What Has William Kristol Been Smoking?

William Kristol, the neocon’s poster boy, pens an op-ed in the Washington Post that states — apparently in all seriousness — that history will vindicate George W. Bush as a successful president. That is, if we win the war in Iraq and the Republicans win the election in 2008. Oh, and if pigs could fly you’d get your breakfast for free.

I suppose I’ll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush’s presidency will probably be a successful one.

Let’s step back from the unnecessary mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds that have characterized the Bush administration. Let’s look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees. What do we see? First, no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil — not something we could have taken for granted. Second, a strong economy — also something that wasn’t inevitable.

And third, and most important, a war in Iraq that has been very difficult, but where — despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless “benchmark” report last week — we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome.

First, the reason is that there has been “no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil” is probably because Osama bin Laden and his gang figured out very quickly that they don’t need to attack us again; the reaction by the Bush administration with such things as the PATRIOT Act, the warrantless wiretapping, the constant ratcheting up of the “terror alerts” whenever there’s some nut with a paintball gun and a copy of the Koran, and all the exploitation of the mob mentality that goes with it has accomplished the mission that Al-Qaeda set forth: disrupt the Western way of life and get us to pay attention to them. All they have to do is release a scratchy video tape every six months of Osama bin Laden mumbling and ranting and they’re all over the front pages. It’s like playing with a cat with a laser pointer; they know the reaction and it’s endless fun for them. They didn’t have to waste their money and hit us again: they got what they wanted the first time.

As for the economy, only someone like William Kristol, who never has to worry about where his next meal is coming from or how he’ll pay for his health insurance all the while he’s waiting for his next tax cut, could say that the economy is doing better. Sure; things are great as long as you don’t max out the credit card. But when the bill comes due, who’s going to pay for it? The GOP used to be the party of sound fiscal management and pay-as-you-go. Now they are spending money like a repressed family values right-wing politician on a bender in a brothel in New Orleans. Never mind that the income gap between the richest and the average working class family has never been wider. Never mind that all those tax cuts touted by the president and Mr. Kristol didn’t trickle down any further than the Hummer dealership and the gatehouse at Garish Acres. Never mind that our health care system ranks right up there with Slovenia and the drug companies have a net income on the same level as some NATO countries. And never mind that the cost of gasoline has nearly doubled since the Bush administration took office. Yes, a trickle-down economy works great, Mr. Kristol, as long as you’re the one doing the pissing.

As for Iraq and “being on the course to a successful outcome,” that’s a hard line to sell after we’ve seen the largest number of dead Americans coming out of there in the last two months than all the months before. That’s a hard sell when car bombs and insurgent attacks are on the rise, and it’s an even harder sell when the Iraqi government itself doesn’t even give enough of a shit to put an end to the sectarian violence that they have no qualms about taking off on vacation for the entire month of August and basically saying to the United States, “hey, take care of the place while we’re gone.”

Mr. Kristol’s rationalization for invading Iraq is that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and things would be worse over there if we’d let him stay in power. He’s basing that on the premise that “with the United States (and the United Nations) by now having backed off sanctions and the no-fly zone. He might well have restarted his nuclear program, and his connections with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups would be intact or revived and even strengthened.”

Okay, let me say this slowly so even those of you in the back of the room can understand it: There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Even President Bush admitted as such (although Dick Cheney wasn’t in the room when he said it). Saddam Hussein was a secularist and al-Qaeda is fundamentalist. Short version: they hated and distrusted each other. That they both happened to be Muslims doesn’t automatically make them allies any more than the fact that both Bill Clinton and Fred Phelps happen to say that they are Christians makes them allies in their causes. There was no viable al-Qaeda presence in Iraq until we invaded the country and provided them with powerful incentive to be there: American soldiers on the street ripe for attack, no Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard to wipe them out, and a seething mass of angry and volatile unemployed Muslims who have never trusted the West to keep out of their affairs. Al-Qaeda sprang up in Iraq like mushrooms on the lawn. Second, there is no indication that the United States and the UN would have backed off the sanctions and the no-fly zones; they were working…at least as well as they were when the first President Bush put them in place. Third, Saddam Hussein had no nuclear program to speak of, so how could he restart it? (Or wasn’t Mr. Kristol paying attention to all the stories that eventually got Scooter Libby so much press?)

