The New York Times has picked Ross Douthat to replace Bill Kristol, who sucked, as the paper’s real conservative columnist (as opposed to David Brooks, who votes Republican but often feels bad about it). Douthat and I have mutual friends, which led to brunch in Ottawa a few months ago; he struck me as soft-spoken, pensive, fearsomely intelligent, modest and diligent. But then you can get much the same impression from reading him, so mostly the added value from our brunch was some yummy crepes. He was on everyone’s list when it became clear Kristol would need replacing. He’ll do well.