The Twin Cities’ conservative blog scene has been at it for over a decade now.
And it was inevitable; from its high point in the mid-oughts, where there were dozens and dozens of bloggers scratching away at all corners of Minnesota’s body politic – from international megablogs like Power Line and Ed Morrissey’s Captain’s Quarters and then Hot Air, all the way down to a maze of smaller niche blogs that live on in memory and the Internet’s wayback machine – time has taken its toll - in both the tempus fugit sense of the term as well as the time it takes people with jobs, families, hobbies and lives to actually write something of any value.
And so outside of Hot Air and Power Line - neither of which have ever been primarily Minnesota blogs – and Lileks, who covers everything in the universe, sometimes simultaneously – the “thousands lights” of Minnesota local blogging have shrunk to a fairly manageable number. Some – like the great Sheila Kihne – have taken their talents out into the corporeal world of activism (with a little Twitter to keep people up to date). Others – the essential Gary Miller, long of Truth Vs. The Machine, has moved is oeuvre to Facebook as his politics have moved toward the libertarian.
(It’s odd that the solid Big-L libertarians never really developed any serious bloggers in Minnesota. My observation; most of them don’t seem to believe they need to convince anyone outside the club, and many of them are pretty terrible at it. Opportunity missed, in my book).
But many of them are still at it – putting out superior material monthly, weekly, or even more often. And they’re worth visiting a lot more than you likely do.
And as one of the ones that has been getting consistently, surprisingly high traffic for better than a decade now, I feel a little remiss in that I haven’t always spread as much attention around as I should have.
I’m going to try in my tardy way to fix that today.
Of course, my NARN colleague Brad Carlson has been cranking away pretty non–stop for a long, long time now.
And Mister Dilletante is still writing superior stuff, on the average more than daily, which is how often you should be visiting The Neighborhood.
Brad and D are pretty eclectic – music, religion, politics, home and family life, Wisconsin high-school football (or maybe basketball – given the scores D writes about, it’s kinda hard to tell) – which is in fact one of the things I like about the better Minnesota proto-conservative blogs; in contrast to Minnesota’s little collection of herniated-sounding, self-righteous, self-referential, usually shrieky leftyblogs, most of the the conservative-blog holdouts have more than one topic. In some cases, many, many of them.
Along those lines – Joe Deal’s Red Squirrel Report is all over the map. And Ryan Rhodes has been writing longer than me, and has covered a dizzy range of subjects, from politics to intestinal chemical warfare to the trials and travails of owning a small business to, a few years back, the gut-shot heartbreak and slow, miraculous inspiration of the story of his preemie twins.
If Ryan Rhodes contributes no more than this meme to western cultural life, his life will have been well lived. But there’s so much more at his blog.
And while family and career have slowed down the writing at Fraters to more of a weekly thing, they still cover the waterfront.
As does one of my favorite low-key reading pleasures, Mary Louise Pivec’s wonderful Casual Sundays with Mr. Curry. What can I say? Casual and low-key? Yep. And always worth the visit. I’m always happy I clicked over.
I’ll never mix up Casual Sundays with Minnesota Hockey Mom - who usually writes about hockey, and, well, being a mom, but has branched out all over the place – but I read it as regularly as I can as well.
Of course, there are bloggers who cover shorter stretches of the waterfront with a more focused passion. Katie Kieffer has slowed down to roughly weekly on her “business for young adults” blog, as she works on a very different writing project – but she still sounds off, and is always a delightful read. Gary Gross has been at the business of covering Central Minnesota politics for almost nine years now at Let Freedom Ring, and his biggest days are (I have this on very good authority) just in front of him. As in, over the next few weeks. Seriously – stay tuned. And Tea Party stalwart Walter Hudson is an essential read at Fightin’ Words.
Of course, John Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives is sort of a rhetorical daisy-cutter; he’s had his occasional ready-fire-aim moment, along with his home runs with bases loaded. Which will his next post be? It’s always fun to wait and see.
And the big new event has been Bill Glahn’s blog, perhaps the most essential new political blog in Minnesota since Sheila Kihne was killing giants, 3-4 years ago. His entire series on following the trail of money among Minnesota’s liberal political “non-profits” is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what’s wrong with Minnesota politics today – and stuff I’d say Minnesota’s mainstream media doesn’t have the balls to write about, except the problem is more a matter of “financial independence from big lefty money” than “courage”.
Anyway – if you’ve been feeling the need to broaden your horizons, your assignment is clear.
UPDATE: I knew I’d forget one. Andy Aplikowski has been doing superior analysis at Residual Forces for roughly forever, and I can’t believe I neglected him when I first wrote this. My apologies.