Thursday, April 03, 2003

Tomasky v. Kristol

Tomasky neatly guts and cleans Kristol, showing what a lying hypocritical revisonist that adept propagandist is.

First of all, what "intra-party and intra-movement struggle"? There may have been a few minor reassessments of the party's 1990s posture by a handful of people (let us hope by Kristol himself, who wrote in May of 1998 that Clinton "is doomed" and that Republicans would sweep the midterm elections by focusing on nothing but the president's louche ways). But mainly what happened is that their guy won -- hijacked -- the White House, so they didn't have anyone in power to hate anymore. Suppose that President Gore were in the White House, and suppose that his military had not captured Osama bin Laden after 18 months; or that anthrax had been mailed to Trent Lott and Jesse Helms' offices, and Gore's Justice Department, 17 months later, didn't even have a suspect! It's obvious to anyone with a mind that the Republicans, and Kristol, would be doing to Gore exactly what they did to Clinton in 1998.

But the most dishonest part of the paragraph comes after the dash. So Pat Buchanan led the crusades against Clinton, did he? Granted, Buchanan was no wallflower. But led the opposition? Hardly. Among pols the leader was Tom DeLay, who is still going strong and showing no visible signs of having reassessed anything. And who led the frantic Clinton-hating among writers? At this point, I turn to another for a contemporaneous account:

No conservative thinker has done more to advance this new moralism than William Kristol. . . . And no journal has done more to propagate, defend, and advance this version of conservatism than the magazine Kristol edits, The Weekly Standard. . . . Most of the year, Kristol and The Standard have gleefully egged on Republicans in their moral crusade. . . . (P)erhaps no edition of The Standard captured the current state of American conservatism better than the one that came out immediately after the Starr report was made public. Its cover portrayed Starr as Mark McGwire, with the headline: 'Starr's Home Run.' Inside, page after page of anti-Clinton coverage, anchored by an essay by Kristol advocating a full House vote for impeachment of the President within a month. . . .
Paul Krugman? Joe Conason? Guess again. That was Andrew Sullivan, in one of his rare lucid moments, in The New York Times Magazine for Oct. 11, 1998.

The import of the lie is not merely that Kristol today purports to disdain a posture he in fact endorsed full throttle when it mattered, dishonest though that is. Rather, the importance is the implication that, now that conservatives have thrown Pat overboard, they're sensible, reasonable people.

(via Big Media Matt).