columnist Bill Kristol went on Fox back in June and told the world that this governor from Alaska named Sarah Palin would be the best Vice President ever! He loved her, very much, because she was a maverick. Five months later, she is a national joke, and he is a sad, sad man, trying desperately to salvage his credibility. "I met her for the second time in my life. I know we're supposed to be such great friends, but the truth is I've met her twice... I've spoken to her on the phone once. For all our great closeness," he tells The Observer, "I barely know her." Too late, Bill. You're all washed up! Since time immemorial the New York Times has kept its rich old conservative readers slightly satisfied with some token conservative voices in the Op-Ed section. For many, many years there was reliable old Bill Safire, the Nixon speechwriter, a member of the smart old educated class of Republicans who were able to write up support for disastrous policy implemented by the corrupt and incompetent with smart, almost plausible-sounding arguments. He left, replaced with John Tierney, a libertarian-leaning sort who didn't last long on the op-ed beat and now writes "researchers say a counterintutive thing" features instead. And there is David Brooks, a quietly doctrinaire Republican who fancies up his usual party line with armchair sociology. But Brooks broke with the party this year, calling Sarah Palin a cancer, leaving only poor, dumb, Bill Kristol. Bill Kristol, who tried to sell America on Sarah Palin, and ended up repeatedly embarrassing himself, over and over again, and losing John McCain his election. Now he just mumbles about hating the mainstream media, to all his mainstream media friends, in the pages of the New York Times. Already the vultures are wondering who'll replace him —you can be terribly wrong and stupid and remain a Times columnist indefinitely, but you must be terribly wrong and stupid in the service of the conventional wisdom. So Tom Friedman's Iraq columns get a pass, as does Maureen Dowd's constant stream of nonsense. But Kristol is no longer merely just a hack, he's a failed hack. No one bought his line this year. So maybe someone nutty and anti-Palin like, say, David Frum is next for the Affirmative Action Conservative Slot?