So, who's going to replace Meghan McCain on "The View"?

News that she was out came like a bolt from the blue this morning. Was she really quitting, as the reports claimed, or was that just a face-saving excuse the producers handed her while quietly telling her to hit the bricks? I thought back to some of the unusual blow-ups she had with Whoopi Goldberg on the air over the past month or so. Typically she gets into it with Behar or Sunny Hostin. Maybe going after Whoopi was the last straw. Irreconcilable differences.

I don’t think that’s it, though. “The View” did well in the ratings with McCain and producers will tolerate a lot of on-set drama for ratings. Also, McCain is a new mom and so she has good reason to want more time away from work. Maybe she really did quit and that’s why.

According to Variety, though, that’s not the truth (or the whole truth) either. The truth is that after spending the pandemic broadcasting from home, the five panelists were going to be asked to return to the set in NYC soon. McCain lives in D.C. and didn’t want to. Like many, many other Americans, she’s become accustomed to the pleasures of remote work. Forced to choose between relocating and going her own way, she made her choice, a prominent example of the “Great Resignation” happening across the American labor force.

A source tells Variety that McCain made the decision herself to depart and that recent rumblings about on-set feuds had nothing to do with her exit. McCain’s contract isn’t up yet, but earlier this summer, she approached ABC executives to ask to be released from her deal because she does not want to move back to New York City. She had relocated to Washington D.C. during the pandemic, where she and her husband, political commentator and frequent Fox News personality, Ben Domenech, are raising their young daughter, Liberty. According to the DailyMail, McCain has two years remaining on her contract.

Liberal “View” watchers are ecstatic at the prospect of the show becoming, uh, more boring again. Some also thought they detected glee in Joy Behar’s reaction to McCain’s news this morning, although I think they’re mistaken:

Joy was mugging for the camera in response to what McCain said about there being four weeks left to fight, I believe, not McCain saying she’s leaving. Everyone knows who her chief sparring partner on the show is.

The question of the moment is who’ll replace her. Lefties will snark that any female talking head on Fox can do the job, but that’s not true. For all the hype about McCain’s clashes with the other panelists, she had an important qualification that made her simpatico with them — she detested Trump. She was unorthodox for a righty in other ways too, like being an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights. There was a certain amount of political common ground all five women on the show shared that took the edge off their battles. I think if you asked Goldberg, say, whether she thought McCain had good intentions in her politics even when she disagreed with her, she’d say yes. (Behar is another matter.)

Are there a lot of women pundits in conservative media who could fill that precise niche, whose basic decency would be assumed by her colleagues because she agreed with them on something basic like “Trump is bad”? Someone like Abby Huntsman would fit the bill, but Huntsman’s clearly not coming back to “The View.” Tomi Lahren or Candace Owens or Kayleigh McEnany would get ratings but I don’t see the other four giving them the benefit of the doubt as to good intentions that McCain received, which would quickly make the set intolerable. (Hiring McEnany, Trump’s former press secretary, might spark a walkout.) I’m partial to our Townhall cousin, Katie Pavlich, and Hot Air alumna turned CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham but have zero sense of how they’d be received. Who’s going to end up in McCain’s seat?