A (Cracked) Pot Gazes Into the Kettle’s Shining Surface

Every now and then one comes across a bit of punditry that is so colossally pathological it defies commentary. I want to just link to it and say, Read this. It’s better than a freak show.

Today Bill “the Everwrong” Kristol gives us such a specimen. When I read it, I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or call the guys with the butterfly nets.

You have to read the whole thing to glimpse the bottomless pit that is Kristol’s brain. In a nutshell, he’s saying that Democrats don’t know how to govern because they can’t weigh actions and consequences. No, really. And all the more surreal that it’s Kristol saying this.


Get it? The ruling power is the Republican party, and they are really good at running the government because they have spent so much time asking themselves: “If such and such were to happen then what?” For instance, lots of this self-examination took place right before the Iraq invasion, I’m sure, and also when deciding on how the government should respond to the disasters caused by hurricane Katrina, and also when the Republicans decided to make the Food and Drug Administration go on a starvation diet, just in time for all the dangerous foods and medications entering this country. All that careful thinking, all that responsibility! Though the responsibility tends to come with retroactive immunity these days.

Connecting the Dots responds to Kristol’s suggestion that Dems should read Kipling:

… the New York Times’ newest sage adapts the wisdom of the author of “White Man’s Burden” to belabor opposition to the war in Iraq and illegal eavesdropping as the acts of decadent Democrats who have forgotten how to take responsibility for the use of power.

Cheerfully ignoring the fate of the British Empire that Kipling celebrated, Kristol advises Bush detractors to step up and emulate those men of action who muddled up the Middle East a century ago.

James Fallows:

We all delude ourselves about ourselves. But I wonder if Bill Kristol can imagine how this line — criticizing scholars for a descent into hackdom, and for being comfortably ensconced in sinecures — will strike many of his readers.

No, he can’t imagine. I do believe nobody on the planet is more oblivious than Kristol. He’s even more oblivious than David Brooks.

Update: Kristol speaks.

8 thoughts on “A (Cracked) Pot Gazes Into the Kettle’s Shining Surface

  1. I don’t know if you caught Kristol on The Daily Show last week, but it was also an incredible jaw-whomper. After Kristol said that he didn’t think that it would take that long for Bush’s presidency to be vindicated, Stewart asked him what he had done right. Kristol responded with a laundry list that left my jaw on the floor, and Stewart’s as well. You can watch “Are you joking?!?!?” Flit across Stewart’s face multiple times, and the last two minutes or so of the interview is sheer idiocies falling out of Kristol’s mouth about Iraq. It’s sad, how much Kool-Aid the man has drunk.

  2. In my opinion the very most basic premise of his argument is wrong… The democratic party has thought of itself as the “ruling party” for many many decades now, and the republicans have thought of themselves as the opposition. This is part of why democrats seem so spineless…

    Republicans, thinking of themselves as the minority party, know that if they want to accomplish anything, they absolutely must vote as a single block. Democrats, thinking of themselves as the majority party, are much less likely to maintain unity, and feel free to vote against the party.

    So, when democrats are in the minority, or even just a slim majority, they can’t get anything done because there will always be a few voting the wrong way…

    Seems to me a good portion of what’s gone wrong the past eight years is that republicans never stopped to think about how to actually rule a country, because they were always the minority party, and they didn;t have to… So when they became the majority, they had no clue how to proceed.


  3. Ezra Klein compares Kristol’s bloviations with Krugman’s column on poverty:


    Like Paul Krugman, I think poverty is bad. And also presumably like Paul Krugman, I think you should read his op-ed on the subject today. Then I think you should compare it to Bill Kristol’s witless, ahistorical muddle about how Republicans are like Rudyard Kipling and have the seriousness which only comes from being a ruling power, or something. The difference in intellectual quality, to say nothing of empirical grounding, between the two columns is startling.

  4. Though it may only be 11 months till the end of this regime, it concerns me that Kristol spouting is the precursor once again to phenomenally bad policy. Many a Neo-con believes that Reagan left with unnecessarily high poll numbers, and that constituted a squandering of power.

    And given that he is one the record that Iran must be dealt with, it’s clear that they still intend to deal with this “threat”.

    In the July 14, 2006 issue of The Weekly Standard Kristol called for a “military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions–and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.”

    It chills me that they intend to go ahead with this, and that Admiral Fallon is the one stopping this dementia from blooming. Last week, Alternet ran this piece:

    Bush Won’t Let Facts Stand in the Way of Regime Change in Iran

    Nixon may have been talking to the paintings, but as best as I can decipher, this crowd is listening to them.

  5. He thinks Dems don’t take responsibility because it’s almost always the Republicans getting convicted. C’mon, you Dems, take on your fair share of the guilt! (And he especially retains his anger that Clinton couldn’t be found guilty of anything substantive).

    Poor little thumbsucker, he.

  6. Robert A. Heinlein observed that man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal. (This is true of us all to a degree; the difference being I know it and BK does not.).

    In a Pius way, he suggests that Republicans who have assumed responsibility in a time of crises are the only ones who can appreciate the blood sweat and tears that have gone into keeping the country safe. The Dems are pathetic children who can not appreciate what the Republicans have done for us all.

    Space precludes the kind of list Republicans deserve from the thousands of GIs dead in a war of aggression for oil, the national debt, tax cuts for the rich, Katrina, wiretapping. God it’s obscene.

    What’s frightening is that people who are not institutionalized believe what this man says. As near as I can tell, a third of the electorate is capable of operating in complete, total and absolute denial of the truth. On the other hand, I read a historian who estimated that a third of the colonists were loyal to King George during the Revolutionary War. I guess I know what became of their descendants.

  7. OT, Kipling paid a karmic price for his jingoistic nationalism. He pulled strings to get his 16-year old only son a commission during WWI to fight for King and Country. The lad was killed in action within weeks of reaching the Western Front.
    Kipling’s prose took a distinctly sorrowful and less bombastic bent after that. He penned the lines, “If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied”.
    Of course, none of the cowardly neocons have any offspring at risk in their dirty war.

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