Independent blogs
November 13, 2011 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Looking for some independent political blogs on US politics

Can anyone recommend a some good, independent political blogs from well-respected authors? I'm looking for some frequently updated blogs from independents, or moderates who avoid the bombastic, one-sided views that permeate American politics these days. I'm also trying to find one from a well-regarded author who is critical of both sides of the aisle.
posted by rryan to Law & Government (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't say that he is independent, as he explicitly self-identifies as a conservative, but Daniel Larison's Eunomia blog is excellent. It's been quite a while since I regularly read it, but Obsidian Wings has long been a solid left-leaning blog. While it was originally co-founded by one of the contributors to RedState as an exercise in forging a bipartisan blog, he eventually left and many of the conservative posters eventually drifted off. It's definitely suffered from the attrition of many of its original writers, but it's still going strong.

I've not had much luck finding genuine "independent" or "moderate" blogs, but both of these blogs seem to do a good job of avoiding tribalist chest-thumping and bombast. They also seem more than willing to take either party or camp to task for mistakes, terrible decisions, and hypocrisies.
posted by verb at 7:47 AM on November 13, 2011

I'm not sure what to call Andrew Sullivan: a technocratic-spiritual gay conservative? But he's definitely not devoted to either major political party.
posted by vasi at 7:52 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Glenn Greenwald. Former Constitutional and civil rights litigator, will now effectively ruin your day whenever he blogs about the state of US politics.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:22 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nate Silver's Five Thirty Eight is a blog that was picked up by the New York Times. It's mostly politics, with an occassional sprinkle of sports or other noteworthy events tossed in. This blog is very heavy on the statistics but it's a fascinating read.
posted by azpenguin at 8:41 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Academic political science blog commentary on current events as well as more general political science stuff - Monkey Cage
posted by quodlibet at 9:17 AM on November 13, 2011

Ann Althouse is pretty independent.

She's got some sort of relationship to MeFi as I recall...her son is a member here or something like that...
posted by dfriedman at 9:25 AM on November 13, 2011

I don't spend much time reading political blogs these days, partly becasue there's just not much going on other then the republican primary. Matt Yglesias isn't independent (he's pretty liberal) but he's someone who blogs more about policy then politics and always blogs in a very 'logical' evidence based way. Interestingly, he usually doesn't criticize praise candidates directly because he works for a think tank, and he can't be getting paid for actual electioneering.

That said I'm not sure if you are really going to find too many 'moderate' blogs out there. The thing is, if you actually think closely about politics it's impossible to stay moderate. Someone like Glenn Greenwald does bash both sides, but you could hardly call him a moderate. On the other hand you have someone like Nate Silver who covers elections, polling, fund raising and that kind of thing but doesn't spend much time criticizing anyone.
posted by delmoi at 9:51 AM on November 13, 2011

Radley Balko is a libertarian who focuses primarily on criminal justice issues. He agrees sometimes with traditionally "lefty" views, such as abolishing the death penalty and lowering incarceration rates, and sometimes with traditionally "righty" views such as limiting overregulation (which often leads to overcriminalization). He writes for the Huffington Post, and also at Plus, several times a week, he posts cool new music and photos of his adorable dog.
posted by decathecting at 9:52 AM on November 13, 2011

You will have to elaborate on what you mean by independent and moderate. People have strong views on right and wrong. If the two views are slavery vs abolition, is the moderate view that we should have a little bit of slavery? If the two views are invade Iraq vs don't invade Iraq, is the moderate view that we should just bomb half of Iraq. If the two views are pro-choice or pro-life is the moderate view that we let some third person make the choice for us? If the two views are torture or no torture, is the moderate view that some torture is okay? If the two extremes are that the world is flat and the world is round, what is the moderate, independent non-one-sided view.

Independent or moderate can be seen as the inability to make difficult decisions or else a case of being so uninformed or confused that one gives up and just guesses that the truth lies somewhere between the extremes, regardless of which is right or wrong.

Perhaps it would help to understand where you are coming from if you could give a few examples of those you think of as bombastic and one-sided.
posted by JackFlash at 9:59 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: never rely on a single source to form your opinion, there is no single source out there I would trust for a second to form my political opinion. Finding the truth in any one situation is about exploring it from multiple angles, up close, birds eye, the past and 5, 10, 20 years out. It's unfortunate but due to the pressure to produce copy every single day pretty much all political commentators get sucked into the vortex of what Jon Stewart coined as children chasing soccer balls. NO issue is black and white and if you want to be truly informed you will form your opinions slowly after culling as much first person information as possible. When I find an issue I want to know more about I'll search out long form magazine/newspaper articles as a primary jumping off point. You want to find someone who spent some time and got their boots on the street to interview those directly affected. Someone who sits on a computer all day is more cheerleader than a journalist and can be more easily affected by the prevailing wind. Always remember the closer you get to the mouth of a river the less chance you'll be able to identify anything about its source.
posted by any major dude at 10:53 AM on November 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all for the time and input. I get that my own bias colors my impressions and opinions. I've got a bunch of blog feeds from such sources as Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast, and have just subscribed to the Red State.

I was just trying to find a blog that, in general, doesn't fall into one camp or another on general ideas. I don't mind if they are Republican or Democrate, just that they don't dismiss the other side based on on simply being one or another.

I'm just tired of watching Fox or MSNBC and hearing the same stuff day after day. I'm trying to find discource that is productive and reasonable.

I'm culling through the sources mentioned- and thanks again!
posted by rryan at 9:01 AM on November 14, 2011

rryan, I might be a bit biased as well, but I'd suggest steering around RedState if you're looking for reasonably issue/policy/philosophy oriented material. It's a pretty staunchly partisan source and once you're on their mailing list you're pretty much assured of daily fund raising pitches from Republican primary candidates. No joke.

Among other things, RedState went through a period of switching web site CMS's a couple of times, each time blaming technology-controlling liberals for not giving conservatives good technical support. It was a little odd.
posted by verb at 1:30 PM on November 14, 2011

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