Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 20, 2009

KRISTOL: PARTY LIKE IT'S 1994.... Everyone no doubt remembers Bill Kristol's now-infamous advice to congressional Republicans when then-President Bill Clinton pushed health care reform in 1993 and 1994. Kristol said the GOP should overlook the policy and the consequences for Americans, and just "kill" the initiative outright. To do otherwise would be to risk more Democratic gains, and put Republicans in a difficult position indefinitely.

With that in mind, it's worth noting that Kristol is offering similar advice once again. Here's the Weekly Standard editor this morning.

With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats' plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it's not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.

My advice, for what it's worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill. [...]

Throw the kitchen sink at the legislation now on the table, drive a stake through its heart (I apologize for the mixed metaphors), and kill it.

This isn't the identical message from '93. Then, in a private memo, Kristol made no effort to hide his motivations -- Republicans, for their own good, had to put the party's interests above the country's. The GOP had to stop the Democratic reform campaign because it was a Democratic reform campaign.

Today's message, in a public post instead of a private memo, is at least framed in a less callous way. Kristol ostensibly believes the Democratic proposal(s) are wrong, and believes once the current reform efforts are destroyed, then the political world can rally behind a Republican-style reform package that protects insurance companies and protects the very wealthy from an additional tax burden.

I can hardly wait.

Kristol concluded, "We have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way."

Spare me. Bill Kristol is suddenly concerned with "bipartisan" solutions to health care? For crying out loud, does Kristol actually expect people to take this seriously?

Steve Benen 9:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

Bill Kristol is a dick.

Posted by: David Bailey on July 20, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK


Bill is dumb as a sweaty sock
But like a sweaty sock stinks
Bill's gone and left my brain in pain
All you play is your favorite song
The one you pranced to all night long
It used to bring sweet memories
Of a bitter time that used to be

Now it's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been wrong
It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been wrong

Posted by: Former Dan on July 20, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

When has following Kristol Meth's policy advice worked out well for the country? Hell, most of his guidance, which amounts to "bomb there, bomb now!" hasn't even worked out well for the Republicans.

Posted by: Jeff S. on July 20, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol concluded, "We have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way."

Like Wendell Potter said, "they'll continue this charm offensive until the actual legislation language" is set.

This is a script, people. A game being played by Kristol and his ilk, who are reading from a playbook handed down from the dawn Republican oligarchy activism.

Once the "language is set" we'll see a lot more criticism of it.

Posted by: about time on July 20, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

WELL, he expects "his people" to take him seriously...and some BLUE DOGS for good measure I expect! Sadly if "THE PEOPLE" don't care enough to rise up and write/call/e-mail their representatives over and over expressing their desire for true reform ...they will deserve for this to be "on the ropes" because surely those in the upper percentage receiving ALL THE MONEIS (like our MSM pundits) will do NOTHING to add factual information to the mix. And loving Gregg's commentary on the "young people" making over $75K but spending their money on things "other than health insurance" (would like to see the source for that info) - I thought we weren't to be critical of HOW folks (especially RICH ONES) choose to spend THEIR OWN MONEY????

Posted by: Dancer on July 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, let's wait for the Republican alternative.

Oh, wait, they have one. 15 years in the making and it's a 19-page brochure, counting pictures.

Posted by: calling all toasters on July 20, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Well, perhaps Kristol can score a temporary win, the current bill killed at the end of the session, and Obama comes back this summer with a real healthcare plan that includes single payer and an end to the employer mandate, coupled with threats to kick anyone out of the party (and actively campaign against) any so-called Democrat who doesn't vote in its favor, together with other penalties punishing voters for voting in the sociopathic corrupt bastards.

It would be nice to see a principle of "If you don't support the compromise, you don't get one" coupled with "If you want to call yourself a Democrat, be one or face political anihalation."

Posted by: squiggleslash on July 20, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

hey, we don't need health care reform, remember? We have the best health care system in the world ... Don't we????

Posted by: sjw on July 20, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone no doubt remembers Bill Kristol's now-infamous advice to congressional Republicans when then-President Bill Clinton pushed health care reform in 1993 and 1994.

Really? Then why are Congressional Democrats and the so-called "liberal media" pretending like the Republicans are acting in good faith this time?

Posted by: Gregory on July 20, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Everyone no doubt remembers Bill Kristol's now-infamous advice to congressional Republicans when then-President Bill Clinton pushed health care reform in 1993 and 1994. "


Probably not, since it was written by Irving Kristol, Bill's father, not by Bill.

