Who should follow Bill Kristol at NY Times? ~ dog’s eye view

Let’s admit it.  No one on this blog, and virtually no thinking person, mourns Bill Kristol’s loss of his weekly column at The New York Times.  It is prime real estate, and one can only look at Kristol’s yearlong sinecure there and say:  what in God’s name was the Gray Lady thinking? Mr. Bill Keller, you have got some serious ‘splainin’ to do.   Mr. Andrew Rosenthal (editorial page editor), no snap decisions allowed.  Having Jayson Blair and Judith Miller (she of the quivering aspens) associated with your brand is not enough self-inflicted damage?

So we come not to bury Bill Kristol (although I’m down with that), nor to praise him, but to discuss some replacements for him.  There are thinking and breathing conservatives out there, who observe well and write even better.  The New York Times is in search of a new columnist.

Let’s help in that effort.  I challenge backchannelers to name and claim their conservative columnist candidate to replace the ignoble (but well connected!)  Kristol scion.

To that effect:  I am thinking Christopher Caldwell, now a Financial Times columnist, who is famous for his 1998 “Southern Captivity of the GOP” Atlantic Monthly article.  That one was superbly written; thought for years that David Brooks had penned it.  (That used to be high praise from me.)

Need to reread of “Southern Captivity” to see how it has fared with 10 years time; also some other Caldwell work.

Trivia item:  CCaldwell is Robert (Prince of Darkness) Novak’s son in law, but that cannot fairly be held against him.  If anything, it appears he has strengthened the Novak family gene pool.

SO:  I shall make my case for Caldwell, in coming days.  Unless (dog’s prerogative) I encounter an even better candidate during my investigations.

Any challenges from other backchannelers (or impassioned lurkers) who would nominate another columnist to replace Kristol?

Obviously, the Times cannot do it on their own.  For all we know, they are considering Fred Hiatt (WaPost editorial page editor and neocon masseur; the leading reason I no longer subscribe to Katharine Graham’s once outstanding newspaper).

They need help, folks.  Step up to the plate!

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46 Comments

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46 responses to “Who should follow Bill Kristol at NY Times? ~ dog’s eye view

  1. dnd

    My vote: P. J. O’Rourke. A great, great satirist. Good foil to MoDo.

  2. dog's eye view

    Obama just introduced his Middle Class Task Force, C-Span 1.

    Nate Silver has a fascinating column up today on The Republican Death Spiral — discussing GOP resistance in the House — unanimous votes against 3 Obama/Democratic initiatives (the stimulus package, cable TV transition delay, Lilly Ledbetter: ability to sue over gender-based unequal pay).

    Silver’s analysis is thoughtful; the comments are worth a spin too.

    Several commenters have observed we have gerrymandering to thank for GOP being able to play to the 20% of Americans who are hardcore GOP conservatives — with gerrymandering, that 20% is 50% of far-right congressional districts.

    Lots of other comments too, but I would go after gerrymandering — in a nonpartisan fashion — as a top initiative, were I Obama. (Realize he’s got to fix the economy and healthcare and get us out of 2 wars; keep us safe too, restore the Constitution — so gerrymandering might not be top of his 4-year list.)

    However, it’s an ill that makes too many others possible. And gerrymandering is not sacrosanct when done by Democrats either.

    Doing away with it would go a long way towards restoring accountability and truly contested elections. Seems it might be easier than going that route via campaign finance reform.

    Off the soapbox. Here’s the Nate Silver 538 link.

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/01/republican-death-spiral.html

  3. dog's eye view

    PJ O’Rourke would be fabulous. Wonder if they’re considering him? They should. There’s also been a constituency for Christopher Buckley. Both are great. If they’re overcommitted, maybe they could rotate a column!

  4. Anyone can be a conservative columnist these days, just keep typing out “cut taxes”

  5. dog's eye view

    Well somebody’s doing well in this economy. Even though their revenues are falling lately too.

    “HOUSTON (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago.

    The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which the world’s largest publicly traded oil company set in 2007.”

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EARNS_EXXON_MOBIL?SITE=CAANR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

  6. dnd

    Isn’t Kristol going to WaPo?

  7. dnd

    The middle class task force is a great idea. Having Biden chair it is an even better idea. With a strong middle class the poor do better. So does the rich.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/strongmiddleclass/

  8. dnd

    “So does the rich” should be “So do the rich.” I wish Firefox would correct my grammar 😉

  9. dog's eye view

    Yup, Kristol gets a monthly column at the WaPost. Which says a lot about that publication! (Although it’s still got Dana Priest and several excellent writers; Eugene Robinson as columnist…. but still!!)

