a lot of time complaining about how partisan other people are. Worth reading, if only for the frequent pretzel-logic and double-standards.


(9) Brad Plumer —- Very worthwhile read, in the vein of Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias. On the short-list of liberal blogs to read everyday.


(10) Liberals Against Terrorism —- written by frequent blogosphere-commenter Praktike, devoted to serious-minded foreign policy news and discussion. Think "Belgravia Dispatch" for the Left.


(11) TAPPED —- Blog of The American Prospect. Reliably partisan, frequently interesting.


(12) Pandagon —- Interesting until Ezra Klein left, at which point the site was reduced to argument-by-sarcasm. Fortunately, there's still....


(13) Ezra Klein —- ...who is as deeply immersed in and dedicated to liberalism as you might expect a Heritage Foundation intern would be to conservatism. The upshot of that immersion/dedication, though, is that readers get a strong, factual view of liberal doctrine and Democratic campaign issues.


(14) PennyWit —- Civil moderate liberal.


(15) Brendan Nyhan —- Former editor of Spinsanity, who—though a liberal—is quite willing to make substantive criticism of both sides. (which makes his criticism of the Right far more credible) Civil, educated, interesting. Daily read.


(16) The Daily Howler —- Liberal Democrat and Media Critic Bob Somerby. Frequently hard on the Right (with justification) and occasionally on the Left, too.

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There are, of course, many more. Some I don't read because they're not generally focused on subjects of direct interest to me; others, I avoid because of the generally low signal to noise ratio. Still, there are quite a few liberal blogs that Righties should be reading.

The reverse is true, too, but—judging from their blogrolls—I suspect many of them are never making it out of the echo-chamber.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
As Scott Eiland remarked about Mithras, Mithras used to hang around Sasha Castiel’s blog comments with such pithy sayings as, "if it weren’t for rape, Republicans wouldn’t get any sex at all.". And I see he is still joining the pile-on of Atrios commentors requesting Malkin’s rape and murder (which is the only subject that Malkin comes up under on the comments section).


Good for him. I hope someday he gets out of the gutter, but given that other leftie bloggers are standing on his head, that does not seem altogether too likely. But Hey, when one of his favorite blogs is "All about my vagina", I guess he isn’t all bad. ;)


At least there are some decent people
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Sort of an uber-Liberal Valhalla, where liberals go to work themselves into a berserker rage before venturing forth to do battle
This is by far one of the funniest lines I have read in a long time. And it’s funny because it’s true!
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://www.qando.net
Look, it takes a lot of energy to maintain a leftist mindset against all rational evidence. If we leftists didn’t have our echo chambers we’d be totally, like, lost. So lighten up a little. We won’t let up on you guys, of course. But cut us a break and we might at least, like, mention your blogs every now and then.
 
Written By: Bella Donna
URL: http://
LAT is excellent, can’t say enough good things about them. You don’t see too many Democrats that are as serious about foreign policy as that bunch these days.

Brad DeLong is a frustrating one. At his best, he’s clearly capable of erudite and insightful commentary. But for every post of that type, there’s a dozen more where he just quotes a long section from an article and tosses in a few throwaway partisan jabs at Republicans. It’s a shame, because I really would read him regularly if there were less of the latter and more of the former. As it stands, I just wait for other people to link to him when he says something interesting and then find the gold nuggets that way.

Yglesias has to win the Daylight Award for most cynically honest Democrat blogger. He’s worth reading occaisionally for that alone.

Plumer, Drum, PennyWit, Nyhan, and Marshall (in that order) are all worth reading too, but IMO the rest could be profitably ignored.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
I like to see posts like this.

It is VERY important to maintain balance in your reading. It keeps you honest and keeps you from looking as absurd and pathetic as the echo chambers that develop in various corners.

The funny thing about the blogosphere is, there’s less heat where there’s more light.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Spot on with #12.
Scrolled past the abyss looking for Ezra’s posts while he was there & haven’t gone back since Ezra left.
 
Written By: Ricky
URL: http://www.rjwest.com/blog
Thanks. I am a liberal, *hated* mithras’ post, and now I have Brad Plumer on my reading list.

Is there a good list somewhere (that’s actually constructive, like this one) of conservative blogs that liberals might want to read?
 
Written By: Decklin Foster
URL: http://
Agree with you wholeheartedly on Kevin Drum, though his comment section is only slightly above Daily Kos’ level. I also enjoyed left2right before they got hacked and effectively shut down for the summer.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
Nothing can be funnier than the bub posts here.

As of CNOOC, China is beginning to use Washington "lobbyists" (nee Bagmen).

