His last column ran today. I wouldn’t like what Kristol had to say in any event, but I agree with Jacob Heilbrunn, “hubris wasn’t Kristol’s problem. Rather the reverse. It seemed like his heart wasn’t really in it any longer.”

Heilbrunn sees Kristol’s departure as further evidence for the thesis (which he recently argued in TAC) that the neocons may be returning to their liberal roots:

No doubt many will celebrate Kristol’s exit. But after decades on the right, the neocons are returning to their liberal origins. Isn’t it interesting that Kristol’s most interesting op-ed came at the end and could have been titled “in Defense of Liberalism”?

So much, at any rate for the liberal media conspiracy theory. Kristol was probably let go by the Times, not because he was too conservative, but not conservative enough.

Update: The comments on the American Spectator‘s blog post about Kristol’s departure are remarkable: lots of grassroots (or netroots) fury at the neocons and some perceptive remarks about the failure of the GOP brand.