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From the “Is He Still Alive?” File

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Andrew Gelman:

Kaus is still blogging, not at Slate anymore but at Tucker Carlson’s house. Same old stuff: from the most recent entries, we have “Obama blew it” . . . “Obamacare” . . . “The more voters see of Obama, the more he drops in the polls” . . . “cocooning” . . . “digital hipsters” . . . “Ethnicity Police” . . . “John Edwards” . . . “Hollywood Liberalism” . . . the usual. (Sort of like my blog: I just cycle through the words Bayes, multilevel, rationality, voting, and Tucker Carlson.)

What happened? I blog as an extension of my real job. But is blogging [sic] all that Kaus does? I’m really surprised he didn’t write that book (and I assume he has the connections so that, if he did write the book, he could’ve found a publisher). I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a partisan journalist—-there’s a long and esteemed tradition of this sort of thing—-I’m just surprised Kaus isn’t doing something else. Standing in a trench throwing grenades, that’s gotta get boring after awhile.

It’s hard to say, but I suspect that even the Daily Caller is capable of eventually reaching the conclusion that Kaus is a waste of space.

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  • Kaus is lazy. Easier to keep doing the same old boring shit for whoever’s dumb enough to pay him, than to do the hard work of writing a book.

  • Jack

    His career is a story of monumental failure: started out promising and productive, then stumbled on an innovation – blogging. But he got lazy, stubborn, and was always kind of stupid. I remember him bragging once to Bob Wright, with whom he partnered on the launch of Bloggingheads.tv, that he wrote 3 – count ’em – 3 items on his blog a day, 5 days a week. He thought this was an immense workload. Bob pointed out most items are about a paragraph in length. It’s apparent he puts very little effort into his livelihood.

    It’s interesting to compare him to his old friend Bob (Wright). Bob has been ambitious and hard working and has been rewarded with considerable success. Mickey is lazy and carries the petulant, entitled grudge of a wingnut, and his career has swirled down the drain, dumping him out on some corner of Tucker Carlson’s pathetic wingnut welfare rag.

    • Scott Lemieux

      At least by the end, I’m pretty sure that three per day was a gross exaggeration.

      • Jack

        Indeed. This was back around 2005 or 2006. I think he was referring to his contractual obligation to Slate — to provide at least 3 items per day. He was all huffy about refusing to do more work than that — while insisting that Slate was getting good value for its money.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I don’t know what’s more amazing — the fact that Slate was paying him upwards of six figures for a short post or two a day about the same three topics, or the fact that he walked away from the sinecure.

          • Roger Ailes

            In an NYT Q&A, Kaus said he was making high five figures and was forced to take a 10 percent cut after WaPoCo took over.

            Is there any evidence Kaus walked away voluntarily?

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Man, sounds like he was channelling Bender from Futurama:

          “TWO?! You want me to do TWO THINGS? I’d call my lawyer if it wasn’t so much effort to dial the phone.”

    • McMegan had a whopping two posts the day before she was taking a “months-long” break.

    • MattT

      But he got lazy, stubborn, and was always kind of stupid

      Stupid, huh? Well, what about his plan to win a Democratic Senate primary in California by attacking unions and minorities? People said that was stupid, but who’s Senator now? I don’t feel like checking, but I’m pretty sure it’s Mickey Kaus.

      • Robert Farley

        +1

      • mark f

        You laugh, but I remember lo back thirteen months ago, when Scott caused a crisis by shutting down free speech critizing another blogger, one of the flying Althouse trolls thought Mickey Kaus was not only a sitting senator, but also responsible for Obamacare:

        You’re still pleased with passing a bill you never read, but that has already put our economy into worse shape than ever before? You, like so many of your corrupt and incompetent colleagues, don’t take anything about your job seriously except re-election.

        • Man, that guy could troll the way only an inbred, slack-jawed yokel can troll. HoBo could really take a page or two from lincoln’s book, I tell you what.

          • mark f

            Bizarre but true: not long after that an acquaintance posted something to Facebook about X Hot Dog Place in our city being better than Y Hot Dog Place. Someone named Lincoln TF with the same picture responded that Y was actually better because it’s in the suburbs while X is downtown, followed by a description of city life that would make John Rocker blush and Michael Douglas’s Falling Down character look reasonable.

