This is perhaps not the place for Times-gazing, but bloggers across the ideological spectrum are chattering about the paper's new op-Ed columnist: 29-year-old Ross Douthat. Youth aside, Douthat is notable for being the first person to rise from blogging to column-ing at an august paper.
Ross is a good writer, as goes almost without saying, but I find myself agreeing with Eyal Press at the Nation that it's not necessarily a good thing that he's an "unconventional" conservative -- one of the reasons Times editors say they hired him. (Even before the recession, Douthat was arguing that Republicans should pay more attention to social and economic inequality.) William Kristol may well have been too much of a Republican operative -- Kristol flamed out after a one-year run at the Times -- but he spoke for a recognizable subset of the conservative movement. It's not clear whom Douthat (or Brooks, the other Times conservative) speaks for. The pro-life, pro-government, anti-inequality portion of the conservative movement is not a substantial one; or maybe it was just quiet in the last election.
In the past, I've had the sense that Douthat sometimes soft-pedals his pro-life views -- this eruption excepted -- perhaps to maintain collegiality with his left-leaning blogging peers. I'd like to hear more from him about his preferred approach to rolling back laws and court decisions that permit abortion, and perhaps I will soon.
PS I see that this recent post is fairly robustly pro-life -- opposing stem-cell research and implying that he also stands against much of what goes on in fertility clinics (though the time isn't ripe, he says, to tackle the latter cause).
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
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Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.