It’s arguable that, just as the Democrats viewed Schultz as the right man for the job during the heart of the Bush years, MSNBC is beginning to view others as a better fit in the age of Obama. Schultz’s bombast, which resembles the Fox News style of the 2000s, was once the hallmark of opinionated cable news. But now, perhaps, MSNBC sees a different way forward, and is building a lineup in the sober, technocrat image of the current administration.

If the prospect of this troubles Schultz, he isn’t saying. For the first time in his life, Ed Schultz feels he has no higher plane to reach. He’s finally gotten to play those big-league downs he aspired to since high school.

Sitting with Schultz in his radio studio in 30 Rock, a small room along one of the building’s long hallways, I asked him what, in a career marked by a constant restlessness—for more airtime, more audience, more money, another medium, a bigger impact—he hoped to do next. “I want to have a show that’s the best it can be at eight o’clock,” he said. “After this, what else is there? There aren’t many people who get to this level.”

And then the intro music kicked in, signaling the end of the commercial break, and Big Eddie turned back to the mic.

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Michael Meyer is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter at @mcm_nm.