On the Passing of Robert Novak

In 2004, I met Robert Novak after a rather contentious speaking engagement at the University of Wisconsin - Madison's Memorial Union Theater.

Novak struck me as rather more libertarian than straight up Bush II-era conservative in his remarks than I had anticipated, I recall.

When I shook his hand, I mentioned a bit about the campus climate and thanked him for bringing a bit of intellectual diversity to the school's speaker line up.  He seemed to enjoy that, and he wrote on a scrap of paper: "Hurrah for intellectual diversity, Robert Novak"

Novak, by his positioning, made himself someone you had to read if you wanted to be in the know about national politics.  He added an element of realpolitik to his observations, which many, it seems, found a bit scary.  While he wasn't always spot on, I thought his style was a bit refreshing.

Some choose sifting to get at the truth, and others, as Novak did, stick to winnowing.