Just because I think that the New York Times should leave vacant the opinion-columnist position just evacuated by William Kristol doesn't mean I think he's irreplaceable. He's completely replaceable: I can name a thousand bloggers who filed better copy daily during the year Kristol wrote weekly for the Times. Why did his work reek? He's a good writer, a smart thinker, well-connected, and a dazzling smiler. Was he being deliberately perverse about the gig, trying to test the crap-acceptance threshold of the Times with his copy? Or just lazy? That's my guess. Has any big-league columnist put less effort into his pieces than Kristol? If he labored more than 45 minutes on the average piece, I'd be astonished.
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