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Happy Birthday, TPM!

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Martin Schneider writes:

In October, the political blogosphere celebrated the 10th anniversary of Andrew Sullivan's "Daily Dish" blog. I did not contribute any testimonials, not because I don't find Andrew Sullivan an interesting and stimulating blogger but because I don't feel any particular kinship with him. Sullivan's very good, but he's not "my guy." (This is a phrase my dad always used, usually about musicians, but not about Sullivan. Sullivan's was my mom's "guy.")

Little did I realize that Josh Marshall would be celebrating his 10th anniversary as a blogger just a few weeks later. (The actual date is tomorrow, November 13.) This time, my affinity runs much deeper.

It's always necessary to say that one was there "at the beginning," whether it's an unknown band that later becomes much bigger or a project like Talking Points Memo. And to the same extent, it's always impossible to really be there at the beginning, as a fan, there's always some larval era one missed, an era others had glimpsed. I can say that I've been reading TPM since about 2001, I'm fairly certain before 9/11, and well before the Trent Lott ouster that got Marshall so much notoriety.

A few short comments about TPM. Marshall's known for bringing a certain kind of principled muckraking to the Internet, but for my money he's the wittiest political blogger out there. He's perfected the use of the amusing headline to serve as the acerbic comment on the (often very brief) post contents. During the first few years, there were more of Marshall's longer, discursive commentaries. I can remember writing Marshall at one point when the telegram-length posts seemed to be taking over the site altogether. I told him that the posts I really liked were the three- to four-graf jobs where he supplied a little overview. He wrote back to say that he agreed, and that he would be doing more of those. (That did happen.)

From 2002 to 2009 I would frequently write Marshall arguing some specific point that I thought he might excerpt. I wanted so badly to be a mysterious Reader MS whose email he had decided to quote. I don't think it ever happened until earlier this year, when David Kurtz dedicated a post to a very brief wisecrack of mine. (I don't remember offhand what it was, but it was a proud day around here. I'll try to find it.)*

With Obama in office and the ACA law passed, I've found that I don't write in as much anymore, and the unread posts in my Google Reader pile up, a first for me. With Obama heading into a tough campaign in 2012, maybe I'll find my inner political junkie again.

Suffice it to say, Marshall is a little bit more partisan than I am—a very little bit more—but overall his politics and my politics track very closely. Kevin Drum is the only other blogger about whom I can say that, but Marshall was there first (at least on my radar), and when I think about how politics on the web should be conducted, it'll always be Marshall I think of first.

Josh Green of The Atlantic Monthly contributes a nice piece about the early days of TPM.

* Update: I found the post in which they quoted an email of mine.

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