Michael Kinsley is a puzzle to LI. He could have been a much greater writer than he is -- he definitely has the elements. There are columnists like George Will who write much worse -- Will, in fact, has one of the highest proportions of drivel to memorable graf in the industry --but who have attained disproportionate respect because they are sporadically sesquipedalian. Forget them. There are times that the spirit of Murray Kempton himself seems to hover round Kinsley.
That he has chosen to bank his major time in editing and tv shows that writing isn't the lure for some... Go figure.
His column about Bad Bill Bennett's Gambling prob is a thing of beauty and a joy for a newscycle parasec. Here's the beginning of it.
"Sinners have long cherished the fantasy that William Bennett, the virtue magnate, might be among our number. The news over the weekend�that Bennett's $50,000 sermons and best-selling moral instruction manuals have financed a multimillion dollar gambling habit�has lit a lamp of happiness in even the darkest hearts. As the joyous word spread, crack flowed like water through inner-city streets, family court judges began handing out free divorces, children lit bonfires of The Book of Virtues, More Virtuous Virtues, Who Cheesed My Virtue?, Moral Tails: Virtue for Dogs, etc. And cynics everywhere thought, for just a moment: Maybe there is a God after all."
The rest of it styles with as magnificent a swish. Lovely stuff.