Poor New York Times! Neocon Bill Kristol was, well, simply too darned con. He actually defended the Bush Administration and openly sided with conservatives. A respectable NYT token conservative columnist is suppose to confine his conservatism to occasional dyspeptic grumbling about changing times, fashions, and morals, but avoid flagrant heresy on the big questions that matter: George W. Bush, the War in Iraq, and the outrageous insult to everything that’s proper and good that is Sarah Palin.
Jennifer Senior, in New York Magazine, describes the fraught quest for the Upper West Side conservative.
[N]ot to say that Times readers donâ€™t like conservatives. They just like conservatives they can take home and introduce to their families (or maybe Paul Krugmanâ€™s family [or Michael Meeropol’s family – DZ]). David Brooks is the sort of Republican whose column a self-respecting liberal can read without wanting to hurl things in the aftermathâ€”an Obama enthusiast, a Palin critic, a careful questioner of GOP shibboleths. Heâ€™s a vocal supporter of gay marriage and abortion rights. And heâ€™s just as apt to be writing about culture as politics.
The Times may even have thought itâ€™d be getting the same cuddly conservative intellectual when it hired Kristol. Like Brooks, he was a known quantity: a quotable source during the Bush I era (he was Dan Quayleâ€™s chief of staff), the scion of New York intellectuals. But it didnâ€™t, and the Republican party line that Kristol was peddling was an embarrassment.
Senior recommends comedian Stephen Colbert.
I won’t name names, but I can think of more than one prominent passenger on the conservative movement’s bus, who could be relied upon to broaden and grow into just such a role, becoming worthy of “strange new respect,” given the right inducements.