Five Years Later….

    It all started five long years ago on this day, December 30, 2002 when sitting at my computer at work waiting for the dismissal to go home for New Year’s Holiday that I set up a website on Blogger. I don;t know quite why, but I enjoyed reading the blogs around back during the 2002 election and had few people who I interacted with who enjoyed politics as much as me. I hadn’t even become involved yet in Republican politics yet in Howard County, MD (that would not come until late 2003). For months, the only people who would read my site were me, my non-Republican brother, my parents, and anyone else I could convince to look at it. In fact, that old blogger site is still available at Blogger for some reason. Eight months in, Dean Esmay of Dean’s World, a man I never met or have met offered to help move anyone who asked off of Blogger to WordPress. I took him up on his offer and started It wasn’t until the middle of last year that I finally got hold of Five years later, the site is up to 7650 posts and over 118,000 comments. So with that in mind and, while I rarely self promote this site (never advertised or begged for a link from anyone), you’ll have to pardon me while I take a look back at some highlights for this site over the past five years.

    My first brush with notoriety that made me realize people actually read this site was back in August 2003 when I linked to a story that the comedian Gallagher was running for Governor in California during the Recall Election. The Gallagher website then linked this site and the number of hits in one day on this site skyrocketed and exceeded what I was normally getting in an entire month. Of course back then, just getting 100 visitors in one day was a big deal for me. Interestingly, I ended up getting an email directly from Gallagher himself offering me free tickets to one of his shows in Maryland simply because I linked his site.

    My next brush with notoriety occurred in October 2004 when John Podheretz mentioned this website in a column in the New York Post. It was a passing reference about the polls I was compiling, but it did include the URL. Unfortunately I never got my hands on a paper copy….

    During that 2004 election, I became obsessed with polling information and it became a staple of this site that exists to this day. My biggest peak in daily visitors occurred right before the 2004 election when I reached over 50,000 unique hits in a single day on the day before the election. This number was repeated a day later and the two days boosted me up to 12th on the TTLB Traffic Ecosystem, albeit for a short two days. The election ended and I fell way down right after that and I have not come close to that figure since. Those around here back then will remember the threads that reached over 500 comments….

    My next brush with notoriety occurred in March 2005 when Hugh Hewitt included me in his new book BLOG. What was interesting about this is that I had no idea it was in there until I actually started reading the book and came across the mention of my site by pure accident while reading. Then there was a second mention later in the book. The mentions were brief, but seeing my name and website appear in a best-selling book was surprising to say the least. Later on, Michelle Malkin also included this site in her book UNHINGED, although I was aware of this prior to actually seeing it in her book. On a more local level, this site, along with some of the other local Howard County, MD websites, has been featured in The Baltimore Sun, The Baltimore Examiner, and The Howard County Times.

    And finally, after 4 and a half months with this site, I finally got my first Instalanche in August of this year which came from this post about John Edwards’ mansion.

    And now for my lowest point and what was my biggest kerfuffle with the local media. It occurred back in March 2005 when, in a fit of rage, called local radio broadcaster Chip Franklin an “Ass”. You can read the original post here, but it boiled down to what I had thought at the time was his backing out of a deal to show up at a meeting of the Howard County Republican Club. He caught wind of my post and let others know he was not too happy about it and then I ended up talking to him directly on the phone to clear things up. In the end, Chip Franklin ended up coming to the HCRC meeting and speaking. It was one of those posts where I typed before I thought things through. Of course, I am still convinced it was my original post that made him change his mind and show up as originally planned, but I haven’t convinced others of that yet…on a side note, Chip Franklin is no longer a radio host in Baltimore.

    It is hard for me to pick a favorite post, so I will just say my favorite time on this site was the period during the 2006 election when I included many posts from things that happened during that election. They ranged from the simple post about the latest sign installation up to a full fledged Blogger Candidates Forum hosted by this site as well as other Howard County blogs on both sides of the political spectrum. It is hard to describe in detail, but some of those posts were the most enjoyable to me personally even if it went over the heads over many of my readers who were from out side Howard County.

    But enough about me. What I love most about this site is that it has become something I enjoy doing everyday. I am not and probably will never be as big as the other major blogs that you hear about, but I don’t think I want to be. This is a hobby for me, not a job, and just is my little space to talk about something I enjoy – politics. Sure I have made a little money on the side, but it barely covers the cost of the sever company I use. I have a real job that pays me quite well and I have no expectation that this will ever be something that I can retire on. I do this site for the pure fun of it. Of course, the site has changed over time, and now mostly focuses on national politics, but I do like to include local politics, football picks, and once in a while, I might show a little of my personality.

    What also makes this site great to put together every morning is the commenters. I am amazed at the quality and range of commenters I have attracted to this site. I don’t even know most of you other than what I read here or, in some cases, if you happen to email me on the side Commenters have included some elected officials on the local level , from Councilpeople to State Delegates and Senators and officials of the Maryland Governemnt as well as a visit early on from Elizabeth Edwards during the 2004 campaign. Once in a while, I have met some of you and become friends and even had relationships with people who I would probably otherwise never know. While I ultimately do this site for myself, I love everyday reading the comments, and sometimes responding, even when the comments have absolutely nothing to do with the original post. Anyway, that is my clumsy way of showing my appreciation for everyone who makes this site an enjoyable experience for me everyday.

    And finally to those who come by and, while not leaving a comments, have bookmarked this site or linked this site in the past, another thank you. I have a respectable 1,000 unique visitors a day, so I know there are many of you out there who, while not commenting, after all these years find yourself coming here to get the latest poll information, or local news information, or (dare I say) football picks. I thank you as well.