  10. Nannymm

    I nominate Brian. He can write “Tax Cuts” twice a week and we can fill in when he needs a break. 😛

  11. Nannymm

    Here’s the link to “Southern Captivity of the GOG:”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/98jun/gop.htm

  12. Nannymm

    That should be GOP

  13. dnd

    “WASHINGTON — Samantha Power, the Harvard University professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who earned notoriety for calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a “monster” while working to elect Barack Obama president, will take a senior foreign policy job at the White House, The Associated Press has learned.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/30/samantha-power-returns-pr_n_162452.html

    Should be an awkward moment when Samantha and Hillary bump into each other in the WH.

  14. Nannymm

    They were seen chatting just the other day at a reception, dnd. No awkwardness was reported.

  15. Nannymm

    Power and Clinton have met at least once since Clinton’s confirmation last week when they both appeared at a State Department ceremony at which Obama announced the appointment of special envoys to South Asia and the Middle East.
    Reporters at the event saw Power and Clinton chat briefly at the end, although the conversation was inaudible.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/30/samantha-power-returns-pr_n_162452.html

  16. dnd

    Glad to hear that Powers and Clinton are talking. These days we need everybody dancing to the same tune.

  17. Nannymm

    I agree that it’s good they can put aside their differences and work together. But I’m not at all surprised by it. After all the repugs did to her and Bill Clinton, Hillary was able to put it aside and work with them when she arrived at the Senate. She even worked well with Lindsey Graham regardless of the fact that he was the House Impeachment Manager. As I understand it they have since become friends. And look at how she and Obama have become close allies.
    I suspect that it was Samantha Powers who was a bit embarrassed by her “monster” comment and that Hillary is the one to put Ms. Powers at ease.
    Unlike the Bush crowd who hold grudges for all eternity, these people are all professionals. No way will they let old slights get in the way of doing their jobs and doing them well. Thank God for that! It’s about time we have some real adults in DC.

  18. Chef Sheila

    Hi guys, checking in….just about to start lunch and then somemore work work work…. At least I don’t have to do dinner tonight….

  19. Nannymm

    I’m off to the slopes. See you all later or tomorrow.

  20. horsedooty

    whats with the tax problems on Obama’s staff?

  21. dog's eye view

    I think Michael Steele’s a decent guy. Cannot believe the GOP made a good choice, but they appear to have done the best they could with the field running.

  22. dog's eye view

    Guacamole: here’s a recipe with onion and 3 serrano chiles in it. Plz email us some, if anyone tries it.

    http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-guacamole-recipe,0,2727539.story

    =====
    and good morning to the coffee drinking set. No chiles yet, please.

  23. dog's eye view

    Do you think the tax problems will prove Daschle unconfirmable? I worry that they might, since they’re far in excess of Geithner’s. Sad, because Daschle would be an excellent HHS chief.

    From LA Times:

    ” …The bulk of the unpaid taxes — first reported Friday by ABC News — stems from a lucrative business relationship that Daschle began with a wealthy investor shortly after Daschle left the Senate in 2005.

    That year Daschle was paid $83,333 a month — or $1 million a year — to advise a private equity fund, according to a confidential draft report prepared by Republican staffers on the Senate Finance Committee.

    The South Dakota Democrat was hired by Leo J. Hindery Jr., a longtime friend of Daschle’s, to consult for InterMedia Advisors. The private equity fund invests in media companies, including the Christian publishing house Thomas Nelson, the Gospel Music Channel, and Cine Latino, a leading Spanish-language movie channel.

    Hindery, a Democratic donor who made a fortune in cable television, also provided Daschle with a car and driver beginning in April 2005.

    Daschle estimated that 80% of his use of the car was for personal reasons. But he did not pay any taxes on the service until Jan. 2, 2009, when he filed amended returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

    Daschle this month paid more than $100,000 in taxes and interest for the car service, according to Backus.

    He paid an additional $32,491 to cover taxes and interest for a monthly payment that was not reported in 2007. …”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-daschle31-2009jan31,0,1820227.story

  24. dog's eye view

    NY Times notes additional tax irregularities; there’s also the issue of use of a client’s jet (mentioned in LA Times link above).

    NYTimes: …”The car and driver were not Mr. Daschle’s only problems. The Finance Committee said he failed to report consulting income of $83,333 on his 2007 tax return and overstated the deductions to which he was entitled for charitable contributions from 2005 to 2007. In his amended tax returns, he reduced the deductions by $14,963.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/31/us/politics/31daschle.html?hp

  25. dog's eye view

    This seems to me to be a real problem:

    Per WaPost: “Last June, Daschle “mentioned the use of the car” to his accountant and asked whether the service could be construed as a reportable gift or payment, [spokesperson Jenny] Backus said. The accountant intended to correct the error in Daschle’s 2008 tax filing, she said.

