This was a nice surprise yesterday.
The Washington Note received a terrific write-up in the new Hill newspaper, Politico that has hired so many high-powered DC political writers away from the Washington Post and other publications — including John Harris and Jim VandeHei.
Here is a fun excerpt:
“The Washington Note is one of the better blogs coming out of the Capital right now,” e-mailed Helene Cooper, who covers the State Department for The New York Times. “Steve has been first to report a number of scoops, particularly on the diplomatic beat, where he seems to know just about everybody.”
The blog started getting hits in early 2005 when President Bush nominated Bolton — a move Clemons called everything but boneheaded.
“You can’t forgive President Bush for nominating John Bolton when John Bolton is so hostile towards alliances,” said Clemons, describing the former ambassador as a “turbo-charged Jesse Helms.”
And he urged readers to telephone Sen. Dick Lugar, the Indiana Republican who was then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. More than 3,000 did, and the senator postponed what had appeared to be a rushed hearing.
“All the people reading my blog looked at this as a big victory,” explained Clemons. “Nobody had won against President Bush on any foreign policy issue. I mean even a meeting date. It was just remarkable.”
Many of Clemons’ blog readers, though, are adoring fans.
“He’s kind of like obsessed with Bolton,” said Eli Lake, a reporter for The New York Sun whom Clemons calls his “intellectual opponent.”
Lake, who covers international security, said that during the Bolton issue he checked Clemons’ blog daily, labeling it “the headquarters of the lynch Bolton central command.”
Still, the self-described “foreign policy nerd” said TheWashingtonNote.com is on his list of “political blog favorites.”
And Lake isn’t the only one taking note. At a Senate hearing on Bolton, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., congratulated Clemons on his online success.
Clemons even succeeded in getting Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., to release a statement saying, “John Bolton is not the diplomat for the job. Americans deserve someone they can be proud of acting in this capacity.”
More later — but for those immediately around Dupont Circle in Washington, come join me for a lunch discussion in one hour (at 12:30 pm) (and we are providing the lunch — very rare) at the New America Foundation with the Chair for Foreign Policy of the Free Democratic Party in Germany, Werner Hoyer, who will be discussing with me and others whether given what we are seeing at play in the Middle East and the missteps of the U.S., whether the “West” is now in precipitous decline.
— Steve Clemons