Dana Milbank is now a liberal op-ed columnist

The Washington Post's snidest reporter is now free to share his actual political views, whatever they may be

Published August 30, 2010 3:30PM (EDT)

Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank

Media columnist Howard Kurtz, fresh from "reporting" on how much he loves a magazine published by one of his employers (and how it is more successful than a magazine his other employer recently sold), breaks the news that an employee of his other employer now has a slightly different job title.

Yes, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank is now an op-ed columnist, instead of whatever he was before. (What he was before was a columnist who was encouraged to be snide without betraying any actual opinions, which usually made his column a painful catalog of the cheapest possible shots.)

Of course Milbank's saving grace has always been that he actually reports his column, which means he occasionally finds genuinely entertaining bits of "color," and at his best he relates moments that humanize our elected officials. But apparently that was too hard, and so now he will just share his horrible puns and obnoxious cliches on their own.

Because haven't you always wanted to know more about Milbank himself, instead of the people he writes about?

Dana Milbank, who has been writing the "Washington Sketch" feature for nearly six years, is moving to the editorial page, where he will be free to opine at will. But Milbank says his writing will still be rooted in reporting and observation.

"Anybody reading my column would make an informed judgment that I'm left-of-center, and I wouldn't quarrel with that," he says. "But strongly ideological people on the left do not recognize me as one of their own."

Well, no, because Milbank has no coherent ideology beyond reflexive cynicism, and he shares the Beltway pundit class contempt for "strongly ideological people" who actually "believe" in things. But he thinks he's a liberal!

Dana, if you cast protest presidential votes for John McCain, Chuck Hagel, and Mike Bloomberg, then you are a Republican. You are not a far-right Republican, but you are safely "right-of-center." Even if you also think Sarah Palin is a loon and don't care if gay people get married.

Good news, though:

Milbank isn't putting his funny side -- which got him in trouble during the ill-fated "Mouthpiece Theater videos -- in a blind trust. He says he will still write some sketches online and contribute to a Post humor blog.

Thank god. The Post would be so dry without Dana Milbank's "funny side."

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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