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More Than The Prince, A Reporter

Unlike Isaac Chotiner, I rarely watched Robert Novak (or any of the other instant experts) on television, but I read his and Rowland Evans' column since at least the early 1970s. Let me put in a word here for Novak the columnist rather than the media "prince of darkness." Novak came into column-writing as a journalist, and his columns were almost always based on reporting as well as opinion, so you could learn something from reading him whatever you thought of his political opinions. During and before the 1980 election, for instance, he was one of the people who wrote about the battle for Ronald Reagan's mind between the traditional conservatives and the supply-siders, and his book, The Reagan Revolution, was a valuable contribution to political history, as was his book on the Johnson administration, Lyndon Johnson: The Exercise of Power, written while he was still a Democrat. I miss Novak as a columnist, and miss the kind of columnist he was, who wasn't content to air his hallowed opinion of facts that were already drearily familiar to readers.

--John B. Judis