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It's not so much that we don't quite understand this fish-nor-fowl business of Bruce Bartlett's work being billed on the Times homepage as though he's an op-ed columnist when he's more of a Suellentropian highbrow blogger. It's not that he's seemingly using the Times and this quasi-op-ed gig as little more than an ongoing plug for his new book, which his bio helpfully notes "has just been published by Doubleday." It's not even that his latest bit — the offering being flacked on the homepage — is just repeating the same stuff Paul Krugman has been saying for months.

The real problem with Barlett's stint as a "guest columnist" is that the dude looks far too much like Frank Rich, at least when you quickly glance at that little thumbnail shot. And then when we click through and read the piece and don't find a surprisingly persuasive conspiracy theory linking Dick Cheney, Prince Bandar, and David Merrick, we're inconsolably disappointed.

Bush's Crisis of Competence [NYT]