We live in funny new times. Some things have changed. For a long time op-ed pages served as a way that various elites sent public memos to each other. Their primary purpose wasn't really to be read by the great unwashed who forked over their quarter for the funny papers that day, but to be read by other important people. This never entirely made any sense to me, but that's the way it worked. One individual, or faction, signalling allegiance and support (or disapproval) to other individuals or factions. To place an op-ed in a particular paper (Washington Post, especially) at a particular time wasn't done to convince the public, but to send a message to the people who really matter.
So, yes, I'm sure that Neal Katyal is interested in signalling that he's a team player, that he's sorta liberal but a Reasonable Liberal, that when his turn comes, his minor investment in elite lickspittling, consequences for the rest of us be damned, will pay off handsomely.
But as I said, we live in funny times. When that time comes, assholes like me will be more likely to remember his little note of support than will marginal senators, some of whom will likely be dead (they're old, after all). So Katyal misfired that signal gun. When a dozen or so 5-4 decisions come down, destroying women's health rights, religious freedom, anti-discrimination laws, LGTBQ protections, immigrant rights, etc.. etc... we'll be there to remind him, and anyone who is thinking of sending him upstairs in his big boy gown.