Until the invasion of Iraq I was pretty conservative, and when I first started reading the paper his was a go-to column. (Later on with his disability he was a sort of role model.) I always found him smart and thoughtful.
I wonder how much respect you give a writer carries with you. During Iraq I was basically libertarian (and since the 2006 midterms at the latest I became liberal) but I still held him in high regard.
Hell, when I was in college I read William F. Buckley's column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (the closest major paper) and liked him especially since he was a well-spoken conservative who opposed the war and supported marijuana legalization. If I had come to him as a liberal I'd have thought he was a pompous self-mythologizing douchebag.