He's certainly going to be one of the people Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will do almost anything to meet up with, on her upcoming trips down below.
He's Ross Douthat. An intelligent right-wing blogger, whose numerous early columns for The American Scene appear to have been recently scrubbed, Douthat has been hired by Time Magazine to replace Palin worshipper William Kristol.
Most recently, Douthat has been blogging and writing for The Atlantic, where he was an early fan of Palin, writing soon after (August 30th) she was chosen by John McCain:
At the moment, I'm probably rooting harder for Sarah Palin to succeed than I have for any politician in recent memory. Just something to keep in mind while you're reading my commentary.
That was an early reaction. He learned, though, throughout the last two months of the 2008 presidential campaign. This was his immediate reaction to columnist Chris Orr's op-ed on the Couric-Palin interviews:
If you watch her pre-nomination interviews - with CNBC, say, or with C-SPAN - and then compare them to the Couric performance, the difference is staggering. Obviously a lot of this just has to do with the difficulty of talking about national issues she doesn't know that much about, versus state issues she knew extremely well, and doing so under the kind of microscope that most national politicians spend months and years preparing for. But the marked decline in her coherence and fluency just from the Gibson interview - where she was bad, but not epically bad - to this one suggests something like the confidence-destroying dynamic Chris describes is playing out as well.
Roy Edreso at the Village Voice has a blog entry on this, with lots of hyper-links to other material on Douthat's past work. Unlike William Kristol, Douthat appears to be able to learn from experience, and even more unlike Kristol, Ross is sometimes right.
Here's a link to a discussion he authored at TPM Book Club on the book he has co-written with Teihan Salam, called The Grand New Party.
Here he is explaining his view on the future of American conservatism, at the Humphrey Institute:
hat tip to Teddy Partridge for alerting me to Douthat's new role