The rationale for invading Iraq — fighting the war on terror — is like President Roosevelt ordering the invasion of Italy after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Yes, Iraq was a repressive dictatorship in the Middle East. Fact: it would be an event if there wasn’t a repressive dictatorship in the Middle East. Second, there were a lot more countries with a lot more loony dictators than Saddam Hussein at the time, including North Korea and the Sudan, and they posed as much a threat — if not more — against ourselves and the rest of civilization than that preening dictator in Iraq.

Finally, Mr. Kristol pulls out the scariest threat of all: if Bush is a failure, the Democrats will win.

Even at Bush’s current low point in popularity, the leading GOP presidential candidates are competitive in the polls with Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Furthermore, one great advantage of the current partisan squabbling in Washington is that while it hurts Bush, it also damages the popularity of the Democratic Congress– where both Clinton and Obama serve. A little mutual assured destruction between the Bush administration and Congress could leave the Republican nominee, who will most likely have no affiliation with either, in decent shape.

And what happens when voters realize in November 2008 that, if they choose a Democrat for president, they’ll also get a Democratic Congress and therefore liberal Supreme Court justices? Many Americans will recoil from the prospect of being governed by an unchecked triumvirate of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. So the chances of a Republican winning the presidency in 2008 aren’t bad.

Nice try. We’ve already had a test run of that theory. It was the election of 2006, and the voters gave the GOP, to coin a phrase, “a thumpin’.” The Democrats have stumbled occasionally and the Republicans have pulled out their once-reviled tactic of the filibuster, but to say that the current crop of GOP candidates is “competitive” is like saying that being behind even Hillary Clinton by ten points is within the margin of error. And name me one Republican candidate who is going to stand on the podium at the Republican National Convention next summer in Minneapolis and invite the current president to stand with him as he accepts the nomination. Even the most optimistic yet straight-thinking GOP supporter knows that the Republican candidate, whichever white guy it is, is in for a beating on the level of 1964.

Which brings me to this observation: since when did the Republicans lower their standards to such a point that the performance of George W. Bush as President of the United States could be measured on any scale as being successful? Name me one decision that they’ve made in fighting the war on terror that they’ve gotten right, from leaving Afghanistan at halftime to invade Iraq to shredding the Constitution to find Osama under their bed in Miami. Name me one program, including everything from No Child Left Behind to their so-called faith-based initiatives, to scientific research, to health care reform, that hasn’t been so riddled with politics and lack of leadership that they have risen above the level of being a pay-out to their political hacks and cronies and actually done some good. Name me one appointment to the bench that hasn’t sought to return the laws and standards back to the 1950’s or beyond and re-energized the discarded theory that equal rights under the law only applies to those who are well-connected, the right color, and straight. If this is how the Republicans now judge “success,” perhaps it’s a good thing that the Bush administration has been a complete fuck-up; can you imagine how bad it would be if they actually did what they wanted to do right?

The righties are fond of accusing the left of having what they call “Bush Derangement Syndrome;” that the very mention of Bush sends the left off into a frothing frenzy of hatred. Actually, it seems to be working the other way. In the eyes of the right, George W. Bush can do no wrong, even when he brings the country to the brink of disaster at home and abroad. It’s like a cult of personality, and William Kristol has been one of the leading preachers of it. So it’s not surprising at all that he comes up with this magical mystery tour of why Bush will be a winner. I only hope that when he finally realizes how completely deranged he’s been, he’ll have the courage and the eloquence to say how amazingly wrong he was.

Hey, look! Free breakfast!

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.



Filed under 06_bobby

26 responses to “What Has William Kristol Been Smoking?

  1. oddjob

    He’s been tripping out on this wild delusion of his for years now. His dad is even worse!