Posted by: Slideguy on July 20, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Slideguy - Well, there certainly was a memo about opposing health care *from* Bill. (Perhaps you know something about the authorship that I don't.)

There's a link to the memo in Steve's final post from yesterday.

Posted by: Old School on July 20, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Slideguy--

No, it was Bill. And we do all remember it (save you).

Posted by: calling all toasters on July 20, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Take away Kristol's health coverage, and then let him talk about how we have "plenty of time" to work next year.

(Not that anyone seriously believes that he actually means to work on reform in the future. But it is extra insulting to suggest that people haven't been in need of this reform for over a decade, and can just hang out until Kristol wants to bother with them.)

Posted by: biggerbox on July 20, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Kristol ??

Wasn't that the guy who Supported the Iraq invasion ?
Didn't he say there were WMDs ??
Wasn't Kristol in favor of De-Regulation

Posted by: MSierra, SF on July 20, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Given our lack of historical memory and our eagerness to believe the claims of the free market religion, yes: he can expect people to take it seriously.

Posted by: Algernon on July 20, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

There's nothing shocking going on here.

1. A viable, national, public health care plan option for the average American is not in the interests of the insurance corporations that like the system the way it is. They fear a viable alternative because it's actual competition to them. In this sense, they actually oppose capitalism.

2. And politically, if the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party succeeds in implementing such a plan, it would go a long way to ensuring they retain majorities in both Congressional houses through the 2010 mid-term elections (foreign events withstanding).

Kristol's actions (then and now) are just a reflection of the desparation these right-wing elements have in trying to stop this from suceeding.

Of course, the right-wing's own inability to govern effectively for all people is what has actually led to their downfall. The difference between then and now, is that things are a lot worse today.

People's lives are so messed up now, that they are actually starting to finally tune out these viewpoints.

The key for Obama is to stay focused and deliver the plan he's set in motion. Never let compromise side-track a good idea.

http://mvponline.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!195AA915D69DFD05!527.entry

Posted by: MVPOnline on July 20, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

"My advice, for what it's worth..." - Kristol

That would be shit.

Posted by: Marko on July 20, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

It's crucial to remind people that Kristol opposed reform in 1994, just like Republicans opposed Medicare in 1965.

It's equally crucial to remind everyone that the number of people believed to have died because of the lack of health insurance or delayed health care is around 15,000.

In the past 15 years, Kristol's advice on how the GOP could hang on to power in Congress has contributed to the death of more than 200,000 Americans.

I wonder if Kristol thinks the Age of Gingrich was worth it?

Posted by: BlueBart on July 20, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol's behavior seems to gradually become more and more bizarre. Here, he seems to be doing an immitation of Arlo Guthrie on the Group W bench. "Kill! Kill! Kill!"

Posted by: Capt Kirk on July 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I am indeed wrong on which Kristol. Need to get my hindsight checked.

Posted by: Slideguy on July 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

"In the past 15 years, Kristol's advice on how the GOP could hang on to power in Congress has contributed to the death of more than 200,000 Americans."

And it's really helped them hang on to their power. Let's just hope they continue to follow this jackass's lead as he marches them over the next cliff. Has this asshole ever been right about just one of these predictions? If most people had his track record they would have the good sense to sit down and shut up. Or maybe get a real job.

Posted by: FitterDon on July 20, 2009 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

For crying out loud, does Kristol actually expect people to take this seriously?

Steve, I sure hope you were using sarcasm here, because people WILL take him seriously. You're talking about Republican Congress critters and Blue Dog Democrats. Not to mention the Republican Base.

That is all that matters, because the 'liberal' media will pound on it over and over until the so called independents start wondering about it as well.

It worked before and unless Obama grows a spine, yes Obama needs to grow a spine and call Harry into his office and lay down the law for a change. That being: take away seniority of any Democrat who enables a filibuster.

Posted by: bruno on July 20, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

'Has this asshole ever been right about just one of these predictions? If most people had his track record they would have the good sense to sit down and shut up. Or maybe get a real job. '
Billy has a "real" job, Republican welfare. His job title is "Shill"

They have no shame, they are Republicans.

Posted by: madstork123 on July 20, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kristol mumbles on television and his brain evidently mumbles, too.

Posted by: jay on July 22, 2009 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, Bill Kristol, the mentor of Sarah Palin. What a king(queen)maker.

Posted by: StillBob on August 14, 2009 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK
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