...which, of course, would be a rejuvenation of the WaPo's sorry-ass op-ed page.
Howell, as she edges towards the door (thank Og), has ten suggestions for improving the paper, or at least ensuring that future waves of cutbacks don't cut quality. None of them mention the op-ed page - and surely each of the op-ed regulars must be drawing a comfortable salary.
We've been over this ground before, of course. Broder and Will are 100% reputation, 0% quality; somebody should've pointed out 15 years ago that these Op-Ed Emperors have no clothes. Robert J. Samuelson's beat is economics, but he doesn't actually know anything about economics. Richard Cohen is not only totally muddleheaded, but takes up a 'liberal' spot on the op-ed page without actually being one. Michael Gerson is a partisan hack who writes about The Decency of George W. Bush. Anne Applebaum seemed clueless that she was having a hard time deciding, this year, between two vastly different and irreconcilable worldviews. And so forth.
But the big thing is, quality opinion writing on national and international affairs isn't a scarce resource. Lots of people are doing quality punditry for free, out in the blogosphere. And even the well-known bloggers that are getting paid (I'm thinking of people like Kevin Drum, Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Steve Benen, and others who are being paid strictly to blog for magazines like the Atlantic, the American Prospect, the Washington Monthly, Mother Jones, and so forth) are almost certainly getting paid way less than the op-ed regulars at the Washington Post.
And people like Matt and Ezra and Steve and Kevin and Hilzoy produce far better analytical writing each week than the WaPo op-ed regs, and actually add to your knowledge to boot. How often do you learn something new in a WaPo op-ed?
So here you have one truly terrible - and presumably pretty expensive - section of the newspaper, that could be greatly improved quite easily, and save lots of money at the same time. If you're thinking of ways to maintain the WaPo's quality and readership in an era of newspaper budget and staff cuts, how could you possibly miss this?