    Finally, the most often-asked question I get by email and in the occasional comment is – “Why is it called The Hedgehog Report“. Sorry. Someday I might reveal why, but for now that will remain a secret….

    Oh, and don’t forget the occasional appearance by Calculus….

    Alright, enough navel gazing..again, thanks to everyone and here’s to five more years….

    Posted by Dave at 9:45 am
    Filed under: Administrative | Comments (28)

    28 Responses to “Five Years Later….”

    1. Congratulations Dave. You are FIRST today.

    2. RC says:

      I never saw you call Chip Franklin an ass. That makes me like you more.

    3. Fred says:

      Gallagher! that’s cool!


    4. MDefl says:


      Congrats on 5 great years. I found this site early in 2004 when I typed in a Yahoo search for polls on the 2004 election.

      What I like most about this blog is that the community of commentors is like a family. We will disagree, fight, be petty but in the end this site is remarkably civil. That is not the norm for the internet. Go check out Polipundit or Daily Kos. Unfortunately, they are the standard.

      Here’s to 50 more years!

    5. Rachel says:

      Congrats, Dave!

    6. Tim V says:

      interesting history 🙂
      best wishes for the New Year Dave.
      same goes for all the hedgehoggers
      while I disagree with many of the posters, for the most part I find the comments intersting and intellectually stimulating ( sometimes ) and often humorous…
      all in all this is a very nice site.
      thank you Dave for providing it.

    7. Meaghan says:

      The best site I ever found for polls. Keep up the good work.

    8. Robin Abello says:

      Happy 5th Birthday! You know your blog is very popular when people (like myself) refer to you as Mr. Hedgehog. I’m sure 2008 will be another banner year for your blog with the elections coming up 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    9. Ira says:

      Dave: Add my congrats.

      I don’t post here much but your sites is one of the few blogs I read everyday.

    10. mnw says:

      Hey, Dave

      You ever find out where Polaris went, or why he quit commenting?

    11. Todd says:

      Congrats Dave!

    12. MDefl says:

      I miss Polaris. Perhaps the election season will bring him back. I’ll google him to see if he is posting elsewhere.

    13. Tim says:

      My congrats to you, Mr. Wissing. I viewed this site all through the 2004 Election. I began posting as a regular in May of ’06. It is an honor for this old Donkey to be included in the Hedgehog family.
      Best political blogging site in the Country.

    14. MDefl says:


      I responded to your msm comment in the thread below. My tone is a little bit nasty and I apologize. When I posted that I was also thinking that the Eagles will not sign a #1 receiver in the off-season. That put me in a bad frame of mind.

    15. jones says:

      Nice work Dave.

      May I add you host a fine March Madness Tourney.

    16. pw says:

      Congrats on the site’s anniversary. I’ve been coming here since I was a sophomore in college three years ago.

    17. Bitterlaw says:

      Dave – thanks for the site. I think that the Ravens are fighting hard to not have a better draft pick as a way to honor you.

    18. Hellbelly says:


      I found out about your site via the John Poderhoretz column mentioned above in the New York Post. Sorry that I didn’t keep a hard copy!

      Thank you for the site. I enjoy the give-and-take with the other folks who comment here (even when I don’t agree with some of them).

      I especially thank you (and the folks who comment here) for putting up with my occasional flights of poetic whimsy. It makes the Haverford english major in me feel worthwhile!

      Best of luck in the future!

    19. Corey says:

      Congrats on five years!

      I found this site just a week or so before the 2004 election. At around that time, my usual political blog of choice, was of course overrun by liberals (as it still is) and they were all proclaiming that Kerry was going to win a landslide victory, etc. I got a little tired of constantly hearing that right before the election. I felt they were going to be embarassed, but like any partisan during the closing stages of a close election, I was nervous.

      So, I found this site and it really boosted my optimism, primarily because of the presence of Polaris and several others of my fellow Republicans.

      Anyways, I was hoping to finally hear what the word Hedgehog refers to in the context of this blog and to possibly put aside my fear that it is somehow a tribute to Ron Jeremy.

    20. TN Observation says:

      Dave, thank you for all the time & effort you put in to this blog. I do not comment much, but I try to read every day. I appreciate your efforts and wish you at least 5 more interesting years and a Happy 2008.

    21. Texas Aggies says:

      Congrats Dave! Keep up the good work.

    22. Jake says:

      Congratulations on 5 years of the Hedgehog Dave. You do a nice job here in a lot of ways.

      Although your political point of view is clear, I think you make a genuine effort at fairness and intellectual honesty. That sets the tone for the comments section, where posters are more civil and reasoned than most sites.

      Again, congratulations and nice job! Happy New Year to you and your family.

    23. Tim says:

      No worries, my friend.

    24. lisab says:


    25. Tina says:

      Congratulations and Happy New Year. I wish Go Duke and MBT (I think she recently disappeared – perhaps on vacation)come back soon. Same goes for Mr. Polaris.

    26. MBT says:

      Tina – I am here and it feels good to be missed. Now we just need to find DUKE!!!. I was on vacation in Kentucky visiting family and missed the auspicious 5th anniversary of this site!

      Congrats Dave! Your site spawned the not-so-famous RightPundits site, and porbably some other sites as well. Good work!

    27. wordbones says:

      Five years!
      Congratulations Dave, keep up the good blogging. I’ll buy you a beer to celebrate at our blogtail hour next week!