Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Kristol history at The Times?

HuffPost has a post about William Kristol possibly not having his contract renewed as a columnist at The New York Times. Apparently he only has a one-year contract.

First of all, very good call on the part of Times management to only sign him to a one-year contract. Second, I would bet good money on the Times not even offering him a renewal. Kristol says that he hasn't had a conversation with Times management, and that he's ambivalent. In other words, they aren't making a lot of effort, and he's not worried about whether or not they do.

The HuffPost article quotes George Packer in The New Yorker at length. He nails it here:

The real grounds for firing Kristol are that he didn’t take his column seriously.
Which is, in a sense, unfortunate, because the Democrats do need competent opposition. I've enjoyed Kristol's appearances on The Daily Show, and thot that his best asset as a commentator was his sense of humor, his willingness to laugh at himself. Of course, not being an intellectual heavyweight makes it that much easier to not take yourself too seriously.

If Kristol leaves the Times, it would be the beginning of a winnowing of conservative intellectuals. Hopefully Jonah Goldberg would be next - he's taking up valuable space at the LA Times. I have an old friend from high school, Mark Molesky, who wrote a book, Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France with someone from the National Review. Maybe the purging of a few conservative intellectuals will open up opportunities in the public sphere for people like Mark. He's very smart - he has a Ph.d. from Harvard - and he's a nice guy, with a great sense of humor. I can see him on Meet The Press. He certainly has more intellectual discipline than Bill Kristol.

So here's hoping that Kristol does make an amicable departure from the Grey Lady, and that a new generation of conservatives - ideally less rigid, less arrogant, and maybe even more compassionate - than the current crop takes the place of the current crop. That would be refreshing.

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