Monday, December 22, 2008

Bill Kristol as Jodie Dallas

It's hard to know where Kristol stands on gay rights. Most likely it's an issue that he could go either way on; just as long as conservatives don't loose support for crazy economics and crazy foreign policy, they'll keep on with the gay-bashing.

I remember reading once about how David Brooks was the most obvious choice to succeed William F. Buckley as the editor-in-chief of the National Review. But alas, David Brooks is Jewish, and William F. Buckley picked someone else. Now, I don't think Buckley was anti-Semitic, but he knew that a valued part of the conservative movement was, and he wasn't about to lose them by making a good decision. Better to go with an immoral decision.

So in this column, I think that Kristol is doing something similar. He isn't really taking a side in the gay marriage debate, but he is going out of his way to make the anti-gay marriage position seem to be the more reasonable and less hostile side of the issue. The argument: "Rick Warren seems like a nice guy! His side of the issue is reasonable. Gay rights groups are mad! Their side is mean." 

What Kristol is ignoring, though, is that when gays and lesbians are told that they are not allowed to be like everyone else (the word "unequal" comes to mind), and that idea gets enforced through the law and gets enforce socially, then that is a form of hostility. So responding to hostility by being hostile really shouldn't be surprising. 

It's interesting what Kristol is doing here: he isn't invalidating either side of the gay marriage argument. In fact, you could say that he holding them on an equal ground. Instead, he's judging the issue on the perceived tone of the two sides. He wants to lead people to believe that the side that has a nastier tone isn't the side you want to be on.

"It's time to welcome him [Obama] into the American mainstream, to salute the president-elect's progress from Reverends Wright to Warren."

So Obama is in the mainstream now because he's gone from a preacher who has preached anti-American views to one that has preached anti-equal rights views? Reverend Wright spouted First Amendment-protected sentiments that hurt people's feelings, while Rick Warren supports legally denying a group of people their rights. That's not progress.

Some of the Tuskegee Airmen are expected to be the inauguration. However, if feels too much like we are will be trying to progress in ending one era of discrimination while legitimizing another one. This is a point that Kristol conveniently avoids. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kristol phoning it in this week

Kristol tries to make the ridiculous case that Dick Cheney being an unpopular and consistently wrong Republican is better than Illinois Gov. Blagojevich being a corrupt and now unpopular Democrat. At least that's all he seems to be doing in this column, and it's a weakly stated assertion at that. Not much substance here this week, seeing as how a quarter of the column is a transcript from Fox News and another quarter is a Rudyard Kipling poem.

I believe this is what is called "phoning it in."

Hmm... is this a sign that Kristol's days at the NYTimes are almost up?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Parallel theory: Jon Stewart is always right

Bill Kristol being wrong on the Daily Show.

What was interesting was how more wrong Kristol became as the election got closer, as his NYTimes columns of October show.

My "Bill Kristol is always wrong" theory gets challenged

This is a terrible way to start my blog about Bill Kristol being always wrong, but I actually got through Bill Kristol's column on the auto industry without becoming temporarily blinded with rage. His one use of the phrase "political and media elites" (a favorite ridiculous phrase of Kristol's) notwithstanding, Kristol actually sums up a lot of my feelings on the current progress of the US auto industry bailout. The basic question of the article is: why the animosity towards the auto companies and its union? Kristol actually gives some credible answers.

How could this be that my theory has already been challenged? Does this mean that my longstanding hypothesis may be wrong, and that I might find myself agreeing with Kristol more and more? Could it be possible that I may be wrong about Bill Kristol always being wrong?

Ahh, but I just remembered the Intelligence Squared debate that I recently listened to. The topic: Is Bush the Worst President of the Last 50 Years? Jacob Weisberg from the great was one of those arguing for the motion, Karl Rove strongly argued against the motion, and Kristol argued for the motion being "silly."

Karl Rove actually does a pretty good job of making the Bush presidency seem like one that governed quite moderately. However, every time Rove talks he is angry. GROWL! I guess because he was such an integral part of the Bush presidency then he has an invested reason to feel angry about the topic and challenges that are asserted in the debate.

Kristol's debate tactic, however, is to downplay Bush's flaws and to equalize Bush's insane policy decisions with rational policy decisions that a competent president would have made. Kristol says things like "intelligent people can disagree on whether or not we should have gone into Iraq." Maybe, and this is a big maybe, that could have been true in 2002. But can there be an intelligent person who supported the Iraq invasion and has not since switched positions on the war? Of course not; that's just silly.