Let me say a few good words about The New York Times' op-ed page. No, that wasn't a typo.
The choice by Gail Collins and company to hire John Tierney as the replacement for William Safire caught me completely off-guard. I was convinced that Andrew Sullivan's recent announced hiatus from regular blogging was intended to clear the way for his appointment to the Times.
Sullivan's tone and his politics and his moral posturing, I thought, made him a shoo-in for the current op-ed page. Granted, Tierney would be a better pick, and, sure, the Times has a fairly decent history of promoting employees who've stuck with the company for some time. But I doubted that the Times would have the intestinal fortitude to give him such a large soapbox.
Editor & Publisher's story on Tierney's appointment quotes two moderate, more secular conservatives -- Debra Saunders and Jonah Goldberg -- praising the decision to the skies, and two social conservatives -- Cal Thomas and Kathleen Parker -- saying, essentially, who the heck is this John Tierney chap, anyway?
This could create the impression that Tierney isn't likely to, ahem, get religion, but I've a feeling that readers of this website will be pleasantly surprised. "The fact that he fraternizes with Chris Buckley is a good sign," Parker told E&P.
And it is a good sign. Tierney's friendship with novelist Christopher Buckley (son of William F. Buckley) has paid literary dividends. They've cowritten both The Best Case Scenario Handbook and God Is My Broker.
God Is My Broker is the story of a man who quits Wall Street to join a struggling order of monks. The story is a slight but amusing tale about how the love of money can corrupt even those who take vows of poverty. It grapples with Catholic history and doctrine in a way that either gets it right or gets it wrong in such an over the top way that it's clearly satire.
Tierney is often described as an "iconoclast," but I'm betting there are some icons he won't be smashing in his new column.