Sunday, January 3, 2010

Interview With Smitty from The Other McCain

Jumping in Pools is proud to present its 36th interview in our series. Smitty writes for the Other McCain, one of the best political sites on the net. Smitty's views on everyday policy and news helps us cope with what's going on around us. Special thanks for this interview.

From the Other McCain:

Smitty is a full-time contractor doing un-glamorous IT sorts of things. He started off as an AN/UYK-7 technician in the Navy, and graduated from the same college as Stacy’s more famous cousin.

After a link on Instapundit led him to The Other McCain in August of 2008 (or so), he developed a frequent commenting habit. Subsequent to CPAC ‘09, he started hanging around Stacy entirely too much, leading to catastrophic reputation damage. Unable to fight the lure of the blog, he determined that he should try to borrow as much of Stacy’s mojo as possible, because six children is a worthy goal.

1. What has been you most gratifying experience writing on the Other McCain?

Seeing other people whom I respect quote my various mumblings.

2. Explain when and why the decision was made to move to a WordPress format.

Stacy mentioned it here. In summary, month ago, he caved in to peer pressure. As I'm a sailor, let me put it in Clausewitzian terms: Stacy set the policy, and I did the research and presented him with the strategy.
I have very few negative things to say about Blogger. It got the job done. We could have probably done more with it, CSS wise, but I wasn't going to invest gobs of time into that. We initially went to a free site. Then we realized that the limitations were more restrictive than Blogger, so I asked around. Veteran blogger Jimmie Bise suggested Silver Logic, which proved to be a good choice, as we needed a bit of hands-on from the provider to get the domain squared away. Forward Focus Media was also gracious.

3. What has been President Obama's largest success in his term of office?

On the foreign policy front, I think managing to find away to pay attention to popular opinion on Honduras could be it. The administration's policy of supporting Zelaya was bizarre, and locating a device whereby they could quietly, grudgingly, do the Right Thing was mildly amazing.
Domestically? I think retaining Robert Gates as SECDEF was probably the difference between being unready and a total non-starter. Keeping at least one person in the cabinet with a clue, and in a post like SECDEF, has been about the only glimmer of wisdom I can think of.

4. Failure?

I completely disagree with BHO's Weltanschauung. It is unlikely that I'd agree with him about the existential state of man, and the desired policy prescriptions based upon that. His ideas are a bug so great as to be a feature. Either Americans, as a community, will organize for liberty and survival, or join him on a great Marxist funeral pyre, replete with pseudo-Skynyrd dirge: "Un-Free Jail-Bird".

5. Any advice for aspiring bloggers?
  • Blog. Stacy's megahit treatise is worthy of study, but, in the absence of posts, means little.
  • Add some value. My answer to the first question applies at least a little bit to everyone. People have egos. Feed them. Throw in a technical point if you know what you're on about. If I'm making a literary reference, it's good to pull in Wikipedia so that, even if the main point of the post fell on deaf ears, at least there was a tidbit to learn.
  • Quote people, and attribute when you do. If you make a vaguely original connection between two ideas, and write the Immaculate Post, and then I mooch your clever alliterative run without giving your any linky-love, you will understand the reason for this point.
  • Pursue clarity. This blog itself caused a minor kerfuffle not long back by posting something that became broadly misinterpreted. Embarrassing people whom you'd prefer to befriend is a policy associated with the Obama Administration.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously. Take other people and their feelings seriously, but don't ascribe evil motives quickly. Under-react when people behave in an irritating fashion. Unless you're paying somebody for services, They Owe You Nothing, and it's immature to throw that hissy when they block you on Twitter, don't reciprocate linkage, don't respond to emails, &c. Shake it off.
  • Brevity. Stacy McCain has a style and a presence that can hold a reader for a couple thousand words. He also has ludicrous experience. Keep blogging. You'll get there. He also reads what he's writing aloud.
  • Measured tone. Potty mouth, in my opinion, is a habanera pepper. I like the legal bloggers because they maintain a serious demeanor even when brutally ripping some nitwit.

  • 6. What is frustrating about writing on a blog?

    Time. Now that it's a stand-alone site, we own everything forward of the kernel. I've graduated from reader to writer to admin. Blogging with Stacy is a tremendous blessing. I'd probably drift back into software coding if I didn't enjoy the synergy of blogging with him. Sometimes you want to just punt on the details and run around putting up one-liners on others' posts instead.
    It's also a shame I didn't know Stacy years ago. "The Other McCain" is the brand, but I thought that "The McCain Mutiny" would have been a measurably cooler title. It's not really worth bothering Stacy's pretty head over. The point is that a blog is not one of those things that achieves a "done" state, like knitting a sweater. There is no sense of arrival. There are never enough clicks. Those possessed of bogus ideas will never cease promoting their wrongheadedness.

    7. What is your favorite article that you've written?

    Well, after two bits of farce in the form of OediPOTUS Wrecks (the Obama Administration cast as Greek tragedy) and Waiting for O-Dough (Stacy and I get our Beckett on), I went for something more wholly original. Czar d'Oz, in three words, is an apocalyptic train wreck. As we have some more room to work, I will probably polish and re-publish them on The Other McCain. I should also like to do a dead tree version for sale at some point. In the shape of a dartboard. Did you read the reviews? I'm the literary Spinal Tap.

    Bookmark our site!
    Bookmark and Share
    Consider advertising on our site!