Monday, February 25, 2008

Captain Ed Joins Hot Air!

In January I was perplexed by Captain Ed Morrissey's counterintuitive endorsement of Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

Not only was the Captain's logic in the endorsement strained - considering how it was largely based on Romney's purported superior (but questionable) conservative creditials - it looked as well to perhaps have been motivated more by material interests than the ideological. As I noted
at the time:

I respect Ed Morrissey tremendously. He's an outstanding political analyst (wrong only on occasion), and frankly I'm blown away by his blogging fecundity and intellectual scope.

But I can't help wondering if his selection of Romney reflects the path of least resistance.

I mean, he's among the top voices on the right side of the blogosphere, and he's apparently got some pretty big aspirations in radio broadcasting. So why rock the boat? The Rush-bots are unforgiving, you wouldn't want to alienate those bedrock conservatives!
Well, in all humility, let me just say I nailed that one: Michelle Malkin's announced this morning that the Captain will be joining Hot Air, one of the premier conservative blogging platforms on the web, as a regular contributor.

Here's the story,
from Michelle:

Hot Air is proud to welcome blogger extraordinaire Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters to the staff. He’ll start cross-posting here today and we’re opening up comment registration to help bring CQ members into the fold. (Go here to register.) In the next few weeks, Ed will close down CQ and make Hot Air his exclusive home.

Ed began blogging at Captain’s Quarters in 2003. During the past five years, his work has been published in the Washington Post, New York Post, New York Times, Weekly Standard, and other national publications. In 2007, Ed made the leap to full-time employment in New Media when he became political director for Blog Talk Radio. You can see all of his past work in the
archives at Captain’s Quarters.

Ed has lived in Minnesota for more than ten years after leaving his native California. He and his wife have a son and daughter-in-law finishing their college education and a beautiful five-year-old granddaughter. He has a weekly radio show on Minnesota’s AM 1280 The Patriot every Saturday afternoon.

Ed has been a friend and kindred spirit since I entered the blogosphere. He brings keen political insights, boundless energy and optimism, and invaluable investigative skills/enterprise reporting to the team. His
pioneering citizen journalism helped expose government corruption in Canada and brought down a rotten Canadian Liberal Party administration. He’s been the subject of moonbat cartoonist Ted Rall’s class bigotry and a target of Vanity Fair jerk James Wolcott’s snobbery. Ever the gentleman, Ed joked in response: “Success is when all the right people hate you.”

Hot Air now has two of the hardest working men in the blogosphere on board full-time– and one very lucky boss. As has been the case from launch, we’ll agree on many issues. But not all. We have an eclectic mix of conservative-to-libertarian perspectives, distinctive interests, life experiences, and styles. What unites Allah, Ed, and me: Hot Air’s company goal of informing, entertaining, and keeping you plugged in with piping hot blog commentary, headlines, political analysis, original reporting, video and other multimedia offerings all day, every day.

Learn. Enjoy. Laugh. Share. Vent. Mobilize. And always stay tuned.
I want to first wish the Captain a hearty congratulations!

Being on Malkin's team clearly provides the entree needed to move up in the growing conservative media community in radio and alternative journalism platforms on the web (for more on similar media developments, see
the New York Times' story on progressive blogger Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, via Memeorandum).

But I'd also note further that the Captain's new voyage raises important questions of blogging journalism and integrity. Malkin's brand is perhaps the most in-your-face style of take-no-prisoners conservatism around. Ed Morrissey, on the other hand, is a voice of conservative reason who often works hard to pull right-wing bloggers back from the brink of extremism.

So it's not unreasonable to speculate as to how things will work out for both Morrissey and Hot Air.

The Captain obviously will now have an even bigger venue for the distribution of his political commentary, which is frankly
some of the best on the web.

Yet at the same time, with the nature of Hot Air's centrality in the far-right echo chamber (and its considerable contributions to phenomena like the recent outburst of "
McCain Derangement Syndrome"), there's some risk that Morrissey might lose his critical stance of right-of-center moderation, getting pulled - as in quicksand - down into Malkin's right-wing vortex.

On the other hand, Morissey might have the opposite offect on Hot Air. While he's not likely to turn Michelle Malkin into a Rockefeller Republican anytime soon, those conservatives who like good, incisive commentary - and
those who realize that purity at the expense of victory this November would be a colossal mistake - the Captain might succeed in adding a tone of conservative statesmanship to the debates among the right-wing commentariat.

Let's hope things develop along this second track I've laid out.

See also Morrissey's farewell post at Captain's Quarters: "
The Road Goes Ever On," as well as the additional commentary at Memeorandum.