Jack Shafer in Slate writes about who might take over William Safire's slot on the New York Times op-ed page when William Safire shortly retires:
Safire's impending departure prompted New York magazine to handicap the field for his replacement, tossing out the names of David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, Christopher Caldwell, Richard Brookhiser, Fred Barnes, and Robert Kagan. But the leading candidate, the magazine said, was John Tierney, who has already visited four stations of the cross at the Times as a metro reporter, feature writer, city columnist, and Washington reporter. Tierney's good humor, kinetic prose style, contrarian nature, wide-ranging interests, and rumored ability to attend congressional hearings would make him a fine replacement for Safire. I also like that he's a libertarian or, at the very least, a fellow traveler.
Tierney would be a great choice. Shafer goes on:
Without disparaging the Tierney nomination, here are a few candidates who have a demonstrated ability to report and would drive respectable opinion crazy:
Heather Mac Donald: A non-practicing lawyer (the best kind), Mac Donald flings dead cats into the temple of liberalism from her sinecure at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative-libertarian stink tank. Unlike Safire, she isn't on a first-name basis with Ariel Sharon and doesn't write about foreign policy, so we wouldn't be getting a one-for-one replacement. But she outwings Safire by such a margin on domestic issues that she makes him look like a McGovernite. I'd love to see the Times' liberal readers squirm as they read her heavily reported pieces on racial profiling (for it), cops (she loves them), illegal immigration (against it), graffiti "artists" (they're vandals), domestic security (loves the Patriot Act), crime ("Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens"), privacy (who cares?), and welfare (must you ask?). Conservative Mac Donald could match liberal Paul Krugman cannonball for cannonball. Sulzberger wouldn't have to worry about offending the sensitive types in the Washington bureau by hiring Mac Donald because she lives in New York City and would happily work out of the newspaper's Times Square offices and offend the sensitive types there.
Heather would be a great choice too,. So, I'd be shocked if either got the nod. (And not shocked, SHOCKED, just plain shocked.)