Monday, January 25, 2010

Bill’s Late Father Irving Kristol: ‘My Poor Son Has Got It Wrong Again’

I honestly can't think of any commentator who has been more consistently wrong than Bill Kristol.

Here are Kristol's own words:

We are tempted to comment, in these last days before the war, on the U.N., and the French, and the Democrats. But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam's regime. It will produce whatever effects it will produce on neighboring countries and on the broader war on terror. We would note now that even the threat of war against Saddam seems to be encouraging stirrings toward political reform in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a measure of cooperation in the war against al Qaeda from other governments in the region. It turns out it really is better to be respected and feared than to be thought to share, with exquisite sensitivity, other people's pain. History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts.
The verdicts, as we all know, have come in; and Kristol was wrong in every aspect of what he preached. But he has paid no price for getting things as wrong as he did, he has lost no credibility as an "expert"; indeed, he still talks as if the Iraq war was good policy.

Steven Walt explains how this phenomenon works:
They are effectively insulated from failure,” says Stephen Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, one of the neocons’ most frequent antagonists. “Even if you’ve totally screwed up in office and things you’ve advocated in print have failed, there are no real consequences, either professionally or politically. You go back to AEI and Weekly Standard and continue to agitate or appear on talk shows as if nothing has gone wrong at all.”

Even his own father and friends of Kristol's admit that he screws things up:
He would rather take an interesting wrong position than a dull correct one,” says a longtime neocon who did not want to be named because the two are friendly. Several people who know Kristol describe his Palin boosterism—his very public campaign to persuade John McCain to put her on the Republican ticket—as a schoolboy-like infatuation, sparked when a Weekly Standard cruise docked in Juneau. [...] “Bill’s a very close friend of mine, but he does an awful lot of things just to get publicity,” says one prominent Republican who also did not want to be named for fear of offending Kristol.


Even his father had his qualms. “My poor son has got it wrong again,” he sometimes lamented to an old family friend.

Indeed, even the insane Ralph Peters thinks that Kristol and his ilk are "men for whom too much came too easily in life, so it was all too easy for them to view our troops as mere tools to implement their visions."

But, Kristol continues preaching, and Fox News continues to act as if this man still has credibility, despite the fact that he has been consistently wrong more than any other commentator I can think of.

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