Web Exclusives: More

June 6, 2001:

Political junkies create Web site for opinion and analysis

John McIntyre '91 and Tom Bevan '91 offer a wide range of views, including their own, at www.realclearpolitics.com

By Rob MacKay '89

After having met when juniors, it didn't take long before John McIntyre and Tom Bevan realized that they shared an addiction which couldn't be overcome. Now, the two '91ers have joined forces in an attempt to reach out to others with the same affliction.

"We're political junkies and obsessive newspaper readers," says McIntyre, who majored in economics at Princeton. "So we decided that we would help people like us who don't have the time to cruise around the Web, but want to read the best articles of the day. We set up a one-stop shop where we do all the hunting, so others don't have to."

Launched in August of 2000, www.realclearpolitics.com provides Internet users with commentary and analysis of current events, featuring links to five-eight daily articles -- usually op-ed pieces or editorials -- from newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, or the Washington Post. It also offers updates on Congressional happenings, transcripts from political talk shows, polls, and McIntyre and Bevan's own spin on things. Then there are links to other sources, the affiliate programs with amazon.com and the National Review and RealClearMarkets, a paid subscription service for those interested in Wall Street.

The articles selected invariably demonstrate McIntyre and Bevan's political bent, about which they are unabashedly forthcoming. The Web site itself informs that " RealClearPolitics attempts to counterbalance the common liberal bias of the mainstream press by providing a more realistic look at the issues. Above all, we believe in freedom, personal responsibility, and the free market capitalist system -- [but do] not receive monetary support from any political party or outside interest groups."

Some of the articles they have chosen recently include: "Bush's Political Smarts," from the March 7, 2001 New York Times; "Jackson's PUSH Took State Money, Didn't Do the Job," from the March 6, 2001 Chicago Sun-Times; "Clinton Library Fundraiser Helped Perjurer Get Pardon," from the March 4 Washington Post; and "Democrat Slams Party for Stance on Tax Relief," from the February 28, 2001 Washington Times.

"I'm not really a die-hard Republican because my interests are less on social issues, more on taxing and spending," explains McIntyre, who used to work for the Chicago Board of Options Exchange and stills does a little trading on the side. "But I definitely don't want the government telling me what to do with my property...Nevertheless, any political junkie -- even a liberal -- would enjoy our site because the topics we choose are current."

Use of www.realclearpolitics.com was greatest during the presidential election and its aftermath. In November it registered 2.7 million user sessions; in December there were 1.8 million. Bevan, a history major who used to work in advertising, estimates that the site averages about 700,000 user sessions a day, a number he thinks will grow as the date for elections for Senate, Congress and various gubernatorial races draw near.

Always a team, Bevan and McIntyre haven't assigned themselves titles and are the only full-time employees at RealClear (except for a Webmaster). Having finally found the appropriate professional outlet for their passion, they both claim to be in it for the long run. But they have appeared on radio talk shows and would welcome the opportunity to be talking heads on a Sunday morning television show. Will this eventually lead to one (or both) of them seeking elected office?

"I really don't think so," says Bevan, "neither of us has that kind of ambition. Politics is so calculating, so staged. We try to unspin it. Besides, I've now written almost 100 articles since we began. I've gotten used to speaking my mind, I wouldn't be able keep my mouth shut when I had to."

Rob MacKay, is an editor at Timesnewsweekly, a weekly newspaper in Queens, New York. He can be reached at robertazo@hotmail.com.