China has, for the last 60 years, pride herself for not being part of American political corruption. For 60 years China refused to bribe the greedy American pols. For that she paid a heavy price.

Only in America can you find such institutionized greed and corruption, that even Chinese commies have to pay to play in Washington.

Liberals, conservatives, they are all on the take.
 
Written By: Tong, Lu
URL: http://
You seem to be unfamiliar with Atrios’ relationship with the DLC. Or his posts slamming the Dems who voted for the bankruptcy bill. I think what makes me think Atrios to be a better Instapundit than Instapundit is his ability to candidly admit he’s a left-wing hack. Glenn seems to have no ability to recognize his own right-wing hackitude.

The Taylor-Marcotte Pandagon took some getting used to, but I enjoy it. If you keep in mind they’re just two crazy kids (they’re both early 20s, I think) with a blog you’ll enjoy it.

You’re down on him but I love Billmon; he’s a master of creative invective, but he’s not just one-liners—when he’s on he’s basically writing column-length pieces. And you’re right about Praktike being awesome.

It isn’t mentioned above, but don’t forget to read Obsidian Wings every day; it’s the only blog I know of where the right and the left have managed to coexist for any length of time.
 
Written By: Justin Slotman
URL: http://slotman.blogspot.com
Nothing can be funnier than the bub posts here.

As opposed to what, the PRC shill’s meaningless post of the day?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
it all over Pete Tong. Bye tong lu, we don’t care.
Glenn seems to have no ability to recognize his own right-wing hackitude.
Not true, if you read Glenn for even a day which I doubt you do then you would see that he spreads his discontentment fairly evenly. You fail to distinguish between Glenn’s libertarian leanings and the right in general. I am well aware of Atrios attempts to do a hachet job on Glenn. Atrios is famous for statements like this "Glenn is an ok guy except for believing in genocide". You are just spreading left blogo TPMs.
master of creative invective
and
If you keep in mind they’re just two crazy kids
So was I when I was 14, but I grew up since then.

 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
You should add Norbizness; he’s (?) a liberal with actual comic ability. Which means only, of course, that he’s made me laugh out loud.
 
Written By: Moe Lane
URL: http://moeticae.typepad.com/
Hmm. I should probably add that the above was meant as sincere praise. :)
 
Written By: Moe Lane
URL: http://moeticae.typepad.com/
I would also suggest as long as you are listing Liberals Against Terrorism that one of Praktike’s contributors own blog, Eric Martins http://tianews.blogspot.com/, is well worth reading as well as his blog at LAT.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
This is a great post. Pithy, indeed.

Does anyone know of a similarly-credible taxonomy of conservative blogs?
 
Written By: N. Rogers
URL: http://
While you’re at it, I was curious what thoughts you guys had, if any, on Kevin Carson’s site.


It’s one of very few lefty sites I blogroll, btw.
 
Written By: b-psycho
URL: http://psychopolitik.blogspot.com
Hey Tong watch what you write you know there might be another Cultural Revolution around the corner. You don’t want to say too much.

The last "Cultural Revolution" was kind of painfull wasn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ2
URL: http://nukethebabywhales.gov
Thanks for the kind words, guys. I may do a similar list of Rightwing blogs at some point, if there’s sufficient interest. (and if I think I can do so without upsetting friends who are criticized, left off, etc)
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Washington Monthly/Political Animal is a constant read for me; Kevin Drum is a thoughtful analyst who sometimes changes my mind on various issues.

The comment threads are interesting; there’s certainly no shortage of belligerent, illogical jerks, but there are also some extremely intelligent folks who are great for discussing/debating opposing perspectives if you can reach them through the noise.
 
Written By: Hubris
URL: http://hubris.typepad.com
Kevin Drum is a bit of a conundrum for me, as he is usually well-informed (except on military issues, where he is thoroughly clueless), and he is generally above name-calling and pointless invective, but I cannot read the comments at his site without my blood pressure spiking. There is widespread criticism from lefties about the comments at LGF, but Kos, Eschaton, and Drum’s sane commenters are drowned out by the unhinged masses that dominate those fora.

Another good lefty writer (sober and thoughtful) who has not been mentioned so far is Gary Farber, at Amygdala (amygdalagf.blogspot.com). He is always cordial, a trait which is uncommon amongst many bloggers of either political stripe.

 
Written By: timekeeper
URL: http://www.horologium.net
It’s great that you did this - this week we sent out a plea for rational liberal blogs, and this has been good guidance. We consider ourselves Traditionalist, but centrist...in other words, normal Americans. Thanks for doing the work for us.
 
