Thomas Schaller, The Baltimore Sun

Consider this shoutout a thank you that political columnist Schaller, a UMBC professor of political science, seems to be the only non-sports columnist at The Sun who takes his job and readers seriously. He'll acknowledge Maryland's progressive strides ("Maryland becomes a liberal paradise," April 3, 2013) or chide the Department of Defense ("Don't exempt Pentagon from scrutiny," May 1, 2013) in the same kind of clear, direct prose he uses to keep track of Barack Obama's ups and downs-well, this year, mostly downs ("When the president checks out, abuses mount," May 29, 2013; "Is Obama the world's worst socialist?," Sept. 4, 2013). Whether or not we agree with Schaller's opinions isn't the point-that he respects his forum and his reader enough to articulate an idea and argue it is.

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