If you are one of the thousands of new visitors to the site joining us via the Rob Ford profile in the Toronto Star, welcome!
While you are here, we encourage you to surf through The Recovering Politician, a web site dedicated to civil dialogue, led by those who’ve served in the political arena and now are using their experiences to offer lessons to fix our political system. Here’s a sampling of some of our most popular posts and contributors:
We’ll start with The RP because, well…uh…he paid for that microphone. In his most popular piece, The RP shared his impossible journey to the final table of the World Series of Poker. Over the course of the past year and a half, The RP has explained Why Kentucky Basketball Matters, he’s made The Liberal Case for Israel, outlined Debt Ceilings and Credit Downgrade for Dummies, and shared his Top Five lists for about everything. (Our favorite –The Top Five Jew-ish Gentiles in Pop Culture).
The Cycle‘s very own Krystal Ball, generated considerable reader interest with her first piece about Why We Need More Women in Politics. Krystal should know; her first campaign for office was interrupted by a ridiculous media inquiry into pictures taken of her in college; PG-13 pictures that caused a mini-national-sensation only because of Krystal’s gender.
MSNBC’s commentary crew is also represented by Michael Steele –whom you also know as the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, as well as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Michael has shared with RP readers his vision of the new American Dream, and assessed both President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Our most popular writer, hands down, has been contributing RP and former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith. Jeff’s first piece — the story of his rise into national celebrity, his dramatic fall that resulted in a prison term, and his hopes for redemption — put the RP on the national map, earning recognition from New York magazine’s “Approval Matrix.” Jeff’s followup — about love and sex behind bars — drew in nearly 100,000 readers, literally crashing the Web site. Every few weeks, Jeff offers a political advice column — “Do As I Say” — and just this week, he shares the ugly fate of convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky as he enters prison.
Another familiar face at the site is another former Lt. Governor of Maryland, contributing RP Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Kathleen elucidated her well-versed take on faith and politics, while slamming a then-ascendant Rick Perry for misusing faith, defended Sarah Palin(!), and shared her unique perspective as a member of the nation’s most iconic political family. Her most popular piece was on, of all things, home births.
One of the RP’s most prolific contributing RPs is former Democratic Alabama Congressman turned Republican Artur Davis. Artur explained his decision to switch parties on these pages. He also wrote a fascinating, insightful piece about political authenticity, plunged into the centuries-old debate on race and politics, and explored the Democratic Party’s faith gap. Some of his most popular pieces were book reviews, taking on new works about Harry Truman and Bobby Kennedy. Artur’s not been shy about controversy, angering conservatives by attacking his home state’s “ugly” immigration law, and riling liberals by supporting its new Voter ID law.
Contributing RP and former Missouri state House Speaker Rod Jetton is also one who is not a stranger to controversy. At the peak of his power, Rod was charged with ethics and criminal violations, and while he was cleared of everything, he stepped down to begin his second act. Rod’s 3-part series about his “Success, Scandal and Change” was one of the site’s most widely read, and he concluded the year with a touching 4-part series on his best friend, a fallen Marine. In the middle, he showed off a wry sense of humor in a video interview with his unlikely pal, contributing RP Jeff Smith (you have to see Rod’s imitation of Jeff).
Jason Atkinson, an Oregon State Senator and contributing RP, underwent a different kind of political recovery — he had to withdraw from a promising gubernatorial campaign after he accidentally shot himself while hunting. He writes about the experience — with graphic charts — in “A Real Political Recovery,” but also created an Internet sensation with short films he directed on more successful outdoor adventures fishing for trout in “Big Mo” and “Half Pounder.” He also showed off his own wicked sense of humor, imitating Abe Lincoln and citing the wisdom of Homer…Simpson that is.
Finally, we feel very fortunate — and so is the RP Nation — that The RP convinced his good friend, contributing RP, and former Kentucky Secretary of State, John Y. Brown, III to share his incisive social and political commentary, along with his uproarious sense of humor, at The RP. John Y. helped set the theme and tone of the site with his early piece, “What Do We Do Now?” More recently, we’ve launched a regular feature, John Y.’s Musings from the Middle, in which he shares his wit and wisdom on topics varying from fruitcake to the death penalty to Lindsay Lohan. And just today, he shares a beautiful piece marking the 27th anniversary of his decision to quit alcohol — an inspiration to the entire RP Nation.