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Hail Tim Noah

I heard last night that longtime columnist Timothy Noah lost his job at Slate. They’ve always had a reputation for being a certain sort of publication, but Noah — earnest, dedicated to truth and justice and tackling the big issues — never fit the mold. “Laying Tim Noah off will make us a better publication” is, in its way, the ultimate Slate pitch.

His masterwork was his relatively recent series “The Great Divergence” on income inequality, which I thought was a real window into what a “web magazine” might possibly be. But beyond that, Noah’s also been a longtime champion of such important issues as Senate reform, a non-opportunist who wisely urged Democrats to take the plunge back in 2005. It’s really worth taking a moment to step back and consider what a better world we might be living in today had people taken his advice. A somewhat larger stimulus bill, a somewhat better health care bill, a somewhat tougher financial reform bill. But also dozens of extra judges and executive branch nominees. A carbon pricing law. A resolution of the Bush tax cuts. Most likely some form of federal labor law reform. The DREAM Act. It was never “realistic” that Senate Democrats would listen to Noah, but they should have. His dedicated efforts to cover the health care bill as a major event with dramatic implications for the lives of millions of people rather than a small-scale drama with implications for a couple thousand political professionals was also much appreciated on my part.

I’ll be looking forward to whatever he comes up with next.

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