Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Is Kristol's Last Column

So closes the NYT's experiment with Bill Kristol, why there ever had to be a last column from someone who should never had a first is a good question. It has been bruited about that he had important connections and that he was an influential voice, even to the extent of being important in the Palin nomination. These things may be true, they are also examples of why he should not have been given rein to provide sloppy journalism. It isn't just that the NYT had to apologize in print for his factual inaccuracy four times, there is also a little matter of his never being right about something from long before his one year stint with the Times.

Being right about something once in awhile carries a lot more credibility for an OpEd writer than knowing people or having your pap taken seriously by knee jerk wingers. It makes little sense to me for papers at a time they are losing readership and dollars to pay big bucks to someone with the credibility of a hamster to write for them. The NYT maintained a world wide readership on the basis of the quality of its journalism and over the course of the BushCo lost a bunch of that. The fraud perpetrated by one writer was bad enough, the Judith Miller fiasco of unmitigated BushCo war boosterism was a huge blow and they followed those failures up with Kristol. The same OpEd section with this last column contained an article by a Nobel Prize economist, Paul Krugman; is there a more stark contrast?

This is the kind of drivel that is included with Krugman:
Since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, conservatives of various sorts, and conservatisms of various stripes, have generally been in the ascendancy. And a good thing, too! Conservatives have been right more often than not — and more often than liberals — about most of the important issues of the day: about Communism and jihadism, crime and welfare, education and the family. Conservative policies have on the whole worked

Which part of this is not entire and complete nonsense? We sit today in the result of this success he speaks about. Jihadism is stronger now than ever before Bush and is damn near a direct result of St Ronnie's decisions regarding Beruit. Communism fell of its own weight, the very flaws that most opponents of communism pointed out finally drove it into the dirt, not St Ronnie. Huge deficts as a result of their tax policies for the rich have only been corrected under Democrats. Families have suffered horridly under conservatives, if something other than mouth noise counts as a metric, income levels have fallen, health has decreased, infant mortality increased, divorce soared, and the real fall in crime happened under Clinton. Education is at its most criticized and politicized level in generations. How it is success for welfare to have the highest numbers of people slipping into poverty in decades must be left to Kristol to spin, I guess.

I ask you to keep your finger out of your throat and read the thing, and then contrast it with the amateur efforts on these pages. Seriously, I mean that. I do not make claims to be a great writer, but I don't suffer in the comparison. This entire blog is archived and I challenge anyone to find in its entirety the number of factual and historical inaccuracies contained in the partial paragraph I pulled from his last column.
In 1978, the Harvard political philosopher Harvey Mansfield diagnosed the malady: “From having been the aggressive doctrine of vigorous, spirited men, liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism. ... Who today is called a liberal for strength and confidence in defense of liberty?”

This final insult in the pages of the Times shows exactly what there is about his version of Republicanism that flatly dangerous. This statement is BushCo/Limbaughian version of disagreement with Republicans is treason. The Left or liberals are weak soft people...because we say they are. Not thanks to any empirical facts, not thanks to any comparable actions on the part of "conservatives" beyond chest beating. This defense of liberty he so proudly proclaims also involves St Ronnie kicking ass in postage stamp sized Granada after he bought the freedom of the Iranian hostages and before he quailed in the face of Muslim terrorists in Lebanon and guaranteed the rise of their tactics. Understand that the location of the truck bombers was known to Reagan and he could have crushed them, instead he gave them victory. So chest beating pretty rhetoric Ronnie is an example? Thanks.

Ridiculing Kristol isn't much of a contest, kind of like holding a spelling bee versus a dog, minus a little drool. I don't beat on children and I'd be inclined to leave Bill alone, if it weren't for the blood and pain he's played cheerleader for. He has done me one favor, in his cluelessness he's made my point that this mess today is not about GWB, it is about the very thing Kristol crows about, 30 years of their ascendency. Thank you, Bill and good riddance.

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