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Who Are the Best Conservative Columnists?
Pajamas Media ^ | 12/05/2012 | dave Swindle

Posted on 12/06/2012 11:05:24 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Who Are the Best Conservative Columnists?

Posted By Dave Swindle On December 5, 2012 @ 11:00 am In Conservatism,Ideology,Writing | 92 Comments

This week my friend John Hawkins released his annual ranking of the 50 best conservative columnists. A very generous guy, John included me on the list. And ahead of George Will too!

I wonder, though: what does it mean to be a columnist today?

I’m a traditionalist on the definition. Merriam-Webster claims that it’s “one who writes a newspaper or magazine column.”

Well, what qualifies as a column? The defining characteristics, which I invite others to dispute or refine in the comments: A) a regular appearance usually either weekly or bi-weekly, B) a standard word count in the range of 600-1500 words, and C) usually with a focus on opinion, analysis, or entertainment — not “objective,” fly-on-the-wall journalism.

But that’s the Old School understanding I learned in journalism classes in the pre-blogosphere days. Now in the New Media era a “column” counts as any piece of writing and “columnist” doubles for “writer.” And that’s fine — language evolves and we only gain so much from playing the semantics game. Here at PJ Media we call our all-star team of writers “Columnists” even though the content they produce ranges across the spectrum from blog posts to journalistic articles to traditional op/ed columns to extended essays on to Ed Driscoll’s podcasts and Zombie’s unforgettable photos.

But the truth is that the name does still fit for most of the PJ Columnists, and pressed to answer John’s challenge to provide “YOUR LIST of the best conservative columnists” I’d have to actually create two, the first of those I edit now and the second of those I wouldn’t mind editing someday. The 10 PJ columnists who predominantly write on a regular basis in the “newspaper column” style, of a 600-1500+ word, opinionated, elegantly stylized analysis (in no ranked order):

Roger L. Simon, Barry Rubin, Andrew Klavan, Roger Kimball, Michael Walsh, Andrew C. McCarthy, Claudia Rosett, David P. Goldman, Victor Davis Hanson, and Michael Ledeen

The other PJ Columnists I’d classify as top-tier bloggers (Stephen Green, Ed Driscoll, Helen Smith and Blog Father Glenn Reynolds) and deep essayists (Ron Radosh and Ion Mihai Pacepa.) J. Christian Adams’s Rule of Law, Richard Fernandez’s Belmont Club, and the mysterious Zombie transcend categorization in their own unique ways — the three of them have each taken the tools of New Media to innovate their own new mediums.

So about that second list… I decided to take John’s list and A) edit it down to my top 10 choices, B) re-order counting down to the best, C) throw on 5 more conservative columnists I adore who John neglected to include.

But here’s the problem: I’m fairly confident about the ranking of only the top 2. I could see legitimate reasons for why one should rank higher or lower than others.

So for my top 20 list of Best Conservative Columnists (forthcoming soon here at PJ Lifestyle) I thought I’d first hear the arguments of others about A) who should go where, B) which five additional columnists deserve inclusion, and C) if anyone I’ve already selected does not warrant placement.

Weighing who goes where requires juggling multiple factors:

  1. Strength of prose.
  2. Originality of voice and personality.
  3. Quality, creativity, and effectiveness of arguments.
  4. Is the column really their best medium?
  5. Consistency of quality. (A great columnist needs to be strong every week — they can’t constantly hit or miss.)
  6. Impact they have on shaping both the current debates and conservative thought.

So here’s version 1 of the list. (I’ve put John’s ranking in parentheses after their name if they appeared on his list.)

15. Seth Mandel (not included)

14. Jonathan V. Last (not included)

13. Sean Trende (16)

12. Frank Gaffney (not included)

11. Ben Shapiro (20)

10. Walter Williams (6)

9. Jonah Goldberg (5)

8. Michael Barone (14)

7. Charles Krauthammer (17)

6. Daniel Pipes (not included)

5. Dennis Prager (13)

4. Mark Steyn (1)

3. Stanley Kurtz (not included)

2. Thomas Sowell (2)

1. Ann Coulter (4)

As stated, I’m not planning on budging on my last two choices — and will make my arguments in the completed list. But if anyone would like to make the case against Thomas Sowell and Ann Coulter as the Conservative Movement’s two top writing MVPs, then by all means…



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KEYWORDS: columnists; conservative
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1 posted on 12/06/2012 11:05:26 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind; Lazamataz

Lazamataz is the best.


