It’s hard to pinpoint the exact point in time when I became hopelessly infected with the political bug. I think I was far more interested in the presidential elections of 1976 and 1980 than the average seven or eleven year-old boy. I still remember watching John Anderson debate Ronald Reagan. Most kids my age were probably watching cartoons. I know I was radicalized by the Republicans’ decision to impeach Bill Clinton. But I didn’t actually do anything right away. I had a low-level management job in an integrated circuit manufacturing lab, and it was probably going to be a stepping stone for a life in the corporate world. What really got its hooks into me was the campaign of Bill Bradley for president. I was from Princeton and he went to Princeton. I was a New York Knicks fan and he was a Knicks Hall-of-Famer with a championship ring. Growing up in New Jersey, Bradley was one of my senators, and pretty close to the only politician from either party in the Garden State who didn’t belong in jail. I felt strongly that he would be a much better president than Al Gore and I helped him in any way I could.
It was while I was doing volunteer work for Bradley that I discovered Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire. I would visit the site while I was at work, and I couldn’t stop clicking refresh on that site even though I knew I should stay focused on my job. I was dying for any new information about the contest between Bradley and Gore, and I was getting more interested in the battle between John McCain and George W. Bush, too. It infuriated me that McCain got so much more attention than Bradley, and that was one of my early lessons on how the media can make or break a challenger by either hyping them or starving them of attention.
In any case, I thought what Taegan Goodard was doing was really cool. I really valued the service he was providing but I also wanted to do that service myself. It took me another five years to figure out a way to scratch that itch. I launched Booman Tribune in 2005. If you’d told me back in 1999 or 2000 that one day I’d be featured at Political Wire, I would have been very surprised and quite pleased. But that’s what happened on Friday.
Of course, if you’d told me back then that I’d be featured on the opinion page of the New York Times, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But that happened on Thursday. What I find interesting is how little I care about my mention in the New York Times compared to how happy I was to me mentioned by Goddard.
Part of it is that I’ve been in the New York Times numerous times already, just never before in an opinion page column. I’ve been cited many times by Paul Krugman and my articles are regularly featured in news roundups at the Washington Post. So, getting a shout-out from David Brooks really doesn’t feel like anything novel, and it’s David Brooks, and David Brooks is (shocking, I know) misrepresenting my argument.
So, yeah, I got a little thrill out of seeing my name in the Political Wire lights. I felt more like taking a shower after seeing what David Brooks did with my name.