This being Ed Kilgore’s last day as lead blogger here at Washington Monthly’s Political Animal, I wanted to offer a few going away thoughts.

Ed is very Washington Monthly kind of writer. By that I mean several things. First, he brings an interest in and knowledge of the policy substance underneath politics into his analysis. This seems like something every political reporter or commentator ought to do but very few in fact do, either because they’re insecure in their grasp of policy issues, or because they misunderstand them, or because they don’t really care. Second, his political and policy sympathies range pretty widely along the center-left spectrum. He’s not “speaking” for the progressive left or the moderates/centrists or any other faction, but doing his best to find points of agreement while calling out each side’s foolishness when he sees it. Third, he doesn’t see experience in government and politics as somehow a disqualification for writing journalistically about these subjects, but rather, a huge advantage.

To the extent that there’s a connection between a writer’s prose style and character, Ed’s very transparent: the sense of the guy you get from reading his posts is very much the Ed you encounter in person and on the phone. He’s insightful, funny, wise, and super-easy to work with. He’s opinionated but with just the right facts—and often a great story–to back up his opinions. He’s passionate yet even-keeled, something not everyone can pull off. He’s gentle and decent but perfectly able and willing to throw a punch (rhetorically, anyway). He’s got a generous and forgiving nature but is also aware of the lines that shouldn’t be crossed and and keen memory for those who’ve crossed them.

I could go on, but if I do I’m afraid I’ll get all sentimental. Instead, let me quote few of the commenters who reacted to my and Ed’s posts on Monday:

afdiplomat: I’ve greatly enjoyed Ed Kilgore’s unique take on political affairs — especially his dedication, all too rare among those on the left, to take religion seriously in its own right and as a political factor

Henry Willis: I’ll miss Ed’s writing (compariing Lindsey Graham’s calls for war to the croaking of a low country crow, to take one recent example) and his insights earned from experience, even if I didn’t always agree.

exlibra: I’ll miss his puckish sense of humour

davidp: Ed’s writing has been so consistently excellent, he was bound sooner or later to get an offer of a more lucrative gig.

The political stuff is fine, but what I really like is the daily music videos! I’ve been able to rekindle my love for music over the past few years, so thank you, Ed, for that.

Bruce S: This is going to sound weird, but aside from Ed being a smart guy and a terrific blogger who kept any axes-to-grind at a safe distance, a couple of the things I’ve enjoyed most – albeit subtly – has been that he’s a Democrat with a southern sensibility (despite the current “fancy” digs down Carmel way), a practicing Christian in the snark-infested “liberal blogosphere” without piling it on in the context of politics, and a DLC veteran whose current politics I find totally compatible and – in my opposite-end-of-the-Dem-spectrum-centric way – assume is an indicator that the most abrasive ideological wars are at the least muted and the “left” has come out with considerable credibility and gravitational pull.

GeoffyG: Ed was a more than worthy successor to two of the best news-cycle bloggers in the business. And I am beyond thrilled, as the kids say, that Nancy LeTourneau and Martin Longman will take up the reins.

Couldn’t agree more. Good luck, my friend!

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Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. A former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, he is writing a book on America’s involvement in the Greek War of Independence.