2 posted on 12/06/2012 11:06:50 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind

My personal favorites are Levin, Goldberg, and Williams.


3 posted on 12/06/2012 11:09:59 AM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Steyn and VDH


4 posted on 12/06/2012 11:13:02 AM PST by katykelly
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To: SeekAndFind
I have a new favorite radio talk show--Red Eye Radio. Too bad they're on in the middle of the night but for someone like me who always spends some time awake in the night, they are the perfect listening.

Gary McNamara and Eric Harley are THE best!! They need to be the ones negotiatiing with Obama but then Obama would never understand logic. http://www.redeyeradioshow.com/

5 posted on 12/06/2012 11:14:50 AM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: SeekAndFind

Steyn. No contest.


6 posted on 12/06/2012 11:15:01 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: SeekAndFind

Steyn hands down.


7 posted on 12/06/2012 11:18:42 AM PST by MNDude
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To: SeekAndFind

1-5: Mark Steyn, Thomas Sowell, Victor Davis Hanson, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer.


8 posted on 12/06/2012 11:20:35 AM PST by andy58-in-nh (Cogito, ergo armatum sum.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Greg Gutfeld for humor.


9 posted on 12/06/2012 11:22:56 AM PST by mkboyce
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To: katykelly
"Steyn and VDH"

Seconded.

10 posted on 12/06/2012 11:23:11 AM PST by Joe Brower (The "American People" are no longer capable of self-governance.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thomas Sowell IS excellent and I really enjoy the way he writes.


11 posted on 12/06/2012 11:28:26 AM PST by traderrob6
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To: SeekAndFind

NOT Ann Coulter.


12 posted on 12/06/2012 11:32:52 AM PST by rightwingintelligentsia (Be careful of believing something just because you want it to be true.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ll throw the names Jeff Jacoby and Howie Carr into the ring, too.


13 posted on 12/06/2012 11:33:28 AM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: mkboyce

On Dennis Prager now in LA.


14 posted on 12/06/2012 11:36:29 AM PST by onedoug
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To: SeekAndFind

Artful use of the language.
Keen observing eye.

Steyn.


15 posted on 12/06/2012 11:38:42 AM PST by lurk
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To: katykelly

I totally with you on those two being the best.


16 posted on 12/06/2012 11:41:51 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: SeekAndFind

Coulter? Not so much. She has good points but I doubt her sincerity based on who she calls her fiends and boyfriends. A true conservative could not stomach the likes of Bill Maher.

She is seemingly on the Republican bandwagon that make many a moderate Dim and RINO see a way to stay relevant.


17 posted on 12/06/2012 11:48:06 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: SeekAndFind

The list is woefully incomplete without Michelle Malkin and Pamela Geller.


18 posted on 12/06/2012 11:57:00 AM PST by matthew fuller (Newt for the next Speaker of the House!)
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

I’m partial to Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson.

At the American Thinker, Randall Hoven and Christopher Chantrill are excellent with presenting the facts.


19 posted on 12/06/2012 12:07:09 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: matthew fuller

RE: Michelle Malkin

She excels at EXPOSE journalism, mustering fact after fact after fact to expose liberal hypocrisy and corruption. And get this — she doesn’t get flustered when attacked on live TV either.


20 posted on 12/06/2012 12:09:24 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Mark Steyn and Howie Carr


21 posted on 12/06/2012 12:11:26 PM PST by golf lover (going)
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To: thackney; TheOldLady; Cyber Liberty; CatherineofAragon; Slings and Arrows; Responsibility2nd; ...
Lazamataz is the best.

