It’s bittersweet this year to offer my nominations for the 2012 Netroots Awards. That’s because the godfather of these awards, Kenneth Quinnell, is moving on from his blog. The move is not surprising, but it is still a sad moment, nevertheless. In fact, this year’s awards could be the very last.
In 2010, this site was voted Best Local Blog, while I was recognized for having the Best Twitter account, for Best Use of Social Media, for writing the Best Ongoing Series of stories. In 2011, unable to win the same awards two years in a row, SaintPetersBlog was voted Best National Blog and Best State Blog in Florida and I was recognized for writing the Best Post of the year.
I remain honored to have had my work recognized and honored by my colleagues in the blogosphere.
This year, I asked Quinnell to discard any nomination me or my work receive. As I’ve explained before, I no longer belong. I am still a progressive, especially on civil, gay, human and women’s rights, but I am as far removed from the Democratic Party as I have been in quite a while.
Certainly, there are those who are more deserving. These are some of my nominations:
1. Best National Blog: Blog written by Floridians that covers primarily national politics. This is one of the categories won by SaintPetersBlog.com last year, although I really don’t consider my blog a national blog. In fact, I am hard-pressed to find many blogs written by Floridians that cover national politics. My nominee here is Bark Bark Woof Woof because of its pure readability. Clear, quick, sharp. With an opinion. In other words, what a blog is suppose to be: Offer up an opinion on whatever is dominating MSNBC/Fox at that moment and move on. Is Bark Bark Woof Woof must-read for the media and political elite? Probably not, but I don’t think its author is writing for that audience. The blog is simpler — and better — than that.
2. Best State Blog: Blogs about statewide politics in Florida. Again, this was one of the categories won by SaintPetersBlog.com last year. This year’s winner should be, in a runaway, the new kid on the block, The Political Hurricane written by Kartik Krishnaiyer and Dave Trotter. At its heart, the Political Hurricane captures online what thousands of Democrats in Florida are likely thinking: How come we keep losing to the Republicans? How did Rick Scott win? How can we stop Marco Rubio? Why aren’t there better Democratic state legislative candidates? The answers aren’t pretty, but Kartik and Dave seem to realize there are times for scalpels and there are times for cleavers. And cut away they do, dissecting state and local Democratic politics better than anyone not named Steve Schale. The Political Hurricane is, by far, the best non-media political blog to come along in quite a while.
3. Best Local Blog: Blogs about city/county/regional politics in the state of Florida. One of the gems stored away in my Google Reader is a link to Rick’s Blog which covers Pensacola politics. I imagine it’s not easy to be a blogger in a town like Pensacola, so removed from much of the rest of the state. But Rick Outzen does more with his blog than other bloggers blessed with covering busier cities.
4. Best Media Blog: Blogs written by professional journalists at Florida publications. Sure, the Tampa Bay Times‘ Buzz is the gold-standard by which all other Florida media blogs are judged but, pound-for-pound, what Matt Dixon and Co. at the Florida Times-Union does with PolitiJax deserves recognition.
5. Best Professional Blog: Blogs written by state or local political parties, candidates or party operatives in Florida. I think it’s silly to offer a category for “professional” blogs, thereby implying that other blogs are somehow amateur. Accordingly, I’ll pass on nominating someone here.
6. Best Party Website: Best Florida-wide website associated with a political party or political party unit (such as a caucus or coalition). I’m not cranky, I just don’t really now much about this category. I don’t visit the Escambia County Democratic Party website, for example, so I’ll pass here.
7. Best Candidate Website: Anyone running for statewide or local office in Florida can win this one. This category should be divided into two categories, one for statewide and one for local. Certainly one of the best websites I’ve visited is Patrick Murphy’s. Wanna see a good local site, check out VoteKenWelch.com.
8. Best Local Party Website: This one is for Florida DECs, clubs or local chapters of statewide caucuses or coalitions. The website designed for the Pinellas Democratic Party’s Kennedy-King Dinner was just perfect.
9. Best Interest Group Website: Any Florida-based nonparty activist, charitable or grassroots group.
10. Best Writer: Anyone whose writings is published at any of the above websites is eligible for this one. Winners should have one or more of the following qualities: good grammar and presentation, provides original reporting, has a good sense of humor, shows creativity, has a strong personal touch, or has an effect on the real world because of their writing. This is the one award I wish I would have won by now, but, alas, there are much better writers out there than me. One of them, Benjamin Kirby of The Spencerian, is my nomination here. When I think of Ben’s writing, I think of the scene in the West Wing when Sam (Rob Lowe) is asked who his favorite non-fiction writer is, with an answer like David McCullough or Jon Meachem expected to be given. Instead, he replies that his favorite writer is his colleague, Toby. That’s how I feel about Ben. Yes, there are many, many more famous political writers out there, but Ben Kirby is someone who speaks to me.