I only read one of her columns last year. The column is about how the largest political "party" today is independents. Polls show more than 40% of Americans claim to have no party affiliation. But, as political scientists have taken pains to point out, most independents are closet partisans. About 75% of "independents" vote either Democrats or Republican 70% of the time, more than many registered Democrats and Republicans.
You would think Parker would have revised her column--or better yet, already known this basic fact about our electoral--but she didn't. So it beats the hell out of me how she one the prize, esp. in a year David Leonhardt (a finalist) wrote a number of stellar columns on health care, the stimulus package, and assorted topics. (He also wrote two classics in 2008 that went unnoticed.)