Bill Kristol has slithered back to Reptoid headquarters, and the NY Times is looking for a simulacrum. WANTED: Latest incarnation of the William Safire With A Thousand Faces. Should be my social better, yet comfortable condescending to the tastes and mores of faceless heartland proles. Must be fluent in contrarianism, and keep current with the latest movement-approved mock outrages. Dead eyes and lizardish smile a plus, but not required. All the suggested replacements are of this horribly boring genus. The best attempted justification for this policy is that it will “sell newspapers to the country’s educated, affluent, urban classes”, because affluent, educated, urban classes like to read abridged novelizations of CNN’s “Crossfire” with their fair trade coffee and effete, Frenchified breakfast pastries. Or, you know, whatever.
The best attempted “outside the box” suggestion is to cut out the middlemen hand it directly over to Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, unlike any of the bowtie conservatives who package his ideas for polite society, actually has an audience and a constituency, making his opinions A) politically relevant and B) likely to bring new readership. Better still would be to hire Kaye Grogan, who is even more entertaining and representative of populist conservatism, is a snappy dresser besides, and isn’t even a disgusting fucking junkie. On the downside, she might be dead, which some may consider a drawback. I just think it would make the choice that much bolder.
Alternately: instead of asking frequent guests on CNN’s “Crossfire” to translate their schtick into short essay form, you could find a dozen people who are actually knowledgeable about some important area of public concern, and let them inform your readership. People whose opinions might be worth more than, say, mine, and might be derived from sources other than political/professional necessity. Consider Quality before highly contrived ideas of Balance. And, seeing as the Times’ time-tested strategies for “sell[ing] newspapers to [anybody with two quarters]” are miserable failures, and “Crossfire” got cancelled, it might not be such a crazy idea.