  2. Pingback: Hillary Clinton ‘08 » What Has William Kristol Been Smoking?

  3. boatboy_srq

    Shrub has, indeed, been nearly successful: nearly successful at simultaneously creating the Permanent Republican Majority (PRM) and creating enough fiscal woes to threaten the undoing of that librul social safety net the GOP prefers to keep in (their) private hands. Of course, fiscal responsibility doesn’t matter if you’re actually trying to bankrupt the state to force your agenda, and of course the PRM requires suppression of the franchise for dissenters, but that’s the way when you play a zero-sum game.

    I would say there actually have been three successful terrorist strikes and two successful terrorist campaigns in the US since 9/11. The strikes would be the Patriot Act and the MCA (if “they hate us for our Freedom[tm]” then doing away with that Freedom[tm] is clearly their work) and the Katrina / New Orleans fiasco (gross mismanagement of a trusted governmental agency set up to help the citizenry in an emergency is clearly a targeted attack against our cities). The campaigs would be the steady suppression of rights, freedoms and protections afforded by our own laws, and the wanton bankrupting of the Treasury. All these things have left us feeling less safe, less secure, less confident in our public institutions and far more indebted than we were before. That’s a recipe for collective terrorism in my book. Bin Laden didn’t need to send more footsoldiers here: the [mal]administration has done its best to eviscerate the very things they have repeatedly told us the terrorists attack us for.

    There’s a phrase I do wish, however, that conservative pundits could learn: loyal opposition. Bashing the Democratic Party’s policies as wrong-headed, ineffective and unproductive are ok if you’re opposing them publicly, especially if you actually have a rational alternate proposal: bashing Democrats outright as un-American is not. There’s a difference between a patriot and an ideologue. Oh. Never mind…

  4. William Kristol is but one of many flavors of Kool-Aid out on the market. Americans are waking up to being more cautious about their drinking habits.

  5. Yay George!

    Your teh besterest tat ever weres!!!!!!!1

  6. if this is kristol’s idea of success i would hate to see what his idea of a hobo clusterfuck might be. sweet hoooly milk chocolate crucified jayzus.

  7. i was going to say something but mb has said it perfectly and in a wonderfully unique way at that! ; )

  8. Pingback: University Update - Nancy Pelosi - What Has William Kristol Been Smoking?

  9. anangryoldbroad

    If Bill Kristol ever slummed it and left his overpriced and tackily decorated habitrail,someone would likely punch him right in his privledged white piehole. I dare him to say this kind of shit to someone packing up for his or her 4th or 5th tour in Iraq. I truly hate these people,fucking puffy white overeducated underthinking frat boys who never broke a sweat in their soft little lives.

    I think(and this could be totally wrong,so bear with me)that if it was possible to embarass these people personally,where they live,work,shop,dine,etc,it could slow this nonsense down a tad. Imagine for example of Michelle Malkin’s neighbors,the people where she buys her morning coffee,etc,just stopped talking to her and instead laughed and pointed or called her what she is to her face. (or better yet,played that idiotic cheerleader video in front of her and made fun of it to her face)Yeah there would be tantrums,big deal,that’s what she does anyway. What if the place where Kristol buys his suits or eats his lunch just refused to serve him anymore and told him he was a sanctamonius lying bloodthirsty wanker? Same goes for the rest of the “pundit class”.

    My question is why do we even have a pundit class in the first place?

  10. Wonderful points. I agree completely. If El Presidente’s rating ever gets above, oh, forty, forty-five percent ever again, I’ma gonna knit a hat out of licorice and eat it. Hey, did I ever mention the time Bush came to our high school? It’s a fascinating story.

    Also, thanks for reminding me that the Republican National Convention will be in my town next summer. I just don’t know how I’ll celebrate.

  11. oddjob

    I just don’t know how I’ll celebrate.

    How about buying a Brown Shirt uniform to strut around in while they’re in town? You could label yourself a guard from Gitmo, or something.