    Daschle’s “failure to recognize this as an issue and to discuss it with his accountant earlier is something he regrets and for which he takes full responsibility,” she said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/30/AR2009013003793_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2009013003881&s_pos=

    In June 2008 of an election year, when it was apparent the Democrats had a very good chance of winning the presidency and Daschle was a shoo-in for some excellent appointment no matter who won.

    And the accountant was planning to correct the error with the 2008 filing, to be prepared in 2009?

    Idiocy. Daschle should have had accountant begin working to correct this immediately, because it was not going to look any better the closer one got to an appointment.

    The problem might come down to not so much not noticing the taxable implications of using the car — which Daschle ultimately did — but in waiting for many months after to correct the fact, and then to leave the appearance of only doing so when they had to do so to get past a confirmation hearing.

    Maybe he will be able to document that they were in the process of doing so by mid-2008; maybe a letter or paperwork will come out to that effect.

    Even June 2008 looks like skating on reportable income, but it’s more defensible….

    I think Daschle would be great at HHS; this is self-inflicted damage, though.

  26. Chef Sheila

    Morning folks! My head is begining to clear. Thank goodness for weekends.

  27. dnd

    Maybe Daschle used TurboTax 😉

    Seriously, the tax code is so complicated, particularly for the self employed, it’s no wonder that mistakes are made. To convict someone as a tax cheat one needs to prove intent. Tough to do in such a convoluted system.

    Hopefully this will prompt this administration to address tax code reform.

  28. Chef Sheila

    hmmm…Mount reboubt in Alaska is going to Blow?

    COOL!

    Here is the activity page.

    http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/Redoubt.php

  29. dog's eye view

    dnd: good point on the convoluted tax code and proving intent.

    My issue was more with the apparent delay, once an error was realized. Obviously, one needed to research and calculate, but correcting this promptly might head off any confirmation issues.

    A simplified tax code would be a boon to just about everybody!

  30. dog's eye view

    Sheila: wish Mt. Redoubt would keep Governor Sarah home from the Alfalfa Dinner. You think?

  31. horsedooty

    the thing that blows me away is the figure of Daschle’s monthly income. $83,333 a month This is a large pile of cash. Perhaps with that amount of income Daschle should have provided his own transportation. You can buy a Honda Fit for about $15 grand. Gets great gas mileage.

  32. dog's eye view

    yup, the income out of office was substantial. The $83K/month was just the consulting contract — he pulled in 2.1 million from a law firm too.

    Not surprising — he’s skilled and senators make less than $170K/year — not a huge salary given DC/residence in home state cost of maintaining a home and family, and what lawyers and other professionals can make. Not surprising at all Daschle went for some bucks on leaving office.

    I suspect he’s in trouble, and will get backlash from people already fed up with Wall Street excess.

  33. Nannymm

    What do you all think of the RNC picking Steele as their new chair? Seems to me like they’re looking for an “antidote” to Obama. I’m not sure it’s going to get them anywhere, though, unless they change their message and philosophy.

  34. horsedooty

    nanny,

    so how many blacks are in the republican party now? 6 or 8?

  35. *stretches and yawns*

    Nanny my feeling is it’s only window dressing, regarding the new RNC chair. And another part of my things, everyone wants a black guy as the head of their party now!

  36. dog's eye view

    I like Steele. It does look like counterprogramming to Obama, but he also seemed to be the only candidate up who didn’t want to try the usual “appeal to our 20% base and screw anybody else” RNC approach.

    Steele is a moderate (for the GOP), from what I have seen. And very likable guy.

    Going to be fun to watch this one.

  37. dog's eye view

    a black figurehead on a scuttled ship? Maybe. But he might surprise some folks, both in and out of his party.

  38. Chef Sheila

    Eve though I like and respect Steele.

    my opinion is that they did it for,
    “See! We gotta Black Guy Too!”

    They don’t even realise that Steele WILL do a good job. But can he really change their minds. We shall see.

    I see another big support group, The NEO NAZIs really having a hard time adjusting

  39. dog's eye view

    Announced job cuts topped 100,000 last week. 6 figures. Knew we would get there; did not think it would happen so soon.

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/30/news/economy/job_loss_roundup/index.htm?postversion=2009013014

  40. Nannymm

    It’s beginning to look like same old same old… The repugs don’t want bipartisan solutions. They want it their way or they’ll tear down the opposition, even if they have to lie and distort to do it. Nothing new here; let’s move on and get things done.

  41. dnd

    dog,
    “Sheila: wish Mt. Redoubt would keep Governor Sarah home from the Alfalfa Dinner. You think?”

    Could God be sending a sign to Palin?

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