Monday, January 07, 2008

Kristol Klear

Little Billy Kristol is getting a part-time job at the New York Times and there is a lot of teeth gnashing in the blogosphere. I say part-time because he will be writing only once a week instead of twice like most Times columnists (Frank Rich only appears on Sunday, but his drivel is super-sized). He also gets to keep his day job editing The Weakly Standard which he cofounded because existing conservative opinion mags, including The American Spectator, were insufficiently rabid.

He will be taking the empty William Safire Endowed Chair For Conservative Folly. This will be a fiasco and an embarrassment for the Times, as if the Kristol-inspired WMD reporting wasn’t humiliating enough. And I predict this not out of any liberal sense of schadenfreude because I don’t view myself as particularly partisan. I like good writing from any position. My fear is that Kristol who has never been right (as opposed to right-wing) about anything in the past decade is determined to turn the Grey Lady into a bully pulpit for his petty politics.

If Poppy Bush was born on third base thinking he hit a triple, then Billy Boy was born in the owner’s box and thinks he should be batting clean-up. He is the son of Irving Kristol who pioneered the philosophy of lying to the public for their own good. Kristol the Younger is clearly a smart guy: prestigious prep school, Harvard magna cum laude, UPenn professor, yadda, yadda, yadda. One of his first forays into public service was as chief of staff first to noted moralist and blackjack loser Bill Bennett and then Vice President Quayle. It was while working for VP Potatoe that he earned the sobriquet “Quayle’s Brain”, a notably low bar for distinction. He has since then bounced around various think tanks and neo-con welfare positions. He was a principle architect of the theory that invading Iraq would bring never-ending peace and stability to the Middle East. We see how well that is going.

I first ran into Kristol when he was a frequent fill-in during the waning days of David Brinkley’s tenure on ABC's This Week. Streaming a river of flop sweat, he made Albert Brooks in Broadcast News seem as cool and collected as Peter Jennings. Since then Kristol has bounced around the Sunday morning screamer circuit until finding a home on Fox News Sunday where he can pass as a moderate somewhere between Brit Hume and Juan Williams.

Party apparatchiks like Kristol love to ridicule the Liberal Mainstream Media until it’s time to find a safe harbor when the rats start deserting the sinking ships of state. Karl Rove is taking his brand of crazy to Newsweek. Look for other disgraced conservative mouthpieces, lackeys, and fellow travelers to find refuge in the print media, the only industry falling faster than the Dubya Administration approval ratings. According to Radar Magazine, Kristol’s sweetheart deal was negotiated by fellow neocon scion Andy Rosenthal.

My point, and I do have one, is that Bill Kristol has never uttered a word that wasn’t complete horseshit in service of a political talking point. He has no legitimate journalistic experience and the concept of unbiased assessment is completely foreign to him. I’m sure he goes to bed every night with his smarmy grin, chuckling over the coup of infiltrating the paper of record as a Bilderberger fifth columnist. For at least the next fifty-two weeks you can judge for yourself whether he is still a front man for the “we will be welcomed with roses” crowd or whether he will eventually develop a spine or an independent thought.

His laconic and lazy first article is online and it is tepid material indeed. He mostly damns Mike Huckabee with faint praise. Here is pretty much the thesis:
Now it’s true that many conservatives have serious doubts about Huckabee’s positions, especially on foreign policy, and his record, particularly on taxes. [That pretty much sums up what usually concerns conservatives. - yellojkt] The conservative establishment is strikingly hostile to Huckabee — for both good and bad reasons. But voters seem to be enjoying making up their own minds this year. And Huckabee is a talented politician.
As a card carrying member of the conservative establishment, it’s hard to tell if his praise is genuine or if he is polishing apples for when he can influence policy again instead of just policing it from the sidelines.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Do you like your pundits fair and balanced, or from Fox News?

Update: For the Maureen Dowd/Bill Kristol connection, read this post by Mo MoDo.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, if you're being hired as an opinion columnist, you're being hired for your strong point of view, not because your objectivity. But there's definitely a distinction to be drawn between people like David Brooks, who I think is generally thoughtful even if he drives me up a wall, and Kristol, who is fairly obviously a fatuous hack.

trusty getto said...

The only pundits I read (or listen to) are the ones with an entertaining twist, like Maureen Dowd. I don't care if they are wingnut or bleeding heart liberal, but they have to add something to the analysis up and above the standard spin, or it's just a waste of my time.

Lydia Netzer said...

You have to enjoy being able to write that he "has never been right about anything in the past decade" and then "has never uttered a word that wasn't complete horseshit." I mean... that kind of laughable predictability has got to be worth something. It's funny to read anyway. ;D

Oh, and I like my pundits opinionated and irate.

yellojkt said...

I like my pundits opinionated too. The wittier the better. I just can't take anything that Kristol says at face value because he is such a shill.

And josh, over on the Achenblog someone asked the rhetorical question: Fatuous hack or flatulent flack?

I said why not both?