Men Overboard: Nather Leaves CQ, Stein to Follow?

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David Nather is leaving CQ after almost a decade to co-write a book on health care reform with Tom Daschle.

Nather’s exit follows that of ace defense reporter Josh Rogin who took up at Foreign Policy last week, replacing Laura Rozen. Additionally, sources tell FishbowlDC that spy guy Jeff Stein has been spotted meeting with Politico editors Jim Vandehei, Bill Nichols and John Harris. When asked about a possible Politico future, Jeff Stein replied “no comment.”

See Susan Benkelman’s announcement about Nather’s departure after the jump.

To the newsroom:

I’m sorry to report that David Nather is leaving Congressional Quarterly after almost a decade as a writer for the Weekly. He’ll be co-writing a book on health care reform with Tom Daschle.

The former Senate majority leader obviously saw what we have known for the past 9+ years: David is one of the finest policy and politics writers in Washington. He came here with a specialty in the social policies, but he quickly established himself as the go-to guy for big-picture stories on Congress, the relationship between the legislative and executive branches and politics in general. In the Weekly, editors can often be seen arm-wrestling over who has the “task” of editing Nather stories — the winner gets to do it. They are a challenge, though, in that it’s hard to find a word you want to change.

David is a reporter and writer with incredible range, able to pivot off the news to capture the essence of an issue, and the nuance of the debate. An example was his perceptive 2002 cover story a year after the Sept. 11 attacks about the dual personality of Congress – the superficial collaboration in the name of the “war on terror” masking a continuation of deeply partisan politics as usual. In 2004, he labeled the November vote as “The $4 Billion Election” and explained how the cumulative price tag was soaring even while “it all still feels so cheap.” Two of my favorites were 1) his piece on how Obama and Hillary Clinton, by virtue of their voting records, werenÂ’t as different as they were telling Democratic primary voters they were; and 2) his way-ahead-of-the-pack assessment, in June of 2007, on how Dick Cheney had fundamentally remade the role of vice president.

His detailed explanations, during the primaries, of how each of the major presidential candidates viewed the role of executive power and government secrecy were a natural outgrowth of a series of cover stories he had done on Bush’s assertions of executive power and privilege and his fighting of efforts (like strengthening the hand of inspectors general) to curtail his powers.

We have often said we’d like to clone David Nather, and now we’d like to again, so we could send the clone off to Tom Daschle, and keep the original.

David’s last day will be tomorrow, and at some point during the day we’ll find an appropriate time to toast his years here.