Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 21, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

SEDER SOCIOLOGY....I am not making this up. Here is the start of Bill Kristol's New York Times column today:

Last week, in the midst of the excitement over the pope's visit, the Clinton, Obama and McCain campaigns found time to issue Passover greetings. They were of course staff-produced, and somewhat formulaic. Still, differences among formulaic statements can be revealing.

That's right: Kristol wrote an entire column comparing pro forma Passover press releases from the three presidential campaigns. Apparently he's trying to put the Onion out of business.

Oh, and not to give anything away, but his conclusion? That you should vote for John McCain. Fascinating, no?

Kevin Drum 1:23 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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The Financial Times endorsed Barack Obama. For what it's worth.

Posted by: anonymous on April 21, 2008 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently he's trying to put the Onion out of business.

Funny.

Posted by: Brojo on April 21, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

So Kristoll thinks McCain should get to carry out more Kristoll-inspired wars, huh? Who would have thought of it.

Thanks, anon (first post) for the heads up about the Financial Times endorsement. For those interested, here it is:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/19c88b7c-0f00-11dd-9646-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1


if the click doesn't work
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/19c88b7c-0f00-11dd-9646-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

Posted by: riffle on April 21, 2008 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

So why is NYT complaining that the pentagon hires propagandists?

Posted by: gregor on April 21, 2008 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

You are speaking truth to power. Amen!

Posted by: Lola on April 21, 2008 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Next year in Tehran.

Posted by: John McCain on April 21, 2008 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

But does the Pope wear a US flag lapel pin? I mean... did he dodge bullets in Vatican City? Er, is he an elitist. Uhmm...

Bill Kristol would be the FIRST I would hang in the revoltion. He is insufferable.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on April 21, 2008 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Slow news day in PA. The lapel pin controversy must have died down.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on April 21, 2008 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Well either the fact you should vote for McCain follows logically from what he laid out in the premises or it doesn't. If it follows logically, then we're done. In the other case, it follows illogically.

Now give me a hamburger.

With arugula and olive oil. Hold the mayo.

Posted by: CSTAR on April 21, 2008 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bill (the non-comedic Billy) Kristol's column should be stored in an "Oye-ga-Vault." He needs to get a grip on his Matzos-balls.

Posted by: Shag from Brookline on April 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM | PERMALINK

"her greater experience hasn’t given her anything interesting or distinctive to say" - Kristol on Clinton. Alas, none of his NYTimes opeds have given us anything interesting or distinctive to read.

Posted by: pg; on April 21, 2008 at 5:42 AM | PERMALINK

And the NYT was in the red for the last quarter, not surprising since the evidence from the Kristol hiring was that they do not know what they are doing.

Posted by: bob h on April 21, 2008 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.

The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
-— Josef Goebbels

Posted by: Quotation Man on April 21, 2008 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

This just proves that Kristol is objectively pro-Pharaoh.

Posted by: Michael Bloom on April 21, 2008 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Bloom wins the thread.

Posted by: drjimcooper on April 21, 2008 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

Are you sure you want to get into a pissing match on who writes the most banal posts?

Posted by: loki on April 21, 2008 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

There should be a poll to determine who has been Kristol's dumbest employer: Quayle or NYT?

Posted by: reino on April 21, 2008 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

A couple of centuries from now when the New Zealander walks through the ruins of Washington, those left to judge will say that it was the legacy appointments that caused our downfall.
If it wasn't for Irving, Bill would be running a timeshare boiler room--badly.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on April 21, 2008 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

I, for one, am happy Kristol is writing for the times, because no matter how bad things seem to me, no matter how far away my goals may seem, I always know I have a shot at getting a column at the New York Times, because if he can do it, anyfuckingbody can do it.

Posted by: anandine on April 21, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

He's the hackiest hack that ever hacked.

Posted by: Bill on April 21, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Seems to me that McCain's comments are mostly aimed at fanning the flames of a holy war. Yes, I think he won Kristol's vote.

Posted by: B on April 21, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently he's trying to put the Onion out of business.

Or maybe he's just a seder masochist.

Posted by: Randy Paul on April 21, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK
Or maybe he's just a seder masochist.
Randy Paul, you have no shame. None. . . . But a wonderful sense of humor!

Posted by: Allan Lappin on April 21, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Can only endlessly contemplate the mysteries of creation as when sperm met egg and gave us Kristol; but greater mystery still he is Harvard grad (3yrs) as was Gonzales. Harvard the greater mystery? How to frame the question to fathom the inscrutable: Why are so many people from Harvard with supposedly high IQs absolute cretins? Not to mention Yale. But as Greenwald covers in latest book top tier Repukean babies are swaddled in Repukean nurseries from cradle to grave as in sinecure at Weekly Standard propaganda rag. Speak of which note pants wetting cowardice of NYT re military analysts and NYT frozen in fear re use of "propaganda."

Posted by: Mellors on April 21, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I would say something clever, but I can't think of anything clever to say.

Posted by: Pythonesque on April 21, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Kristol is surely very original in the selection of his topics. He mostly writes about stuff that nobody else would have thought of.

Posted by: Jörgen in Germany on April 21, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol Blue Persuasion, anyone?