Thanks, thackney. And as long as this is mentioned, let me share with you all, something: I have been going through a core-level depression, what with the events that have unfolded in the last 4 years, November 6th especially. To see my country placed on life support for it's eventual demise has been exceedingly difficult for me.

It has made it impossible to write anything besides funeral durges, and I think we've all had enough of those.

So, I have not been writing, until I feel a little more hope -- IF I feel a little more hope -- about the future.

22 posted on 12/06/2012 12:11:43 PM PST by Lazamataz (LAZ'S LAW: As an argument with liberals goes on, the probability of being called racist approaches 1)
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To: traderrob6

I enjoy reading Sowell’s work. Anyone can explain complex concepts, but to explain them in simple terms is a gift that few have.


23 posted on 12/06/2012 12:12:34 PM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (Democrats are evil. Republicans are stupid.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Malkin is by far my favorite. She is very intelligent, can think on her feet, and has something none of the other columnists have....she is HOT!!!


24 posted on 12/06/2012 12:13:48 PM PST by Sporke (USS Iowa BB-61)
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To: Lazamataz
You don't write a funeral dirge for a Phoenix.

We might burn, but will rise from our own ashes.

Write that, it IS the future.

25 posted on 12/06/2012 12:14:37 PM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: SeekAndFind
I would move both Andrew McCarthy and Larry Elder much higher than their current ranking.

I would also add two columnists at the WSJ - Kim Strassel and Mary Anastasia O'Grady - somewhere on the list.

26 posted on 12/06/2012 12:15:00 PM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Lazamataz
be of good cheer Laz...The Lord is in control, and we werent promised peace in this temporal earth...

rejoice in the bs that this world is offering to those who have no hope, knowing that God has better things for those who seek Him...

27 posted on 12/06/2012 12:17:50 PM PST by Gilbo_3 (Gov is not reason; not eloquent; its force.Like fire,a dangerous servant & master. George Washington)
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To: Lazamataz

John 16:33


28 posted on 12/06/2012 12:19:16 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind

David Limbaugh belongs in there as well, IMO.


29 posted on 12/06/2012 12:19:38 PM PST by ScottinVA (I've never been more disgusted with American voters.)
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To: thackney

RE: John 16:33

How about the talk show and TV host who keeps saying: “Let not your hearts be troubled”?


30 posted on 12/06/2012 12:23:45 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: thackney

Thank you, thackney.

John 16:33
New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


31 posted on 12/06/2012 12:24:16 PM PST by Lazamataz (LAZ'S LAW: As an argument with liberals goes on, the probability of being called racist approaches 1)
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To: Dead Corpse

Interesting angle. And I have another.


32 posted on 12/06/2012 12:25:13 PM PST by Lazamataz (LAZ'S LAW: As an argument with liberals goes on, the probability of being called racist approaches 1)
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To: SeekAndFind

That is John 14:1 and 14:27.

The later is my preference.


33 posted on 12/06/2012 12:26:02 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind; Lazamataz

Mark Steyn is absolutely the best. Noone else is even close. Sorry Laz. :-) You’re good too, but Mark is in a league all his own.


34 posted on 12/06/2012 12:48:39 PM PST by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: Lazamataz

I am with you Laz... there is nothing positive to look forward to. It is as if satan owns everyone in DC.

LLS


35 posted on 12/06/2012 12:53:12 PM PST by LibLieSlayer (WOLVERINES!)
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To: Lazamataz

You are not alone.
I, too, have been depressed - - and angry.
I have written off a lot of people because of their willing blindness to what’s going on. They voluntarily voted for their childrens’ chains and I can’t fathom it.

Hope about the future eludes me. My hopes/dreams/plans for the future are now dust. Maybe, in the long run, that’s a good thing from a spiritual perspective. It’s hard to see that from here, tho. I just have to go through the grieving process. I grieve for our country and for what it once was.

Perhaps you should start a funeral dirge column. That could be cathartic.


