Did Bill Kristol Jump Or Was He Pushed?

Conservative writer Bill Kristol has filed his last column for the Times, ending a year as the lone voice of conservatism on the Times' op-ed page.

Did Bill Kristol jump or was he pushed?

His liberal enemies and Times readers (lots of overlap there) will be happy to hear that conservative Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, has filed his last column for the Times. Since January 2008 he'd served as the op-ed page's lone voice of conservatism, but his contract was not renewed for another year. Kristol's Mondaycontribution, "Will Obama Save Liberalism?" featured this slug line: "This is William Kristol's last column."

Kristol himself made no mention of his leaving in the column itself, which described Obama's inauguration as "the end of a conservative era,"although his lead mightprovide a hint: "All good things must come to an end."

Late last year, responding to rumors that the Times might not renew his column, he told Portfoliomedia bloggerJeff Bercovici: "I'm ambivalent. It's been fun. It's a lot of work. I have a lot of things going on. But I haven't really focused on it."

Kevin Williamson atNational Review Onlinewas not impressed by the frequent "errors" in his columns that the Huffington Post claimed helped cost Kristol his position. Williamson summarized:

Kristol surely had his share of corrections, but compared to the Times 's typical day - say, getting the point of a story 180 degrees wrong in a way that just happens to align with the editors' partisan preferences - Kristol's offenses were pretty mild....

Indeed, liberal columnist Maureen Dowd kept her job in 2003 after intentionally truncating a George W. Bush quote to make him look ignorant about the dangers of the Taliban (a story broken on Times Watch), while TV beat reporter and columnist Alessandra Stanley continues to err at a healthy clip without apparent consequence.

Kristol won't be disappearing from newsprint; Politico reports he will be getting a monthly perch at the Washington Post.