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March 17, 2008

That Wacky, Wacky Kristol
Posted by Michael Cohen

As many of you are likely aware, the blogosphere has been in quite a tizzy today over Bill Kristol's more recent feeble dropping on the pages of today's New York Times. And if you think I'm not going to join in on the pile-on . . . . well you just don't me know that well.

To review the basic details, Kristol claimed that Barack Obama was in the pews at Trinity Church on July 22nd 2007, when Rev. Jeremiah Wright "blamed the “arrogance” of the “United States of White America” for much of the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks." Turns out Obama wasn't there and the Times has already posted a correction - which for those of you keeping score at home is Kristol's second major correction in just three and a half months on the job.

None of this should be a huge surprise. It's not just that Bill Kristol is a bad writer, serial misleader and overall political hack, it's that he is not a conservative thinker (which the NYT for some bizarre reason thought it was getting when they hired him) - he is a Republican operative who is basically using the NYT editorial page as a catalyst for spreading the latest GOP talking points. Indeed, the more interesting graf from Kristol's latest missive is below:

The more you learn about him, the more Obama seems to be a conventionally opportunistic politician, impressively smart and disciplined, who has put together a good political career and a terrific presidential campaign. But there’s not much audacity of hope there. There’s the calculation of ambition, and the construction of artifice, mixed in with a dash of deceit — all covered over with the great conceit that this campaign, and this candidate, are different.

Hmm, this sort of sounds familiar; it's pretty much the same GOP attack line that we've heard about not only Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry, but pretty much every major Democratic leader; namely they are unprincipled, deceitful and driven only by political ambition. So here we see Kristol trotting out the same old charge on Obama.

I'm all for having a conservative voice on the editorial page of the Times, but how about someone who has something interesting to say about . . . I don't know, conservatism!

The Times unimaginative selection of Kristol is part and parcel of the phenomenon that Ilan referenced over the weekend with the Times absurd five-year retrospective on Iraq - relying on the same old tired voices to argue over the same old tired talking points. Honestly, does anyone expect Paul Bremer to say a single interesting thing about Iraq? Give Ilan 500 words on the Times editorial page - believe me it would be a hundred times more interesting than anything to come out of the pen of Danielle Pletka or Fred Kagan.

If the mainstream media hopes to stay relevant in the age of digital technology and the rise of the blogosphere, broadening the voices that it highlights on its editorial page would seem like a pretty good place to start - somehow, unfortunately the NYT hasn't gotten the message.

Just to show you how bad things have gotten: the editorial page of Wall Street Journal ran a piece by ME today. Me. Michael A Cohen, author of the soon to be published Live from the Campaign Trail: The Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century and How they Shaped Modern America.

Seriously, this is the best they could do. Shame, Shame!


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I don't know, I think it's pretty interesting/revealing when Pletka says that now she's figured out that waving a magic wand, and saying, "Poof, now you're a democracy," doesn't actually make for a functioning democratic system. Who would have thought that, once, she actually believed this neoconservative nonsense? I had more respect for them when I thought they were just pretending.

The mainstream keeps attacking Obama over Rev.Wright while ingoring McCain's associations with John Hagee, who believes that Catholics are going to hell.

I still think they're pretending. Sometimes they pretend to have illusions, sometimes they pretend to be disillusioned. It's all in the game.

Thanks for the post. This keeps me informed about the topic.

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