You Read It Here First, Maybe

Nearly seven years ago, I started writing opinion columns online, and kept at it until late 2000. I had never heard of “blogs,” and I didn’t know of anybody else who was doing such a crazy thing. I did it for two reasons: to make myself write more, and to get some exposure for my non-sports writing. From the beginning, I made myself a promise about the content of those columns: I wasn’t going to repeat anybody. I was going to try and make a point in each column that I hadn’t heard or read previously from another pundit. Often times I failed in those columns, sometimes I succeeded, but I always made an honest effort to say something I hadn’t read elsewhere.

I knew I was keeping that promise when I started seeing points that I’d made in columns by people like George F. Will and Thomas Sowell. My readership was tiny, around 40-50 people (with the exception of sports columns, which often got hits in the high hundreds), so I had no illusions of those figures actually having read my stuff–and I certainly had no delusions that they had cribbed anything from my uber-obscure web site. But I will confess to getting a major buzz whenever I read a Krauthammer or Krystol hitting a topic with the same take that I’d written myself, in obscurity, a couple of weeks earlier.

All of which is a long and annoying build-up to the following. From a post I made here on August 20, suggesting a line of attack for Bush to use in the October debates:

“I also think you owe our real allies, the ones who’ve fought and bled right alongside our own troops, an apology. It does not befit a United States Senator, much less a president, to refer to the British and Poles and Australians and Japanese and South Koreans and all our other truest friends as ‘fraudulent’ or ‘coerced.’ They are free people who have honorably fought at our side, and they deserve our deepest thanks, not your insults.”

From George W. Bush’s speech last night:

“Again, my opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America’s allies, quote, a “coalition of the coerced and the bribed.” That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador (news – web sites), Australia, and others