Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Getting paid to be stupid

It was one of life's little "WTF?" moments as William Kristol was hired as a New York Times op-ed columnist. First of all, Kristol has written mean things about the Times. Second of all, he is a neocon laughingstock who has been proven wrong about everything. There is no reason for anyone to take him seriously anymore, or to use the Weekly Standard as anything other than mulch.

In fact, Keith Olbermann suggested that the paper hired Kristol to make him their very own Alan Colmes. It's an interesting thought, and one that the "media is TEH LIBRUL!" crowd might consider.

However, there's another, more boring reason. And like everything else in the conservative universe, nepotism plays a big part:

Outrage was followed by bafflement after editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal described Kristol as "a captivating writer and keen observer of the political landscape."


Kristols and Rosenthals go back a long way together. Bill's father, Irving, and Andy's father, Abe—both charter neocons—were good friends, and Irving Kristol was a proud member of the "Rosenthal for President" lunch club, which also included Bill Buckley, Dick Clurman, Bernard Kalb (known as Bruno Frescobaldi) and Arthur Gelb.

Click the above linky and you'll find a photo of Kristol, looking like the Joker sans makeup and trying to muffle a fart.

As most sensible people--liberal and conservative--would point out, Kristol's conservatism is not the issue. After all, David Brooks is a conservative and he's been with the Times for years. Sensible people would also hire their columnists based on merit, not on who their daddies knew. Sensible people are in short supply in the mainstream media these days, alas.

Anyway, Kristol's captivating writing and keen observations were on display in his debut column.

Thank you, Senator Obama. You’ve defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you’re about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you.

But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.

Welcome, Mr. Kristol, to the town of Not Getting It. Population: You. (I wonder if his "nanny state" includes corporate welfare. What do you think the answer is?)

Anyway, Mr. Kristol also attributed a Michael Medved quote to Stalkin' Malkin. The quote in question references "work-hard-to-get-ahead strivers who represent the heart and soul of the G.O.P." And of course, Bill Kristol is the epitome of a work-hard-to-get-ahead striver. As are Jonah Goldberg...John Podhoretz...George W. Bush...do I need to go on?

To fill column space, Kristol threw in quotes from a couple of New Hampshire GOPers. And to he says that one of Huckabee's main characteristics is...that he lost weight. I kid you not.

I'd like to think that Abe Rosenthal, neocon that he was, is spinning in his grave. Because right now, Kristol's Times gig is turning out to be the most colossal bomb since Britney Spears at the VMAs:

Bill Kristol Spews, America Heaves

Cracked Kristol

"It's not like it's even quality conservative bullshit."

James Fallows on Kristol's "breathtaking banality of expression."

Kristol's First Times Oped: Neoconservatism For Idiots
(Is there any other kind?)

All this reminds of me when Kristol was hit by a pie during a speech at Earlham College three years ago. He showed more dignity wiping pie filling from his face. Sad, huh?