I agree with Chatterbox:
On the strength of two columns thus far on the New York Times op-ed page—to read them, click here and here—Barbara Ehrenreich has established herself as the Times's best columnist. This is, of course, a snap judgment, but Ehrenreich has long been one of the most eloquent voices on the left, which, as distinct from liberalism, has not had much access to the mainstream press for many years.
I love Ehrenreich's writing, and I agree with Chatterbox especially that Dowd's Op Eds are dreadful, vacuous, and a poor imitation of Molly Ivins (but maybe that last part is just me).
The Times should keep Herbert, though. I remember his reporting on the Tulia story, which I thought was captivating (link goes to the Tulia story; Herbert's NYT Tulia columns are now for paying subscribers only).