Robert Thomson-Rupert Murdoch's lieutenant at the Wall Street Journal-has learned from Dick Cheney's search for George Bush's vice president. Thomson has nominated himself as the next managing editor. (Told you so.) The committee supposed to protect the independence of the newspaper met today to wave him through.

The 47-year-old Australian journalist-30 years younger than Murdoch to the day and a close confidante of the media mogul-will now have untrammeled power to turn the Journal into a national newspaper-of-record or fail in the attempt.

There's only one wrinkle: the editor of the Journal's embarrassingly ideological opinion pages, Paul Gigot, will not report to Thomson. That may be to prevent Murdoch from influencing the political line of the newspaper, a bizarre concession to allow the special committee to save face. The irony is that editorial pages are quite conservative enough without any assistance from Murdoch.