You Read It Here First, Maybe

Nearly seven years ago, I started writing opinion columns online, and kept at it until late 2000. I had never heard of “blogs,” and I didn’t know of anybody else who was doing such a crazy thing. I did it for two reasons: to make myself write more, and to get some exposure for my non-sports writing. From the beginning, I made myself a promise about the content of those columns: I wasn’t going to repeat anybody. I was going to try and make a point in each column that I hadn’t heard or read previously from another pundit. Often times I failed in those columns, sometimes I succeeded, but I always made an honest effort to say something I hadn’t read elsewhere.

I knew I was keeping that promise when I started seeing points that I’d made in columns by people like George F. Will and Thomas Sowell. My readership was tiny, around 40-50 people (with the exception of sports columns, which often got hits in the high hundreds), so I had no illusions of those figures actually having read my stuff–and I certainly had no delusions that they had cribbed anything from my uber-obscure web site. But I will confess to getting a major buzz whenever I read a Krauthammer or Krystol hitting a topic with the same take that I’d written myself, in obscurity, a couple of weeks earlier.

All of which is a long and annoying build-up to the following. From a post I made here on August 20, suggesting a line of attack for Bush to use in the October debates:

“I also think you owe our real allies, the ones who’ve fought and bled right alongside our own troops, an apology. It does not befit a United States Senator, much less a president, to refer to the British and Poles and Australians and Japanese and South Koreans and all our other truest friends as ‘fraudulent’ or ‘coerced.’ They are free people who have honorably fought at our side, and they deserve our deepest thanks, not your insults.”

From George W. Bush’s speech last night:

“Again, my opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America’s allies, quote, a “coalition of the coerced and the bribed.” That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador (news – web sites), Australia, and others


26 Responses to “You Read It Here First, Maybe”

  1. Mike M Says:

    You deserve to be a little proud, Will. Even if no one in the Bush campaign read the blog, you were definately in line with what’s important to the President and that says something in itself. Everything written kind of gets swept up into the cloud of the internet anyways, and bits and pieces of opinions and ideas are always trading and floating around. You never know where you might plant the seeds of an idea.

    I thought Bush’s speech was good, but a lot of people seem to think it was great. I’m starting to agree. I just talked to my mother who is going to vote for Bush after seeing the speech last night. I don’t think she’s ever voted Republican for President, and I know she voted for Gore in 2000. She said Kerry was just too negative and vague (and I almost lost it when she said he talked too much about Vietnam!)

    If the true swing voters were Bush’s real audience last night, he may have succeeded wildly. I guess we’ll have to wait for the polls.

  2. aaron Says:

    I think I hit on that one in the comments before the primaries.

  3. aaron Says:

    I kinda think you’re right. I need to look more into Edwards. Reynolds posted about Kerry deriding coalition nations. I don’t like the idea of a presidential candidate bad mouthing our most important allies.

    Posted by: aaron at January 26, 2004 08:33 AM

  4. Jeff Harrell Says:

    Even if

  5. Ed Bush Says:


    Back during the Clinton years I commented to a friend that in retrospect Vietnam was not a war but a badly run campaign in World War III, aka the Cold War. Then just after 9/11 I realized that World War IV, aka the WOT, was under way. The other day Norman Podhoretz published in Commentary an essay on just that idea.

    It’s doubtful that Podhortez was reading my mind. Still, it was thrilling to see someone with the same viewpoint as mine. So I can understand your pleasure at seeing your thoughts on our allies mirrored in W’s speech.

    Great minds think alike.



  6. Sandy P Says:

    Bubba’s had a heart attack.

    David’s Medienkritic has an interesting post:

    SPIEGEL ONLINE just published a fascinating and revealing article on German politician Peter Hintze

  7. Robert Says:

    Here’s another nugget for Bush to use on Kerry: “My opponent would unilaterally engage in discussions with North Korea. As long as I am president, the United State will not negotiate the future of the Korean Penninsula behind the back of half the Korean people.”

  8. Rusty Shackleford Says:

    I don’t know..I’d be kind of pissed. Ripping off my ideas and all…

  9. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Wow, I just read Prof. Bainbridge, mentioning Peggy Noonan.

    And the parts of W.’s speech that make my eyes wet certainly FEEL like Peggy’s touch. Congrats if she used you.

    But I’m here to push a Moral Superiority War meme, instead of the culture war, or the war of ideas.