36 posted on 12/06/2012 1:00:04 PM PST by iceskater (Enjoy your chains, comrades.)
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To: Lazamataz; thackney

Laz: I know how you feel. I feel the same way. I’ve been in the same funk since Nov. 6, my posts reflect this and more than once I’ve been called out for it. My depression is rooted in a profound love of history, and the lessons it teaches us about the immutable nature of human beings. History does not repeat per se, but it provdes the perspective that people always act the same. And history tells me that we are a nation in decline. We are too burdened with debt, no longer comptitively productive, and generally lacking any sense of personal sacrifice or even minimal comptence.


37 posted on 12/06/2012 1:00:34 PM PST by henkster ("The people who count the votes decide everything." -Joseph Stalin)
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To: ZirconEncrustedTweezers

Indeed. And there’s a man who the Black population ought to be venerating.

Born dirt poor grew up in Harlem and pulled himself up and out to become one of the best journalists alive bar none.


38 posted on 12/06/2012 1:02:44 PM PST by traderrob6
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To: thackney

Number one should be last, with Sowell numbr one ... The Laz ahead of Barone.


39 posted on 12/06/2012 1:05:36 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Where is Daniel Greenfield / Sultan Knish?


40 posted on 12/06/2012 1:06:01 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Lazamataz

Ouch, sorry to hear that Laz.

We should do lunch some time.


41 posted on 12/06/2012 1:07:09 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: SeekAndFind

Steyn, Sowell, Coulter


42 posted on 12/06/2012 1:07:39 PM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: Lazamataz

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

- - - - -

There are those that read the above, and are concerned that God has promised them trouble.

I’ve been down enough miles to recognize, living in the world, and not of the world, was already a promise of trouble along the way.

God promised us he would be with us in those troubles, if we only let him in.

- - - - -

If John 16:33 speaks to you now, I suggest starting with 16:28 and reading through the end of 17. For me, this is what it is all about. John 3:16 may show the proof of God’s love for us, but 16:28-17 is why that happened.


43 posted on 12/06/2012 1:11:57 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: SeekAndFind
Holy Crap People. What's wrong with you all?

Over 42 replies and no one has mentioned the best of the best?

 

Pat Buchanan

 
Patrick Joseph "Pat" Buchanan is an American conservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician, and broadcaster. Wikipedia

 

44 posted on 12/06/2012 1:15:22 PM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Lazamataz

Hey, Laz,

I was wondering why you hadn’t written any editorials lately. Now I understand.

You aren’t the only one. I’ve been depressed, as well.....I think the sadness is because I don’t recognize this country anymore. It’s like November 6 picked us all up and dropped us into an alien nation.

For me, I’m not as bad as I was, but I still can’t shake it altogether. I’m going to pray you get better, as well. Hang in there.....and thank God for FR. It’s an island of sanity.

Love ya


45 posted on 12/06/2012 1:24:16 PM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: Responsibility2nd

RE: Pat Buchanan

As long as he stays off the protectionism and isolationism stuff, I’d agree.


46 posted on 12/06/2012 1:34:20 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: iceskater; Lazamataz

Re “core-level depression”. Ditto from our house. I don’t think I breathed for two days. (Obviously, I did; I’m here.) Then I cried for two days. For us, hope and joy are missing, at least for the time being. Can’t even think about decorating, or shopping, for Christmas.

Some focus on their children’s chains in the future. More than that, I grieve for our ancestors’ sacrifices, and how there is no respect for them. People under 50 have no idea what they did to put together a country that was so amazing for over 200 years.


47 posted on 12/06/2012 1:38:45 PM PST by MayflowerMadam
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To: Lazamataz

Don’t let the liberal bastards live rent free inside your head, Laz.


48 posted on 12/06/2012 1:40:41 PM PST by TADSLOS (No need to watch the movie "Idiocracy". We're living it.)
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To: Lazamataz

Don’t make me do it! Cause I will!


49 posted on 12/06/2012 2:14:35 PM PST by no-to-illegals (Please God, Protect and Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
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To: SeekAndFind

http://www.lewrockwell.com/columnists.html


50 posted on 12/06/2012 2:16:14 PM PST by gunnyg ("A Constitution changed from Freedom, can never be restored; Liberty, once lost, is lost forever...)
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