Posted by: thersites on April 21, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The McCain family recipe for Napa Cabbage Slaw is a good enough reason to vote for John.

Posted by: AJ on April 21, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Mellors,

Why are so many people from Harvard with supposedly high IQs absolute cretins?

This question was probably rhetorical but I'll answer it anyway.

At Harvard you've got the "legacies" who are already cretins and gain entrance to Harvard regardless of their merit, and then you've got the others. The others self-select for cretinism because they seek admission in order to ingratiate themselves with the "legacies." Cretins seeking cretins. In many ways this type of inbreeding has the same problems as genetic inbreeding. But America is such a great country we don't really need a meritocracy, do we? We'll do just fine being led by the ne'er do well children of the rich, no?

Posted by: Tripp on April 21, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting choice of words at the end of Kristol's column.

Vote for John McCain because his message shows him to be the "Zionist" candidate.

What, exactly, does that mean? That Obama and Hillary don't believe that Israel should exist? Obviously not.

What it does mean, as Kristol makes clear by his reference to Lexington and Concord(!), is that McCain is the candidate most ready to understand that what the Middle East really needs is more military action by the United States.

Posted by: TedL on April 21, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'll second Tripp.
Mrs. T worked for a while in the registrar's office at an Ivy League university, and met plenty of cretins. And they weren't sitting at desks working in the office, either.

Posted by: thersites on April 21, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Drat.

s/b: "What it does mean, as Kristol makes clear by his reference to Lexington and Concord(!), is that McCain is the candidate who understands that what the Middle East really needs is more military action by the United States."

Posted by: TedL on April 21, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Good Lord! Have they totally run out of things to write about?

Kristol's latest hackery is as funny as the item from the LA Times Blog in which it's seriously proposed that Obama gave Hillery the finger.

What next? Obama sings praises of our insect overlords?

Posted by: Dave In Texas on April 21, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Allan Lappin, you are too kind.

Posted by: Randy Paul on April 21, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Can only endlessly contemplate the mysteries of creation as when sperm met egg and gave us Kristol; but greater mystery still he is Harvard grad (3yrs) as was Gonzales. Harvard the greater mystery? How to frame the question to fathom the inscrutable: Why are so many people from Harvard with supposedly high IQs absolute cretins?

To my great shame, we also have the war criminal John Yoo ('89) to our discredit.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody needs to show this column to the next debate host so they have some material to work with.

"Senator Obama, the intern who wrote your Passover message did not mention sacrfice. Does he love America as much as you do?"

Posted by: reino on April 21, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

The nice thing in Kristol's column is how concisely it wraps up the conservative ideology. Its idea of values is not about finding solidarity with the oppressed or inculating such lessons into one's children. It's about recognizing the unalterable division of the world into pure good and evil.

Alas, the Jews were slow to learn such lessons, which is why the Lord had to make the separation from Egypt such a slow process, including so many repeated pleas to the Pharaoh, and why they then still had to wander for 40 years. Worse, when they finally got a kingdom, Saul and David didn't nuke Egypt, and you see how things went downhill from there.

Posted by: John Haber on April 21, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

As for me, I welcome our new insect overlords.

Posted by: barryobama on April 21, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The American Jewish population is 1.7%.

1.7%.

Why is it, then, that to a casual observer of "the U.S scene", they appear to be a majority - or at the very least - to have parity with the general population of non-Jewish Americans?

Posted by: dotcommuter on April 21, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

But McCain doesn't know if it was the Egyptians, the Assyrians or the Babylonians who were enslaving the Jews.

Posted by: Cory on April 21, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently he's trying to put the Onion out of business.

Except the Onion has a lot more credibility.

Posted by: ckelly on April 21, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

This column takes the cake, even for Kristol.

Posted by: Korha on April 21, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Did Lieberman also describe Passover to McCain, like when he said Purim was the "Jewish Halloween?" It would certainly explain the odd McCain statement that began "And if the Angel of Death sees his shadow..."

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on April 21, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Careful what you say about Kristol, or Leon Wieseltier will denounce you in print as an avatar of Julius Streicher.

Posted by: dave l on April 21, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

R. Porrofatto--
You make Passover sound like the Jewish Groundhog Day.

Posted by: reino on April 21, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

dotcommuter, there are two main reasons. First, it comes out of the election college dynamics, and how the population in certain key states can magnify the impact significantly. For example, there's about the same relative percentage of Cubans, but we've had a 50 year boycott against Cuba. However pointless, the boycott is still vital to a very active set of voters. Every presidential candidate must kowtow on the Cuba question, or risk losing Florida forever. With issues concerning Israel, the same magnifying effect is true, and they have an extremely effective lobby.

In addition, you are incorrect to focus on the percentage of Jews in the US as an explanation for any Israel-based policy. Zionist issues are important to a very large percentage of Americans, especially the part of the population that believes that Israel is where Armageddon will be fought. That's some 20-30% of the US, and much higher in certain states.

There's literally no advantage for a politician to be against Israel in any national election. Some experienced politicians like George H.W. Bush (41) were able to push back Israel on certain specific issues like the settlers, but the broad issue of support is not challengeable. It's a sure loser.

Posted by: travis on April 21, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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