  12. oddjob

    if this is kristol’s idea of success i would hate to see what his idea of a hobo clusterfuck might be.

    MB, I think you’ve probably already seen it. That would be the Clinton presidency, the one 2/3 or more of Americans thought was pretty damn fine on the whole.

  13. blusilva

    There hasn’t been a second attack….yeah, well, there WAS a pretty stupendous first one during Bush’s watch, you idiot. I’m sick of Bush getting a free pass on that score.

  14. Doktor Wankenstein

    My question is why do we even have a pundit class in the first place?

    Somebody got the idea that the Murkin sheeple were either too stupid or too lazy to get their facts straight, and that they needed to have everything EXPLAINED to them.

    In a fair and balanced way, of course.

  15. Courtesy Flush

    This is my first time to the site, and I have to agree with everything that was said in the post.

    I know it’s been said before, but the problem lies in the fact that enough people will subscribe to Kristol’s revisionist history and will repeat back the talking points verbatim, all because they choose not to think for themselves. That pretty much sums up how the GOP has been in the White House for 7 years, as well. It must be noted how many things Kristol was wrong with in the run-up to and during the Iraq war. He dismissed talk of secterian strife and an insufficient amount of soldiers at the onset of the war in an anti-intellectual manner, which laid the ground for all the problems we’re experiencing now. He claimed the whole exercise would be a cakewalk and all the people of Iraq would welcome us with open arms. I’m sorry, but if people choose to listen to this guy’s crystal ball again and not question it, then they deserve what they get.

  16. Without a pundit class, who could we make fun of? It’s the written form of shooting fish in a barrel.

  17. Paen

    This reminds me if people in Berlin in 1945 who refused to believe that the war was lost until they saw the Soviet tanks rolling dowm the street.

  18. William K. Wolfrum

    The fact is, Kristol and the rest of the PNACians who’ve been part of this coup truly understand the media and are willing and able to exploit that knowledge as much as possible.

    Honestly, I’ve had people who are completely sane and passionate tell me that what the U.S. likely really needs to do is drop some nukes on Iraq, Iran, hell the whole of the non-Israel Middle East. I was truly hurt and frightened.

    The fact is, blogging is 90% preaching to the choir. The MSM still holds sway over the American people, and people like Kristol are viewed as serious, knowledgeable experts on foreign policy.

    Their sway is being dramatically lessened, mind you, but they are still extremely dangerous. And they will not go down quietly, or without a fight, especially with their own in power.


  19. William K. Wolfrum

    FYI: In the second paragraph at 12:25 “passionate” was meant to be “compassionate”


  20. Where’s that picture of the “hear no evil see no evil speak no evil” monkeys when we need it?

  21. oddjob

    The fact is, blogging is 90% preaching to the choir. The MSM still holds sway over the American people, and people like Kristol are viewed as serious, knowledgeable experts on foreign policy.

    Their sway is being dramatically lessened, mind you, but they are still extremely dangerous. And they will not go down quietly, or without a fight, especially with their own in power.

    You’re right! Until other pundits and talking heads routinely, bluntly, relentlessly point out to Kristol – TO HIS FACE – (when they have the chance) THAT HE HAS A PREDICTION ACCURACY RATE OF ZERO when it comes to Iraq, he will still be given air time, and that’s a problem!

    Until the MSM generally dismisses these people as the deranged idiots they are, as the danger to America they always have been, they will continue to cause little but trouble.

  22. What if the place where Kristol buys his suits or eats his lunch just refused to serve him anymore and told him he was a sanctamonius lying bloodthirsty wanker? Same goes for the rest of the “pundit class”.
    You hafta murder two people at one time to get that treatment…

  23. Pingback: Bill Kristol predicts a favorable Bush legacy. - By Sonia Smith - Slate Magazine

  24. Pingback: The Xsociate Files: Shattered Kristol

  25. Pingback: William K. Wolfrum » Blog Archive » Breaking: William Kristol explodes from hypocrisy

  26. Pingback: Breaking: William Kristol explodes from hypocrisy at Shakesville

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