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The New Kristol

Bill Kristol penned his final New York Times column earlier this week, leaving a slot open for a conservative voice on the paper's pages. But who should it be? We've asked several notable conservatives to select their ideal candidates to fill Kristol's shoes. Here are a few early responses.

Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform doesn't want the Times to hire another idiosyncratic voice. If the Gray Lady is looking for a conservative viewpoint on the page, he says, "you can't have Fanta in there; you need classic Coke." He thinks David Brooks is interesting, but "you can't read him and have any understanding of why Boehner and Mitchell and the NRA do what they do." He's similarly skeptical of emerging conservative thinkers who pose sweeping revisions to conservative ideology. ("Get elected dog catcher and then tell me these ideas are going to work for everyone.") His pick for a conservative that could best articulate the party's stance would be Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard.

Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield--see a TNR critique of his work here--said his top pick would be columnist Victor Davis Hanson, a writer for the National Review Online and a fellow at the Hoover Institution. "He follows events very closely, and he has a lot of historical background knowledge that he's used to using for present-day applications. I don't know if there's any major columnist who has that going right now," Mansfield says. He adds that being "a tenacious partisan" would make Hanson a good choice. "I think it's pretty important for The New York Times to have someone like that if it wants to show that it is open to the other side, and even to the other side in its more frantic moods," Mansfield explains.

His second pick would be Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, whom Mansfield calls "pleasurably contentious."

Pundit David Frum's name is floating around the blogosphere as a pick to replace Kristol, but his money is on City Journal editor Heather Mac Donald. "A great New York newspaper needs a great columnist writing about New York," Frum said.

--Marin Cogan and Seyward Darby