  • Njorl

    It’s hard to say, but I suspect that even the Daily Caller is capable of eventually reaching the conclusion that Kaus is a waste of space.

    The question is, do they reach that conclusion before or after they realize that The Daily Caller is a waste of space?

    • Jack

      LOL!

    • DrDick

      I actually think that both propositions grossly over estimate the intelligence and reasoning power of everyone associated with the Doily Fucker combined.

  • Here’s Kaus in his early days at DC:

    I also hope that writing for a conservative site will perversely move me a bit back toward the left. My default M.O. seems to be to cruise the web until I find something I disagree with, then blog about it. Since you tend to cruise in your own neighborhood, I suspect I’ll find lots of DC items to react against.

    I wonder how that worked out.

  • Rob

    Keep in mind Kaus was pulling on like 90k at Slate. The joke us on all of us.

    • I’d be willing to spout his kind of crap for half of that. Where do I apply and how much self respect can I keep?

      • The goats hold your self-respect in a blind trust.

        • All of the money went to keeping the Mickster elbow-deep in goats, it is irresponsible not to speculate

    • JupiterPluvius

      Well, on whoever was paying for Slate. It certainly wasn’t me; I have a severe allergy to William Saletan, and my doctor has advised me to avoid Slate forever.

      • TN

        I’d be very curious to know how much he’s making at the Daily Caller. I’d be surprised if it was more than a few hundred bucks a week, since the Caller doesn’t have a whole lot of money, and Kaus doesn’t have a whole lot of value.

  • rea

    I feel bad for his family–he’s inevitably going to lose his job, and then who will support all his kids?

    • Matthew Stevens

      I’m sure there are goat farms that will take them in.

    • kids

      /slow, respectful clap.

      • Matthew Stevens

        Damn. Totally missed that one.

        • rea

          :)

    • Yeah. That was so brilliantly subtle I missed it too. Having said that, The Daily Caller also employs Jim Treacher and Ginni Thomas so it is entirely possible that some are paid minimum wage while others are paid in vodka.

      • Used bow ties?

      • Seitz

        Well, I’m sure an editor as insecure as Tuck a l’orange wants to make sure he doesn’t hire a writing staff than can outclass him. That’s a tall order with this editor, but fortunately, Kaus, Treacher, and Thomas all fit the bill. Especially Treacher, who’s too much of a dick to realize how stupid he is.

      • Dan Coyle

        The way Treacher carries water for his employer, I’m sure he’s so lonely he’ll work for free.

      • Chet Manly

        Jesus, Jim Treacher’s still around?

    • Brautigan

      Whoever it was in charge of such things died and left me the keys. I am thus able to declare Rea winner of the internets

  • Joshua

    Back when I read Slate regularly, back when blogging was all the rage (equivalent to Twitter right now), Kaus’ blog was never more than an afterthought. The dude was a complete joke even then. He had some of the best blogging space on the internets and wasted it.

    Compare him to Yglesias. I mean, Yglesias’ impression of an economist is wearing thin, but at least he’s trying.

  • Alan in SF

    You didn’t answer the question. Is Kaus still alive, or did he just leave his word processor on?

    • Shalimar

      The goats are putting out the blog now. It may be years before we know whether Kaus is alive or dead. They’re Mormon goats.

  • From the Kaus Breitbart piece:

    I still mentally expect to see Andrew again. He’s always around. Nobody was too unimportant for him to argue with for hours. At the height of some controversy, in which he’d be betting his entire operation on the basis of his gut, I’d be stuck in a jam on the San Diego freeway and there he’d be in his Volvo SUV, stuck too, honking and waving while taking one of his four kids home from school. He was one of those people who had so much energy he seemed ubiquitous. Maybe there was more than one!

    I thought we’d all wind up working for him. I didn’t realize until today how unhappy I’d be not to.

    • “Don’t cry for me Breitbartina, the truth is I never left you”

    • Trollhattan

      Cripes. Horrible writing—Kaus haz it. What is this, a triple-negative with a half-twist?

      I didn’t realize until today how unhappy I’d be not to.

  • Roger Ailes

    Yes, if you call that living.

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