    And Kerry’s Lie, the Leftist lie: that in 1971 it was morally superior for the US to leave Vietnam and SE Asia.

    More War (for freedom) against Peace (and genocide).

    The genocide Killing Fields are PC censured out; and the freedom part is “denied”.

  10. Birkel Says:

    You and Peggy Noonan.
    Speaking of whom: I have a crush on Ms. Noonan.
    She’s brilliant and sassy and writes a great speech for great presidents.
    And she almost surely wrote that speech, in large part, for Bush.
    So maybe she’s a fan!?!

  11. Joel Fleming Says:

    I definitely noticed a couple points in that speech that I’ve thought of as blogosphere-specific. Notably- the aforementioned coalition of the coerced, the jab at the NYT (remember a few months back when Instapundit was posting finds of old defeatist news clippings on a regular basis?) and of course the fact that Kerry voted for the $87 billion, before he voted against it, which became such a catch phrase for right-of-centre bloggers.

  12. Cybrludite Says:

    I question the timing of Clinton’s heart attack. (Only half joking with that…)

  13. RandMan Says:


    That is what is missing from so many people’s lives. Conservative radio talker Dennis Prager (a Democrat until 10 years ago) talks about this quite often.

    Your 8/20 post on Sen. Kerry’s insult to our allies is evidence that you understand that gratitude is important. I think this is what primarily divides the Left from the Right.

    The Left compares the USA to some utopian ideal and finds her wanting. The Right compares the USA to other nations loves her all the more.

    Libertarians and conservatives, being cousins on the Right, know that we are immensely blessed to live here. Many on the Left think we live in a police state whenever a POTUS has and “R” beside his name.

    Anyone grateful for the rights and liberties that our country bestows upon us could never have said the words Sen. Kerry said about the coalition in Iraq. Never.

  14. erp Says:

    It’s true that great minds think alike and freely borrow from one another. Keep our eyes on the prize and that’s our freedom and freedom from terror.

    Go Bush.

    However, I’m still worried that we took Kerry down too soon. Hillary will step in if he literally goes down in flames.

    If I were bubba, I’d be worried.

  15. Jeff Harrell Says:

    Just for the record, a spokesman has denied that the President had a heart attack. He just had chest pains. There’s a name for that… ischemia without infarct, or something like that.

    I’ve got a “get well soon” post over on my site. Politics is politics, but I wouldn’t wish heart surgery on anybody. Partisanship stops at the water’s edge.

  16. Dave Says:

    I could have SWORN tracked back to that post!


  17. Helen Says:

    Keep swinging away there slugger! You’re gonna get some homeruns every now and then. Kerry would like to shut you up along with the Swift Vets, but it’s out of his control.

    As for Clinton, he may have to get an angioplasty, minor invasive procedure to unclog the arteries. Cheney’s had several.

  18. Redman Says:

    I wrote a letter to the NYT a few years ago, which they published.

    A few weeks later, a Times editoral lifted some phrases directly from my letter.

    I decided then and there to stop doing their work for them.

  19. Amy Says:

    Nice. That was one of my favorite parts of the speech last night, and it’s nice to know where it might have came from. Good job, and keep blogging.

  20. aaron Says:

  21. gijoe Says:

    i think a lot of people including myself feel the same way about our allies.
    nothing new but it is nice to see our pres beleiveing the same thig s we do.

  22. CiT Says:

    Alert! Spelling Police!

    I really hate to bring this up, but, every blog I read lately has numerous individuals misspelling one particular word.

    That word (correctly spelled) is definitely, NOT, definately. Is illiteracy really that wide spread?

    A shining example of why social promotion is a bad idea.



  23. Outside The Beltway Says:

    Beltway Traffic Jam

    The daily linkfest:
    Bill Hobbs compares the Kerry and Bush acceptance speeches.
    Robert The LLama Butchers is live blogging Wonkette, Drezner, and Co.
    Dr. Leopold Stotch thinks Bush is a bigot of low expectations.
    Joe Carter compares God and the…

  24. vnjagvet Says:

    It was a great point and a great line. That’s what’s so great about the blogosphere.

    One of Reagan’s fave sayings was:

    “There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit”.

    George Marshall is credited with its origin.

    Great company.

  25. Mark Poling Says:

    I’ve never heard about England or Poland surrendering during WWII. Did that happen? And what about Germany? What were they doing back then?

  26. Mike Jericho Says:


    Goodonya, mate. 😉

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