HILZOY…. About a year ago, when I first started at the Monthly, Paul Glastris told me he was bringing on another blogger to join me in the post-Drum era. This was, initially, cause for concern. After all, I’d been blogging for more than five years without a regular co-contributor, and I wasn’t at all sure whether it would be awkward sharing blog space with someone else.

Then Paul told me the other blogger would be Hilzoy. I immediately felt better.

Hilzoy isn’t just one my favorite bloggers, she’s one of those bloggers who, on a nearly-daily basis, makes me think, “Damn, I wish I’d written that.”

Every blogger brings certain talents to the process, but Hilzoy offers a rare combination of skills — she’s clever, knowledgeable, and almost preternaturally insightful. She’s brought an unrivaled compassion, wisdom, and care to her work. Perhaps most important, Hilzoy is a genuine class act, whose blogging has made a real difference.

Ironically, a year ago, I had trouble imagining blogging alongside someone else. Now that Hilzoy is hanging up her keyboard, I’m saddened at the prospect of blogging without her around.

As regular readers know, today is Hilzoy’s last day as a blogger — believe me, I tried to talk her out of it — and all of us here at the Monthly wish her the very best.

It’s been an honor sharing this space with her over the last year, and here’s hoping this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her blogging work. I, for one, am already designing the “Hilzoy Comeback Tour ’10” t-shirts, just in case.

After all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Hilzoy’s blogging over the years, it’s that hope is a valuable thing.

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Steve Benen

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.