When past Westword profile subject David Harsanyi hit town back in 2004, he was the token conservative columnist in a sea of liberalism -- but somehow, he managed not to drown. Far from it: Last September, he released Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America Into a Nation of Children, a book that received quite a bit of attention on the punditocracy circuit -- and now, the column he's been writing for the Post editorial pages since making way for new metro scribes Susan Greene and William Porter has been picked up by Creators Syndicate for national syndication.
"The first column runs this Tuesday," August 12, Harsanyi reveals via e-mail. He adds, "I'm not sure how many local columnists have gone national, but I hope it will bring more attention to me and the editorial page -- which, I would also offer, has become far more interesting and dynamic (local and national primary endorsements, video interviews, punchier editorial, etc. ...) since Dan Haley took over."
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Of course, Harsanyi has had something to do with that improvement, too, and that's one reason why his new gig sounds so promising. Too many nationally syndicated conservative columnists spit out predictable opinions that seem like minor variations on screeds they've been penning for years. But Harsanyi still has the ability to surprise, and his lively and thoughtful approach makes him worth reading for lefties and right-wingers alike. With long-timers such as Robert "The Prince of Darkness" Novak finally fading from the scene, the nation's newspapers could use some fresh ideas. And Harsanyi will begin providing them forthwith. -- Michael Roberts