Kevin Drum

American journalist

Kevin Drum
Born (1958-10-19) October 19, 1958 (age 65)
Long Beach, California, U.S.

Kevin Drum (born October 19, 1958) is an American journalist. Drum initially rose to prominence through the popularity of his independent blog Calpundit (2003–2004). He later was invited to launch a blog, Political Animal (2004–2008), for the Washington Monthly. He held a writing and blogging position at Mother Jones magazine from 2008 to 2021, before returning to independence with his Jabberwocking blog. He was born in Long Beach, California and currently lives in Irvine, California.


Drum graduated from Pacifica High School, in Garden Grove, California, then attended Caltech for two years before transferring to California State University, Long Beach, where he received his bachelor's degree in journalism in 1981.[1] While at CSULB he served as city editor of the university's student run newspaper, The Daily 49er.[1]



After graduating from college, Drum worked at RadioShack for several years,[1] becoming a store manager in Costa Mesa, California, in 1983.[2] He subsequently got a technical-writing job with a local technology company,[1] becoming a product manager at Emulex.[3] In 1992 he began working at Kofax Image Products, an Irvine, California-based supplier of application software and image processing products.[4] In 2000 he was promoted from the position of VP for Marketing,[5] becoming the general manager of the Ascent Software Business Unit within Kofax.[6][4] In 2001 he moved to newly created position with Dicom New Ventures, the business development arm of the Dicom Group, Kofax's parent company.[7] He quit in 2002 to become a marketing consultant; he gave that up in 2004 to concentrate full-time on writing.[1]


Drum's blogging started in 2003, with his independent blog, Calpundit. On a Friday in March he posted[8] a photo of his cat Inkblot as an antidote to stressful politics thus inventing Friday cat blogging, a practice that was soon adopted by many blogs.[9] The Washington Monthly, which wanted a blog, hired Drum in 2004 to launch Political Animal.

Drum defended Hillary Clinton during her email controversy, stating that her actions were "non-scandalous"[10] and that she is "honest to a fault when discussing policy."[11]

The Iraq war

Drum supported the 2003 Iraq War in its early stages, but just before the United States launched its attack, he changed his mind. He said, "Before the war started I switched to opposition on practical grounds (i.e., that George W. Bush's approach was incapable of accomplishing the goals it was meant to accomplish). Since then, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that, in fact, I should have opposed it all along on philosophical grounds: namely that it was a fundamentally flawed concept and had no chance of working even if it had been competently executed."[12][13]

Lead and crime

Drum published a series of blogs with evidence that suggests a link between crime and environmental lead, including the link between the decline in US crime rates and the phaseout of leaded gasoline.[14] The theory was popularized by public health researcher Jessica Reyes[15] and economist Rick Nevin;[16] Drum's thesis was criticized by Jim Manzi in January 2013;[17] Drum has continued to document new evidence in support of the theory.[18]


In a 2017 blog post for Mother Jones discussing then-recently published research on public perceptions of the homeless, Drum stated:

The researchers solved their conundrum by suggesting that most people are disgusted by the homeless. No kidding. About half the homeless suffer from a mental illness and a third abuse either alcohol or drugs. You’d be crazy not to have a reflexive disgust of a population like that.[19]

Stephen Piston, one of the authors of the research, objected, claiming that Drum’s article had “profoundly misinterpreted” their research, saying:

We argue that media coverage of homeless people often portrays them as unclean or diseased, which activates disgust among the general public. But [Drum] cites our research as proof that homeless people are inherently disgusting — which perpetuates the very problem in journalism our research was trying to solve.[20]


In an interview with Norman Geras, Drum said that his intellectual heroes were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes, Edward R. Murrow and Charles Darwin. He also considers Benjamin Franklin his all-time favorite political hero.[12]

Drum married in 1993;[1] he and his wife Marian[21] have no children.

On October 24, 2014, Drum posted that he was undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma.[22] On October 18, 2016, he updated readers that it had been two years since his diagnosis and he was "still alive and kicking."[23] In August 2018 he reported that his multiple myeloma remained well under control.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Coker, Matt (March 12, 2014). "Blogging Badass: Kevin Drum | OC Weekly". OC Weekly. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Drum, Kevin (April 5, 2017). "Lunchtime photo". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Brownstein, Mark (January 2, 1989). "Coprocessor to Let Dumb Terminals Access Nets". InfoWorld. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Hee-Won Lim Will Manage Disneyland Pacific Hotel". Los Angeles Times. August 22, 2000. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  5. ^ "Kofax acquires technology rights from RAF". KMWorld. August 26, 1999. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Lexmark & Kofax Link Devices to Electronic Document Management Systems - WhatTheyThink". Press release. May 10, 2001. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  7. ^ "Executive Changes". Bank Systems & Technology. July 11, 2001. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  8. ^ Drum, Kevin (March 7, 2003). "ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS". Calpundit. Archived from the original on October 20, 2003.
  9. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (October 28, 2004). "On Fridays, Bloggers Sometimes Retract Their Claws". New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  10. ^ Drum, Kevin (March 27, 2016). "Hillary Email Scandal Continue To Be Dumb But Non-Scandalous". Mother Jones.
  11. ^ Drum, Kevin (March 10, 2016). "Hillary Clinton's Honesty Problem Is Not What You Think It Is". Mother Jones.
  12. ^ a b Geras, Norman. Interview with Kevin Drum, August 19, 2005.
  13. ^ "Four Responses to "What to Do in Iraq: A Roundtable"". Foreign Affairs. July 11, 2006. Archived from the original on July 13, 2006.
  14. ^ Kevin Drum (January–February 2013). "America's Real Criminal Element: Lead". Mother Jones. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  15. ^ Reyes, J. W. (2007). "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime" (PDF). The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. 7. doi:10.2202/1935-1682.1796.
  16. ^ Nevin, R. (2000). "How lead exposure relates to temporal changes in IQ, violent crime, and unwed pregnancy" (PDF). Environmental Research. 83 (1): 1–22. Bibcode:2000ER.....83....1N. doi:10.1006/enrs.1999.4045. PMID 10845777. S2CID 18983793.
  17. ^ "Lead and Crime". National Review. January 10, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  18. ^ Drum, Kevin (February 1, 2018). "An updated lead-crime roundup for 2018". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  19. ^ Drum, Kevin. "Are people disgusted by the homeless?". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  20. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (August 1, 2017). "Scholars Say Mother Jones Distorted Their Research for Anti-Homeless Article". The Intercept. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  21. ^ Drum, Kevin (October 16, 2018). "California's Proposition 5: Just another dumb giveaway to the elderly rich". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  22. ^ Drum, Kevin. "Friday Cancer Blogging". Mother Jones. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  23. ^ Drum, Kevin. "A Special Post For My Sister". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  24. ^ Drum, Kevin (August 28, 2018). "Health update". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 26, 2018.

External links

  • Kevin Drum's blog at Jabberwocking
  • Kevin Drum interview at The Potomac Journal
  • Kevin Drum on Facebook
  • Kevin Drum on Twitter Edit this at Wikidata
Authority control databases Edit this at Wikidata
  • VIAF
  • Germany
  • United States