Political blogging, always a strange beast, tends to get even stranger in political off-years. Hell, Republican AstroTurf blogs don’t even try those years. It seems like arguments get magnified, posting diminishes, and tempers flare a bit more often. That being said, there was some excellent writing in Montana blogs in 2013, and I thought I’d take a moment to highlight some of the writing I found most interesting.
Hopefully, it will encourage you to read some of these sites–and maybe even start your own blog.
James Conner’s Flathead Memo continues to have some of the best coverage of political issues in the state, with a depth of coverage and dispassionate tone not always seen in other media and blog reports. And the guy can make some charts! A few standouts from his site in 2013 include:
- Why Sandy Welch is already running again — it’s the lands board
- John Lewis may have better chance than conventional wisdom suggests
- Medicaid expansion options for Montana’s progressives
The Cowgirl blog, despite the incessant wailing of Republicans, is still going strong, offering the best insider coverage of Montana politics in the state. Some of its best 2013 posts include:
- Waging War on the Poor
- Solve a Problem By Making it Worse
- On Elections and the Medicaid Expansion
- Outsourcing Jobs, and the Steve Daines Payday
We don’t always (or often) find ourselves agreeing these days, but 4and20 blackbirds consistently offers a critique from the portion of the left that’s not covered in the press and rarely seen in other blogs. Some of their highlights from 2013 include:
- Judy Smith made Missoula and Montana a better place
- Civil Rights Violations Aren’t a Problem for City Attorney Jim Nugent
- Why Rape Culture is Winning
What I appreciate most about D Gregory Smith’s From Eternity to Here is that it combines passionate advocacy for justice with an equally powerful dose of compassion. While these may stretch the definition of political just a bit, they are great pieces of writing. Some of my favorite posts from the site in 2013 include:
MT Streetfigher says that it’s about “politics with a punch” and the site often lives up to its tag line, with hard-hitting pieces about Republican hypocrisy and venality.
- Zinke Used SOFA PAC As Personal Piggy Bank
- Daines Receives Massive Contribution From Koch Brothers
- Hagstrom ‘Is Getting Fat Off The People He’s Taking Benefits From’
If you aren’t reading the Barrett for SD47, you’re missing out on some of the most insightful commentary available on economic issues facing Montana.
You may be more familiar with Mike Jopek from his writing in the Flathead Beacon, but I have really enjoyed following his blog, which contains those pieces and more.
The Western Word, by Jackie Brown, represents the perspective of Republicans when they weren’t overrun by the TEA Party. I don’t always agree with his point of view, but almost always enjoy his writing.
Left in the West, the blog that really putted Montana blogs on the map, is still going strong, on software I’m surprised still runs.
The Button Valley Bugle might be from the last best imaginary place, but I wouldn’t mind teaching for the Fighting Pikas one day.
The Montanafesto blog doesn’t seem to be active at the moment, but I sure enjoyed their coverage of the Olsens in Billings.
I know I am leaving some blogs and some excellent posts out. Some formerly political blogs seem to have shifted focus or even vanished, and there are new blogs I probably haven’t run across this year. I just managed to notice yesterday that Moorcat was blogging again, for instance. Please let me know in the comments if I missed an especially interesting, provoking, or just plain unusual post.