October 17, 2007
In recent few days, two vital armies in the idea wars announced plans to change generals. First, Chris DeMuth will leave the command of the American Enterprise Institute by the end of 2008, after 22 remarkable years at the helm of this crucial Washington-based think tank and research organization. A search committee (including DeMuth, Jim Wilson, and former Fordham trustee Bruce Kovner, who chairs the AEI board) will seek to identify a fit successor. It won't be easy. Chris and I first got acquainted when both of us, still in our 20s, worked for Pat Moynihan in the Nixon White House, where a thin divider separated our work-spaces in the grand Old Executive Office Building. At AEI, he's been an extraordinary institution builder and leader, as well as a scholar in his own right. We surely haven't heard the last of him. His "think-tank confidential" valedictory in the Wall Street Journal on October 12th is an inspired essay--you can find it here--that underscores both the quality of his mind and prose and the central role that such institutions have come to play in contemporary America, due in no small part to Chris. Second, Commentary Magazine just announced that John Podhoretz will succeed Neal Kozodoy as that distinguished journal's editor in January 2009. Kozodoy has been on Commentary's editorial team for a remarkable 41 years and its editor since 1995. As all who have worked with him know well, he's a formidable, visionary, strong-willed and self-assured editor--as was his predecessor, as will be his successor. John Podhoretz (son of Norman) is a gifted editor, critic, columnist, and general all-around savant, who can be counted on to lead this seminal "neo-con" magazine to new successes on its chosen beats, which include domestic and foreign policy, literature and the arts, and Jewish matters.