Written By: bird dog
URL: http://http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/
While midly amusing, it generally skipped the "funny because it’s true" angle, preferring instead outright snark and venom.

It took me about me all of 15 minutes to write, and honestly, I only thought one or two lines were all that funny. I think it got the play it did because it’s both a slow news time and because it’s one of those lists where everyone will find one or two things they find funny (and true) on it, if you’re a liberal.

As Scott Eiland remarked about Mithras, Mithras used to hang around Sasha Castiel’s blog comments with such pithy sayings as, "if it weren’t for rape, Republicans wouldn’t get any sex at all.".

Oh yeah, Eiland loves me from Sasha’s and Tacitus’ place. If I recall correctly, I directed the quoted comment at one person in particular. I was provoked, I assure you.

And I see he is still joining the pile-on of Atrios commentors requesting Malkin’s rape and murder (which is the only subject that Malkin comes up under on the comments section).

Huh? I really don’t want to parse all 160+ comments again, so can you direct me to where someone calls for Malkin to be raped and killed in my comments?

 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithras.blogs.com
Good conservative blogs for liberals... ich, I’d love to help but it’s not easy to anticipate everything from the other side when you’ve not been using that filter all along. Still...

never miss Powerline ( powerlineblog.com )—true professionals in every sense of the word.

and for editorial cartoons daybyday—

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/Default.aspx

—featuring a conservative black, a liberal girl (woman? in her 20’s, decide for yourself which is better) and two 40 year-olds who consider themselves to be political independents. Good fun, and you really need to check them out TODAY to help his sister (plug plug)

Ed Morrissey (sp?) at Captain’s Quarters—
http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/

Hugh Hewitt—

http://hughhewitt.com/

From there, you’re on your own. I can’t guarantee how hard these will be on liberal blood pressure, all I can promise is a reasonably low amount of endless irrational invective and bile.
 
Written By: Scriptfox
URL: http://
I only read either 1)non-pollitical blogs or 2)political blogs that agree with me. I find it saves time.
 
Written By: Miriam
URL: http://miriamsideas.blogspot.com
I saw a blog noting that Mary Mapes’ new book has dozens of new George Bush military documents in it. They were apparently located by a company lion research. Unfortunately I cant re-find the blog or the company. Why is nobody talking about this?

Thanks

Carol
 
Written By: Carol
URL: http://
Why is nobody talking about this?

Just a wild guess (well maybe not so wild given her track record on this story) but perhaps they’ve not been corroborated.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Uncloaking,

I think you mean Lyon Research. www.lyonresearch.com I thought they were quoted about Kerry’s records so I would be surprised if they would be hired to research Bush as well.

Larry


Poof!
 
Written By: larry peters
URL: http://
Uncloaking,

I think you mean Lyon Research. www.lyonresearch.com I thought they were quoted about Kerry’s records so I would be surprised if they would be hired to research Bush as well.

Larry


Poof!
 
Written By: larry peters
URL: http://
Steve Clemons: The Washington Note

Not on the left-wing, but as far as neoconservative Republicans are concerned, he’s a raving lunatic who clings to the old Realist outlook instead of embracing the grand new vision for upending the middle east establishment in a fantastic fireball of red white and blue freedom.

Great blogger, btw. He helped lead the charge against the nomination of John Bolton inside the beltway, which is arguably more important than playing "gotcha" with Dan Rather.
 
Written By: Pan Pan (anon...)
URL: http://
Thank you very much for this information.


__s_i_m_p_l_y__t_i_m_o_t_h_y__
 
Written By: __s_i_m_p_l_y__t_i_m_o_t_h_y__
URL: http://
Atrios (Duncan Black) is incapable of the reverse.

As someone who’s been reading Atrios for a couple of years, I haven’t found this to be the case at all. The "Wall of Shame" he erected for Dems who supported SS "reform" is one example. There are others.

Here’s a post calling the Democratic Party cowards and - in essence - traitors.

And here’s a post attacking the DLC. He’s also written fairly harsh criticisms of Biden, Lieberman, and other Dem luminaries, and heaped abuse on the heads of Dems who supported the Bankruptcy Act. Meanwhile, sentences like "Kudos to Voinovich for understanding the importance of maintaining the sytem of checks and balances" could certainly be construed as praise for a Republican.

Given these examples - none of which is unusual or unprecedented on Eschaton - I think it’s somewhat dishonest to claim that Atrios is "incapable" of criticizing Dems or praising Repubs.

Perhaps you should rephrase your criticism? Or is your hyperbole intended to make some larger point?
 
Written By: Phila
URL: http://
That’s a nice list, thanks.
 
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