KRISTOL’S CONTRACT?…. It’s Monday, so Bill Kristol has another New York Times column today. The gist of it is that he’d like to see Barack Obama embrace Bush’s policies in Iraq. Natch.

But reading the column, it occurred to me that there’s been very little news of late about Kristol’s employment status with the paper of record. As I recall, it was January 2008 when Kristol signed a one-year contract. It’s January 2009. So why is Kristol still there?

Greg Mitchell had an item on this back on December 29.

Exactly one year ago this weekend the Huffington Post broke the news that, as Jim Morrison might have put it, the Kristol Ship was about to sail at The New York Times. Much uproar ensued across the blogosphere. Some pointed out Kristol’s call for the paper to be prosecuted, on Fox News in 2006, after its big banking records scoop: “I think it is an open question whether the Times itself should be prosecuted for this totally gratuitous revealing of an ongoing secret classified program that is part of the war on terror.”

A day after the Huffington Post reported it, the Times announced that it had indeed hired the conservative pundit as a new weekly op-ed columnist, on a one-year contract. […]

[The paper’s public editor, Clark Hoyt, wrote a year ago]: “This is a decision I would not have made. But it is not the end of the world. Everyone should take a deep breath and calm down…. If Kristol is another [William] Safire, he has the chance to prove it. If not, he and the newspaper will move on, and the search will resume.”

Now, a year later, the Times indeed has a chance to “move on.”

And since then, nothing. There’s been no news about Kristol getting a new contract, being denied a new contract, or the search for a new addition to the Times‘ stable of columnists.

Has anyone heard anything? I’ve long assumed that Kristol, after a year of errors of fact and judgment, would receive a polite call from the publishers, explaining that the paper has decided to go “in a different direction.” But at this point, there haven’t been any reports either way.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.